For almost a decade now, this has been the seal of Los Angeles County in California:
There’s a lot going on there, but check out the center right image. That’s supposed to represent the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, a Catholic mission dating back hundreds of years. It’s conspicuously missing a cross because, from 1987-2009, the actual building didn’t have one (due to it being destroyed in an earthquake, then stolen). It wasn’t until 2009 that the cross was restored on the building.
In 2014, some members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wanted to change the seal to reflect that. Which is verrrrry convenient considering how often Christians try to get crosses on government seals…
The supervisors voted 3-2 that year to revise the seal to include the cross, inviting a challenge from the ACLU. And since the supervisors began using the “revised” seal while that challenge was pending, the ACLU filed a lawsuit.
Today, a judge ruled on that case, saying that the ACLU was right: Adding the cross would simply be a promotion of religion:
U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder issued her 55-page ruling Thursday, saying the cross “carries with it an aura of prestige, authority, and approval. By singling out the cross for addition to the seal, the county necessarily lends its prestige and approval to a depiction of one faith’s sectarian imagery“…
“We are heartened by the court’s ruling because it recognizes that Los Angeles is a diverse county comprised of adherents of hundreds of faiths as well as non-believers, all of whom are entitled to be treated with equal dignity by their government,” [the ACLU of Southern California] said in a statement. “The placement of the cross on the official county seal promotes one religious sect above others and denies the principle that government represents all of the people, not just those who follow a particular faith.”
Supervisor Mike Antonovich, one of the people who pushed for the cross on the seal, says he would support an appeal. So this case isn’t over just yet, but it’d be a tremendous waste of taxpayer money to fight for a cross on a building that didn’t even have one when the seal was designed.
(Thanks to Brian for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)