Image of cross to be replaced on Los Angeles county seal
Cross will be replaced after threatened 2004 lawsuit on grounds of 'historical accuracy'
To do otherwise would be historically inaccurate - and so an image of a cross will be re-inserted on to the San Gabriel Mission on the Los Angeles County seal. The motion was approved by L.A. County supervisors this week. The decision was rendered almost a decade after it was removed amid threats of a lawsuit in 2004.
Note the San Gabriel Mission in the right center portion of the seal -- sans cross. It will shortly be replaced.
The American Civil Liberties Union had threatened to sue the county over the cross in 2004. They argued that the cross represented an endorsement of Christianity and was a violation of the First Amendment.
Adding the cross would make the depiction of the mission historically accurate, Antonovich said, since at the time the revised seal was adopted the cross was missing from the top of the San Gabriel Mission.
The cross has since been restored to the mission. Antonovich said that restoring it to the seal would be both "architecturally accurate." It also recognizes the cultural and historical significance that Christian missionaries played in Los Angeles County.
"We appreciate the input and participation from the community whose strong support for the mission, its significance to our county and the need to ensure the architectural accuracy of the county seal resulted in today's action," Antonovich said.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, however, who voted against the motion along with Supervisor Gloria Molina, said there are other ways the seal could reflect this heritage without a cross. Some suggestions included artistic representations of a missionary or even an angel.
"There are 100 ways in which we could depict that history," Yaroslavsky said. "But the one that's been chosen here is the cross."
He says he was concerned that putting the cross back on the seal would expose the county to litigation. "The issue of accuracy is an interesting one, but it's not a constitutional one," he said.
Other depictions on the existing seal include a cow, a tuna fish, a Native American woman holding a basket, engineering instruments, a Spanish galleon, the Hollywood Bowl and two stars representing the importance of the motion picture and television industries in Los Angeles County.
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