Skip to comments.Philip Paulson, who filed suit to remove Mount Soledad cross, dies at 59
Posted on 10/25/2006 6:15:14 PM PDT by radar101
Philip Kevin Paulson, who fought a 17-year legal battle to remove the Mount Soledad cross from public property, died Wednesday of liver cancer. He was 59.
Paulson, a 6-foot-5 Vietnam veteran who lived in City Heights, became so passionate about the separation of church and state that he filed a civil lawsuit against the city of San Diego in 1989 without an attorney. He won the case, and as the appeals dragged on he became one of the county's most reviled and respected characters.
Typical Memorial Plaque around base
During interviews with The San Diego Union-Tribune in September and October, a few months after doctors told him he did not have long to live, Paulson said he was unconcerned about death and proud of the stand that defined his life.
The real message is equal treatment under the law, and religious neutrality. That's the purpose of why I did it, said Paulson, who turned away from religion early in life. It has nothing to do with me being an atheist or whether I was a Bible-thumping fundamentalist Baptist preacher.
Paulson, the grandson of a Lutheran preacher who shunned media attention to protect the case, agreed to exclusive interviews on the condition that his comments remain confidential until his death or the end of the case.
He said he wanted people to understand why he pursued the removal of the cross, and that he was never motivated by a hatred of Christians.
I don't harbor those kind of feelings, Paulson said. My mother's a Christian. I was raised a devout Christian. I'm not anti-Christian. The reason I did it is because it's not fair to the other religions. America is not just the Christian religion.
Paulson, who grew up in Clayton, Wis., a town of 300 people, taught computer and business classes at National University.
When it became clear last summer that Paulson's condition was terminal, he and his lawyer, James McElroy, made plans to add another plaintiff to the case so that it could continue. The city has agreed to the move, although the change awaits the judge's signature. The new plaintiff, Steve Trunk, is a Vietnam war veteran, an atheist and also the product of a religious upbringing.
The city has argued that while the cross has religious significance, it also has a secular purpose to honor war veterans. Paulson contended the memorial portion of the hilltop site was built only after he filed suit. The cross is a religious symbol that should be moved from public land, Paulson contended.
President Bush signed a bill this year that transferred ownership of the cross and war memorial site to the Department of Defense.
Christians don't die?
Memo to Phil: You can lie to yourself (even as you're dying) or to the San Diego Union but the rest of us know that it has everything to do with the fact you're an atheist.
Keep in mind that without his senseless lawsuit, thousands of people across the country, like me in Michigan, would have not seen that cross.
So in a way, he did us a favor.
Yeah, but with a FUTURE.
God doesn't want ANYBODY to have to go to hell. Why do you?
God to Paulson,
"You got some essplainin' to do!"
This dude deserve it I have some San Diego relatives who wouldn't mind this guy burn in HELL
Sorry I do feel that way
I'm sorry he didn't reconcile with his Creator. Far from being glad he's dead, I wish he would have hung around long enough to see the truth instead.
Don't apologize to me. You need to seek God's forgiveness.
The bright side is, at least he doesn't have to worry about being "offended" anymore. Kinda puts the whole cross thing in perspective, doesn't it?
Prayers for his soul. I hope he had a change of heart at the end.
Well you could have fooled us. It's called obsession. It's also called a bug-up-your butt. A "cause" is fine. He let it consume him and he ended up sounding like a mental patient.
Is the cross still there? Will the death of this 59 year old person end his quest to get rid of it? I hope the answer is yes.
Although I despise what he did, I hope he's at peace now...because he certainly wasn't in life.
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