Judge Rules Depiction of War Cemetery is Unconstitutional

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Lake Elsinore, CA–A federal judge ruled, this week, in favor of an atheist group who sued to halt the construction of a veterans memorial in the southern California city of Lake Elsinore. Pacific Justice Institute represents the city.

“This is a disappointing setback for the rights of the people to honor those who have given their life in defense of our nation,” said Brad Dacus, President of PJI.

The design of the memorial includes a small section depicting a WWII soldier kneeling at the graveside of a fallen comrade. The Washington D.C. based American Humanist Association took issue with the design that includes crosses and Stars of David—despite the fact that it accurately mirrors foreign WWII cemeteries.

“We can’t erase history. If you visit foreign war cemeteries from that era, you will see the exact same scene this memorial was portraying,” said Michael Peffer, lead counsel and director of PJI’s Santa Ana office.


The city is exploring its options for appealing the decision. They released the following statement: “We are disappointed with the court’s decision. We plan to take a close look at the ruling. Our goal has always been to recognize the men and women who have bravely served to protect our country and our freedoms. We remain committed to this goal.”


Learn more by watching our original video about the case:


Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to defending religious, parental, and other constitutional rights. 

P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600 
Phone: (916) 857-6900 Fax: (916) 857-6902
www.pji.org