- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The saga of the Los Angeles County seal ended with a whimper Tuesday as the county supervisors opted against appealing a court decision striking a historic Christian cross from the emblem.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 behind closed doors to accept a judge’s ruling in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which sought to eliminate the small cross on the redesigned seal.

Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who voted in favor of appealing the federal judge’s decision, blasted the board’s decision to accept the April 7 decision, saying he was confident the county would have prevailed on appeal.

“Once again, the ACLU, who I refer to as the Atheist Criminal Liberties Union, was successful in bullying their way to rewrite history,” Mr. Antonovich told the Los Angeles Times. “This was a victory for the book burners.”

The ACLU issued a statement praising the board’s decision, saying the county had already spent enough in its effort to keep the cross on the seal.

“The ill-conceived and misguided effort to alter the county seal and favor Christianity over all other faiths has cost taxpayers at least $1 million,” said the ACLU statement. “Today’s action guarantees that the taxpayers will not be forced to suffer further.”

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder ruled that restoring the cross to the county seal “places the county’s power, prestige and purse behind a single religion, Christianity, without making any such benefit available on an equal basis to those with secular objectives or alternative sectarian views.”

The county voted in 2014 to reinstate a tiny cross atop a drawing of the San Gabriel Mission on the seal after it was redesigned about 10 years ago.

Supporters of the cross argued that its inclusion on the mission was important to preserve the historic and architectural accuracy of the seal, which is on county communications, buildings and vehicles.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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