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Fidelis Urges White House Action to Save Mt. Soledad Cross; Signatures Being Sent to Support Intervention

Contact: Brian Burch, Fidelis, 734-358-3433

CHELSEA, Mich., June 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- The national Catholic based advocacy group Fidelis delivered an impassioned letter Friday to the White House urging President Bush to intervene in the 16-year-long legal dispute over the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial. The 52-year-old veterans memorial outside San Diego has been under attack by an anti-Christian atheist because the memorial includes a 29-foot cross.

This week the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stay a lower court decision ordering the City of San Diego to pay $5,000 per day beginning Aug. 1 if the cross is not removed. The decision is only the latest in a long series of judgments, public votes, and campaigns to protect the memorial from being permanently altered.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella stated: "This historic memorial is endangered because of the actions of a single anti-Christian atheist who has spent over 16 years in an attempt to destroy the cross. Will the crosses at Arlington National Cemetery be next? If we don't take a stand and demand the respect due our veterans here, then we will have lost one of America's greatest and most honorable traditions."

Cella continued, "We understand that the President may be considering options available to him to protect the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial. In our letter sent today, we respectfully asked the President to consider ordering Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne to take possession of the Mt. Soledad Memorial under the federal government's power of eminent domain."

The letter explained: "Such action would immediately moot all pending legal threats to the cross, and forever protect the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, in its entirety, as it was originally designed and constructed. Furthermore, such bold action on your part would send a resounding message across this country, affirming once again that America will always honor its veterans in ways consistent with our traditions and with the respect due to them for their service."

As a part of its letter, Fidelis announced that they have gathered thousands of signatures in support of the memorial. The signatures will also be delivered to the White House.