Mt. Davidson solution works for all

There may finally be an end in sight to the battle over the Mount Davidson Cross. What a relief.

The seven-year lawsuit against the principle of a 103-foot cross standing on public land has at times been tough on San Francisco's Jews.

The controversy has created somewhat nasty misconceptions — despite the fact that non-Jews joined the lawsuit too.

Jews on the front lines have been painted as anti-Christian, anti-religion, anti-nostalgia. Or they've been told that the cross is a universal symbol.

Instead, these Jews and non-Jews should have been lauded as defenders of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of church-state separation.

On Monday, the city auctioned off the cross and four-tenths of an acre of land surrounding it. The winning bidder was the Council of Armenian American Organizations of Northern California.

If the voters approve the sale in November and the plaintiffs wrap up some final details, the lawsuit will be settled.

Some might argue that it would be better if the city had been forced to tear down the cross. Some might argue that selling off a tiny piece of a large city park skirts the spirit of the law.

But the point of the lawsuit always has been principle. As long as the cross doesn't sit on public land, that principle should be satisfied.

In addition, the Armenian-American group plans to transform the site into a memorial to the slaughter of their people earlier this century. It would be a fitting use of the space.

The Armenian genocide has long been overlooked, despite its unfortunate distinction as the first major genocide of the 20th century.

Perhaps such a use for the cross can ultimately transform its meaning. Until now, it's only been the symbol of Christianity — regardless of what its supporters have claimed.

But as a memorial to genocide victims, the cross can become a human symbol, a site where all people of conscience feel welcome, including Jews.