.- An act that would protect a 29-ft hilltop cross from being removed from public view now heads to debate in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The purpose of the act is to provide for immediate federal acquisition of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial atop Mt. Soledad in San Diego, Calif., in order to prevent the court-ordered removal of the cross.
The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Protection Act, H.R. 5683, is scheduled for debate July 19. The resolution is being sponsored by Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA).
The cross, which is the centerpiece of the war memorial, has stood atop Mt. Soledad since 1954. In 1989, a single atheist- plaintiff brought suit to remove the cross because he was offended by its sight.
That lawsuit resulted in a federal court order, mandating that the city of San Diego remove the cross by Aug. 1, 2006, or face fines of $5,000 per day thereafter. The Supreme Court stayed that order last week.
A petition drive is currently underway, calling upon President George Bush to federalize Mt. Soledad National War Memorial by incorporation in the National Park system.