A tradition my friends and I follow whenever we reach the top of the path is to climb those last stone steps, walk up another bit of inclining rock and touch the base of the cross of Rubidoux.
Never in a year and a half of hikes up to Mount Rubidoux have I heard of anyone being disgruntled about the cross. Nor have I ever seen it written anywhere that the cross is symbolic of the city’s established religion.
After hearing the Mount Rubidoux cross could potentially be taken down and the reasoning behind the decision, numerous red flags went off in my head.
I was told the Americans United for Separation of Church and State group is threatening to sue the Riverside City Council because of a cross that sits on top of Mount Rubidoux.
The group claims the cross poses an insult to those in the city who are not of the Christian faith. They have given city officials the option to alter the cross, take it down or sell it. It also says the cross goes against the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
That amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The idea that a cross on top of a mountain is an establishment of Christianity as the official religion of Riverside is a bit of a stretch.
No where is it written that this statue is a symbol of the official religion of Riverside. It, therefore, does not violate the First Amendment.
During hikes up Mount Rubidoux, I have noticed it is a great place for families to spend time together. The hike is perfect for exercising and also for enjoying nature in the middle of a bustling city.
I know what the cross stands for, and I believe in its promise. However, it neither breaks the law nor defies the U.S. Constitution.
A statue that happens to be related to a faith-based concept is not an establishment of religion, nor is it an infringement upon the Constitution of the United States of America. Therefore, there is no reason for any organization to request its demise.