A federal judge on July 15 blocked the construction of a monument in southern California, ruling it would be an "unmistakably religious" symbol on public property, the Raw Story website reports today (July 17, 2013).
The Lake Elsinore City Council unanimously approved the construction of the polished black memorial last year, which would depict a soldier kneeling in prayer before a Christian cross. The City Council planned to build the monument at the entrance of the Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium, which is owned but not operated by the city.
The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center filed a lawsuit over the monument in June, claiming it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
"It is a violation of the First Amendment when a government body unnecessarily chooses a divisively religious means of honoring the country's veterans," said William Burgess, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. "We are pleased that Judge Wilson has seen the necessary merit in our case to stop the religious memorial from being erected on public grounds."