SAN DIEGO — Philip Paulson, the Vietnam combat veteran and atheist who has been the plaintiff in a 17-year court battle to have a tall cross removed from city property atop Mt. Soledad, died Wednesday of cancer. He was 59.
Philip Paulson, 59; atheist, Vietnam veteran fought to have hilltop cross removed
I had some e-mail exchanges with Philip when I first put up my first website on Geocities back in 1998 and he had found me with a search engine. I maintained a web page copy of his Mt. Soledad adventures up to that point on my site for a time. He also sent me updates as the case continued as well as general atheist news and notes he came across on the Internet.
I got to meet him in person at the American Humanist Assocation conference when it was in Columbus in 1999 and then again when I went to the 2001 Conference in Los Angeles. Very tall guy and loud. That answered the reason he stuck with his lawsuit for 17 years when someone of a lesser constitution would have given up.
We weren’t friends or anything but we shared some common ideas even if I found him to be bit abrasive in person.
I was bit a sad when I learned he had terminal cancer and hoped he would get to see final victory over the religious putzes who can’t let the cross issue go but that won’t happen.
Luckily others have joined the lawsuit so that even with Philip’s death, the fight goes on.