Cross Taken From Julian Area Returned

Cross Was Removed From Area Near Julian In August By Caltrans

One of three crosses removed from an area near Julian known as "Inspiration Point" was returned to the area on Saturday.

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"I'm feeling ecstatic, very happy about the cross going back up," said Save Our Crosses committee member Dorinda Smith, who mobilized to get the religious landmarks put back in public view.

Smith said all she did was send a couple of emails.

"The next thing you know, we have volunteers coming out of the woodwork," said Smith.

The white cross, which was the tallest of the three, was installed on Saturday on private property just yards from where it once stood, and ironically, will be much more visible to drivers on state Route 79.

"It's in a perfect spot where it won't be a safety hazard, but its definitely going to be more visible than it was before," said Smith.

Volunteer Mike Seymour said, "It's the right thing to do. It should never have come down."

The crosses were removed by workers from the California Department of Transportation in August after receiving complaints from citizens about religious symbols on state property. Since then, they've been stored in a Caltrans warehouse.

In a statement from the National Center for Law and Policy, attorney Dean Broyles wrote: "The crosses should never have been removed -- especially after receiving only a few e-mail complaints from disgruntled 'bah humbug' citizens.'"

Broyle also said: "The State of California is not legally required to treat public religious symbols, especially those with historic significance, like cancer or toxic waste -- as something to be eradicated."

Broyles said Caltrans "bungled this matter from start to finish," adding that the state plans to sell the property sometime next year.

Pastor Rick Hill of Julian's Hillside Community Church commented on the fact that the cross will now be much more visible to drivers on the highway.

"It wasn't our position to be in your face or to draw attention to the fact that it was closer. It just happened to be that the best place to put it is closer, so we're glad for that. For us the cross is redemptive and we've hoped that the message of the cross, the redemption and the help and the hope that it brings would be the think that won in the end and we think that it has," said Hill.

Volunteers who put the cross up on Saturday also noticed the irony.

"Now, it's being put back up and even in a more obvious place so more people are going to be able to see it," said volunteer Bette Runnels.

The two remaining crosses will be installed at other private properties within the community of Julian.

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