L.A. Board of Supervisors Vote to Remove Cross from County Seal

( [email protected] ) Jun 10, 2004 09:25 PM EDT

Despite the support of more than 2,000 protesters, the Los Angeles Country Board of Supervisors voted to take the cross out of the country seal during a hearing last week. On Tuesday, the Supervisor of the Board asked the Board to reconsider its decision but proposition was turned down.

Of the 100 supporters for the cross who testified before the Board for two and a half hours, many held notable positions in the community. Among them were syndicated talk-radio hosts Dennis Prager and Carlos Ortega; local talk-show host Paul McGuire of KBRT; community leaders Jesse Lee Peterson and Mark Isler; and Christian pastors such as Dr. Kenneth Ulmer of Faithful Central Bible Church and Pastor Jack Hayford, founding pastor of Church on the Way in Van Nuys and president-elect of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

The complaint to take down the cross off the 47-year-old seal was filed by American Civil Liberties Union who wrote in a May 19 letter to each supervisor, that the Latin cross on the seal was a “sectarian religious symbol that represents the beliefs of one segment of the county’s diverse population.” The ACLU threatened to sue the county unless the cross was removed.

Outside, protesters who held signs reading: “Jews for the Seal,” “Anti-Christian Liberties Union” and “Stop the Cultural Cleansing. Stop the ACLU” received additional support from passing cars, which honked their horns.

“Those who don’t respect the Constitution are doing everything in their power to remove Christian values in society,” said Randy Thomasson, Campaign for California Families Executive Director. “When our founding fathers wrote, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,’ they didn’t mean to yank crosses off public property.”

According to Thomasson, by the word “religion”, the drafters of the Constitution intended the clause to prevent the promotion of any one denomination such as Great Britain where Queen Elizabeth is the formal head of the Church of England.

“This freedom includes the right of federal, state, and local governments to respect and promote Christian symbols such as the cross, or other religious values the people hold dear. It’s the American way,” explained Thomasson.

The Board is expected to negotiate with ACLU on what will replace the cross. A possible compromise would be to replace the cross with the image of a Spanish mission and the indigenous people that predated the missionaries.