The famous Mojave Cross, which was STOLEN from atop a rock in the Mojave Desert not too long after The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it could be erected on public land, appeared YESTERDAY along the side of a road in Half Moon Bay, California. KGO-TV News alerted San Mateo County officials on Monday morning about a potentially valuable cross attached to a fence along Highway 35. According to SFGate.com:
“It was way out there,” San Mateo sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Rosenblatt said about the location of the cross, which was affixed to a post with plastic ties and had a note taped to it stating that someone should notify authorities.
Rosenblatt said the deputies contacted the National Park Service and spoke to an officer who confirmed unique markings as being the same as on the missing cross. “Right now, it’s in safekeeping until its return to the rightful owners. It would go back to the Mojave Desert,” she said. ‘
In 1934, the Mojave Cross was erected on Sunrise Rock to honor war dead, and it has been destroyed and reconstructed over the years. The cross became the object of a legal battle in the U.S. Supreme Court, and it had been covered up with boards when lower courts ruled its religious message violated the constitutional separation of church and state. In April of 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision, that that the cross was legal because the land where it was posted had been transferred to a veterans organization and that the Constitution did not ban all religious displays. The land was public when the cross was first erected.
A month later, it was stolen. Just this year, a land swap with the Veterans of Foreign Wars – removing Sunrise Rock from the Mojave National Preserve – was approved by the California U.S. Central District Court. A new cross was erected, said Thomas Tradewell Sr., who was commander of the VFW at the time of the theft.
In Tradewell’s opinion, the Mojave Cross should be kept safe to honor its history. SFGate.com quotes him:
“From what I understand the cross they made now was made to last forever – this would sound like the best of both worlds: to have the original kept where no one can deface it or steal it again, and still have the one there that is a memorial that will be standing forever.”
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