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December 23, 2004
The Cross Shines Through

Los Angeles recently caved in to an ACLU demand to change its city seal, which had a cross in one small sector commemmorating LA's missionary history. At the time, the county board of supervisors estimated that the cost to replace the city seal in all locations and in all correspondence would total around $700,000, which they felt was cheaper than actually defending the historical nature of the seal in court. The move attracted wide derision as political cowardice, especially when people like Hugh Hewitt noted that the ACLU had not expressed any misgivings about the highly prominent rendition of the goddess Pomona. Many people also questioned the low estimate of the county's cost for the change.

Now we find out why the estimate was so low. The LA Daily News reports that the county cheaped out and used adhesive stickers to cover the old seals instead of replacing them -- and the cross underneath remains clearly visible through the material (via Drudge):

Los Angeles County supervisors expressed concern Tuesday that the $700,000 estimate to replace the official seal on thousands of items might soar because the new decals haven't effectively covered the old versions. "The original plan was just to cover up the seals," said John Musella, spokesman for Supervisor Don Knabe. "Now, they will have to pay to physically remove the old seals and put up brand new ones, which will escalate the costs greatly beyond the $700,000 estimate the Chief Administrative Office gave the board."

On Monday, county officials discovered that the tiny Christian cross on the two original seals in the Board of Supervisors' hearing room could be clearly seen through the new $1,800 seals glued on to cover up the cross. In fact, the cross is now directly over the rendering of the San Gabriel Mission, which is pictured on the new seal without a cross.

What a lovely Christmas story! As I recall from the church, Christmas celebrates the advent of the Savior, which certain cowardly politicians wanted to keep from the people. In fact, they sent word that all first-born male children in the region were to be killed in order to cover up His existence. (At least the County Board of Supervisors and the ACLU just relied on stickers.) Eventually, of course, the cross shines through.

As far as temporal matters go, the supervisors now will have to physically replace all county seals, which not only makes their Post-It Note solution a complete loss for Los Angeles taxpayers but also promises to create millions of dollars in obligations at a time when the county budget strains to the breaking point. I wonder what Zev Yaroslavski has to say now about stewardship of the people's money, the excuse he used on the Hugh Hewitt show at the time they surrendered to the ACLU like the French in WWII. Mike Antonovich's spokesman, Tony Bell, noted that the old seal "never had its day in court," and lamented the cost of appeasing the ACLU.

I suspect that Hugh will have something to say about this tonight.

We need to quit enabling ACLU hysteria about Christian imagery. The supervisors in LA are just the latest in a series of spineless politicians who refuse to defend the historical nature of symbols such as the LA county seal. Nothing in the Constitution guarantees a freedom from religion, and the waste of time and resources that the ACLU causes in fighting for picayune causes almost demands that each of their silly demands be opposed, on general principle. As LA has found out, the cost of surrender can be higher than appeasement.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 23, 2004 5:40 AM

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