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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

The ACLU Tilts at the Sign of the Cross

June 12, 2004

It was a difficult week for the American Civil Liberties Union. First, there were hours of TV coverage of the 60th anniversary of D-day, with the backdrop of crosses row on row at the American Military Cemetery in Normandy, France. Then there was the memorable turnout of more than 100,000 people bidding a final farewell to President Reagan at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley (June 9). Lo and behold, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. John Kerry blessed themselves with the sign of the cross while standing beside President Reagan's casket.

Finally, there was a formal funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington, with many prayers being offered for President Reagan's beloved Nancy and their family. Maybe it's time for the ACLU to accept the fact that religious beliefs and traditions are an essential part of U.S. culture and history.

Thomas C. Buckley

Pasadena

Re "A Symbol of Our History -- Not a Seal of Approval for a Religion," Commentary, June 8: I wholeheartedly agree with Douglas Kmiec. The cross on the L.A. County seal represents a part of California history, nothing more. If the ACLU were truly concerned about all religious symbols and not just Christian ones, it would be demanding the removal of the Roman goddess as well as a change in the name of the county.

"Tiny Symbol, Huge Fuss" (editorial, June 8), denigrating Tuesday's demonstration against changing the seal at the Hall of Administration, was completely off base. Those were people who are tired of radical leftist lawyers attempting to govern and set policy through legal blackmail. Nonprofit constitutional law organizations have offered to represent the county free of charge in this battle, so your contention that the county cannot afford an expensive legal battle is specious, to say the least.

Lauren Flahive

West Covina

I agree with The Times' suggestion that attention should be made to more important issues than the "tiny cross." But the folks who are protesting its removal did not create the lawsuit; the ACLU did. If The Times thinks that the lawsuit is "hardly" worth the effort, why did it not address the agenda of the ACLU?

Allan V. Pena

San Pedro

The protesters wanting to keep the cross on the seal of Los Angeles County (June 9) see nothing wrong with government hosting and supporting Christian symbols and credos, not merely a cross on a government emblem but also Christian prayers in our public schools and the Christian version of the Ten Commandments in our courthouses. They think that Christians have a right to use taxes from Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists to further Christianity. They resent anyone who wants to put Christianity on the same basis as other beliefs -- that there should be no government sponsorship.

David E. Ross

Oak Park

If the county decides to keep the cross on its seal, I think it should at least be fair. There should be a Star of David on it also for those Jewish movie pioneers who came to an orange grove by the Pacific Ocean and made it a world-class city and a synonym for entertainment.

Harold Gordon

Los Angeles

I've been waiting for someone to point out that the format of the L.A. County seal is in itself a symbol of Christianity: a cross within a circle.

Charlotte E. Roberts

Mission Viejo

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