Group Wants Cross Removed from Calif. Marine Base

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An atheist organization is demanding a cross at a Marine base in San Diego be removed.

The 13-foot cross sits on a Camp Pendleton hilltop in honor of veterans and those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers claims the Christian symbol violates the U.S. Constitution.

"It's an important message that we certainly respect veterans because we are veterans and we have active duty personnel," MAAF President Jason Torpy said.

"They can have a war memorial - that is fine," he added. "But if it is a Christian memorial, it needs to be on private land. That is the long and the short of it."
But the American Center for Law and Justice is fighting for the cross to remain.

"[T]he Constitution does not prohibit honoring fallen troops through the use of an historic symbol merely because that symbol also carries religious significance," the ACLJ wrote in a letter to Camp Pendleton's commanding officer.

"Given the memorial's history and context, it is clear that it is not intended to proselytize for any faith. It is meant to honor and commemorate the sacrifice of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice," the letter concluded.

The Marine Corps said in a statement Monday that it was reviewing the matter.

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