Focus on the Family and ADF to Aid Defense of War Memorials
by Wendy Cloyd, assistant editor
As groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Freedom from
Religion Foundation ferociously seek to rid the nation of any evidence of its
Christian heritage, Focus on the Family, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and
Liberty Legal Institute will come along side the American Legion in a campaign to protect veterans memorials from assault.
ADF commissioned a special song and music video highlighting the issue, which is
viewable at the bottom of this article.
Doug Napier, senior legal counsel for ADF, said the memorials must be defended.
"Crosses on veterans memorials have been under attack, despite claims to the
contrary by the ACLU and others," he said. "One only needs to look to what's
happening with the memorials at Mt. Soledad and in the Mojave Desert to see
For nearly two decades, San Diego's Mt. Soledad National War memorial – placed
in 1954 to honor of those who died in the Korean War – has been under assault.
In 1989, atheist Philip Paulson challenged the cross that is the centerpiece of
the memorial. He claimed its presence was an endorsement of religion by the
In 2005 California voters approved a measure that authorized the transfer of the
land underneath the memorial to the federal government. In February, the
California Supreme Court declined an appeal challenging the transfer. As of now, the Mt. Soledad National War
A 4-foot cross erected in the Mojave Desert to honor WWI veterans has been
standing for 70 years. In 2001 the site, near Barstow, Calif., was designated a
Former Park Service employee Frank Buono, assisted by the ACLU, sued to get the
cross removed. A federal judge in Riverside, Calif., ordered the government to
remove it. The Park Service appealed, and the matter now rests with the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
While the case proceeds, the cross remains encased in a plywood shell.
The ACLU and its allies have indicated that both Mt. Soledad and Mojave are test
cases, Napier said. If they are successful, they plan on attacking any memorial
that displays any religious symbol.
"They have this vision for America that is stripped and sanitized of any
religious reference," he said.
Such groups, Napier said, claim they aren't opposed to veterans, just religious
symbols – but attacking memorials dishonors the memory of veterans.
"Veterans fought for these very freedoms," he said, "the freedom to worship, the
freedom to express religious thought, the freedom to erect memorials that bear
Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family, said he's thrilled to be
able to help bring the nations' attention to the issue.
"We'd like to congratulate ADF, Liberty Legal Institute and the American
Legion," he said, "for their foresight in developing this project to defend
memorials that honor America's veterans."
The campaign to scrub our history and our culture of any acknowledgement of
Christianity must be stopped, Daly said.
"This effort to defend war memorials is a great place to plant a stake in the
ground and say, 'No More.' "