Americans United for Separation of Church and State have threatened to sue the city of Riverside because of a cross that sits atop Riverside’s Mount Rubidoux. The group wants the cross removed because it sits on public land citing the First Amendment’s “establishment clause,” which “prohibits government bodies from promoting religion on public land.”
According to The Press Enterprise: “A cross has been atop Mount Rubidoux since 1907 when a wooden cross was erected and then later replaced in the 1950s with the concrete and steel cross that stands today, historian Vince Moses said. It draws thousands of worshipers annually to an Easter sunrise service.”
The park has not always been public, but when Frank Miller donated the land to the city in 1955 the mountain became a public park. A condition in the deed requiring the city to maintain the cross expired in 1985.
Another battle similar to this one is brewing further south in San Diego atop Mount Soledad, where a Veterans Memorial is home to a 56-foot cross.
An appeal to the Supreme Court was denied after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in January 2011 that the federal government’s operation of the cross as a veterans’ memorial was unconstitutional. How do you feel about these crosses? Do you say rip them down or let them stay?
AUSCS Threaten To Sue The City Of Riverside Because Of Historic Cross On Mountain Top.