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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Crossing Swords Over the L.A. County Seal

June 08, 2004

Can we all stop pretending that the "little gold cross" on the Los Angeles County seal is an innocent "nod to history"?

Slavery is another important part of this country's history, and no one would argue that a leg-chain, a whip or a noose would be an appropriate symbol on any seal representing America.

Some people are proud of the history of Catholic missions in California, despite the genocide and slavery of Native Californians that were part of this history. What is at stake in the American Civil Liberties Union's decision to contest the cross on the county seal is clearly the interpretation of history and not simply history itself.

David Fieni

Los Angeles

So, the ACLU wanted to sue the county to remove a cross from the seal. As a Jew, I strongly support the separation of church and state, but there is no denying the role that Christianity played in the exploration and growth of California.

So what's next -- changing the names of cities? Santa Monica, San Bernardino, San Fernando, San Pedro -- all named for Christian saints. Is naming a city after a religious symbol also a violation of church and state? Let's show some common sense and worry about real issues.

Eva J. Ribman

San Pedro

Am I the only county employee to notice that the tiny, and greatly objectionable, religious and historic emblem on the county's seal is greatly overshadowed by a Roman deity, the goddess Pomona, and no one seems to mind?

Michael Jelf

Lomita

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