ACLU Sues Over Military Crosses at Santa Barbara Beach-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit to remove crosses that were placed at Santa Barbara Beach for every American solider that was killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It’s true that crosses are regularly placed at Santa Barbara Beach to memorialize fallen soldiers, but it’s not true that the ACLU has sued to have them removed.
The group Veterans for Peace places the crosses at Stearns Warf in Santa Barbara every Sunday from sunrise to sunset. The project has become known as “Arlington West,” and its goal is to:
“Remember the fallen and wounded, to acknowledge the human cost of war, to provide information about the domestic costs of a permanent war economy, to encourage dialogue among people with varied points of view, to educate the public about the needs of those returning from war, and to provide a place to grieve.”
Veterans for Peace, the group that organizes Arlington West, says it works to “build a culture of peace” by using the experiences and voices of veterans of war.
Reports that the ACLU had sued to have the crosses removed from the beach in Santa Monica first cropped up in 2011, but such a lawsuit was never filed.
This eRumor likely confuses previous reports of ACLU lawsuits regarding the removal of crosses from government lands and monuments.
In 2001, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the National Parks Service to have a large cross removed from the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino, California. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled against the ACLU in that case.
And a variation of this eRumor is that the ACLU has sued the government to have all crosses removed from military cemeteries. The group has said that this is a myth:
“The ACLU does NOT want to remove crosses from federal cemeteries. To the contrary, we have fought to expand the right of veterans and their families to decide for themselves which religious symbols, if any, mark the military graves of those who served and died for our country.”