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February 24, 2009

Supreme Court to Consider Case of Cross Monument in Mohave Desert

The Supreme Court decided Monday (Feb. 23) to consider a case about a controversial eight-foot cross that was erected as a war memorial on federal property in California.

The legal battle surrounding the memorial in the Mohave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, Calif., has pitted veterans groups against advocates for church-state separation.

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the cross and a 2004 congressional statute designed to maintain its placement is unconstitutional.

"It is bad enough to say that the veterans' memorial is unconstitutional, but it is outrageous to say that the government cannot give the monument back to the people who spilled their blood and put it there in the first place," said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel of Liberty Legal Institute and attorney for the VFW and other veterans
groups, which sought the high court's review of the case.

After the National Park Service denied a request to erect a Buddhist shrine in the preserve, a visitor to the preserve sued in 2001 because the property was not "open to groups and individuals to erect other free-standing, permanent displays."

The American Civil Liberties Union has represented that visitor, Frank Buono, a former assistant superintendent at the preserve.

"The appeals court rightly found that the statute did not solve the Establishment Clause problem created by a large cross in the midst of a National Preserve," said Peter Eliasberg, managing attorney with the ACLU of Southern California. "In fact, it compounded the problem by continuing to favor this one religious symbol that had already been granted unique access to federal property."

The Supreme Court is already mulling another case involving government property and religious symbols. It heard arguments in the fall about whether a small Utah religious sect should be permitted to erect a monument of its beliefs in a city park that already includes a Ten Commandments monument.

Comments

let's all agree to keep "holy" symbols off federal land, period. Why, you ask? Because every toehold that religion gets in the public sphere allows muslims to claim the same right, mormons, raellians, whatever. In a region where muslim citizens outnumber christians, you'l be permitting Muslim symbols, you'll be inviting passages from the Koran on the courthouse walls.

Don't you get it? Every extra privilege for religion establishes a privilege for all the other wacky religions.

Stop and think, for god's sake, before it's too late.

Please. And thanks for considering this outlook on the situation. - Ari

Just to be clear there are hundreds of thousands of "holy symbols" on federal land. They are the crosses and other religious grave markers on federal cemetaries which honor the fallen.

What should be agreed to is that the Supreme Court will exercise its judgement here and that is what should be the law of the land and not simply those with faith to volunarily withdrawl from the public square.

I wonder the legal distinction between this and homeade roadside memorials (often w/ crosses) on public rights-of-way. Some state courts have ordered state DOTs not to remove them. It's also public land, the displays are smaller, etc.

Separation of church and state is a falicy shoved down our throats by those constantly misinterpreting the Constitution to make everybody go with their interpretation. The Constitution means the government isn't suppose to establish a national religion like Italy(Catholic) or Britain(Episcopalian) or Germany(Lutheran)or any Middle East(Islam) or Asia(Buddhism),etc. country because at the time the Constitution this was why refugees left home to come to the states, freedom to follow their religion not an imposed one by the government. I don't care for the putting of statues on any government property especially in parks that are supposed to be left presteen. Who paid for the statue. It should be returned to who paid for it. However, if it was a gift to the government by the payee than it would be nice if the government would return it to the payee, probably the veterans group but that isn't being said just illuded to. Afterall taxpayer money is so wasted on people and stuff it shouldn't be given to, it wouldn't hurt to return the statue to whoever paid for it. What law says the statue can't be returned to the payee have done to the statue whatever the government wishes, what are they going to do with it, throw it in the garbage for spite, sounds like it. The law is becoming senseless and all controlling in this country. It is so almightly the "law" there's no justice to it anymore. It's funny, the mightyness of the "law" is what led to Christianity.

We were founded by,and our Constitution was written by christians,
There is no separation intended of the church and state,that`s simply the wrong interpretation.
Just read up on statements made by the First Presidents and the ones who wrote and signed our Bill of Rights,and the Constitution,
So we don`t need to allow ,legally, any other religions to put up their symbols,though it seems,President Obama thinks otherwise.
We just need more Supreme Court justices,like
supreme Court Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts,who beleive what the Constitution says ,and not try to interpret it to mean what they think!!

This is ridiculous. We come from a Christian heritage, not Buddhist or Muslim. Alkthough our Constitution permiots each to worship as he wishes, I can't help but feel the legal attack on Christ and hiss Cross are taking their toll on our country. Those who have eyes, take a look, those who have ears, hear.

Arlington cemetery. Take a look at the thousands of grave markers with crosses on them. Will they be next for the Godless ACLU chopping block?

The Cross in question was erected in 1938 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as a memorial to those fallen in WW I. It was NOT Federal Land at the time, and has stood there eliciting little more than silent gratitude t for those Veterans who paid the ultimate price to guarantee our freedoms.
It wasn't until 1994, when then President Bill Clinton unilaterally declared the 1.6 million acre area to be a "Federal Preserve", that the troubles began.
This was just one of many such Federal land grabs that Clinton was infamous for, and it didn't take long for its evil intent to become apparent.
As such, the cross pre-exists any current legal sentiments, and should be allowed to stand.

As a “Federal Preserve”, all cherished freedoms are lost or strictly curtailed, such as the Right to Keep & Bear arms (even in self-defense); and of course our freedom of religion. Additionally off-road use is strictly curtailed and often prohibited.
In short: Once declared to be a “Federal Preserve”, that place becomes the least free area in America. There is something very wrong about that.
As for the threat of “religious toe-holds”: Our most cherished National monuments and buildings are full of such Christian symbolism! Will you rip-down and/or deface these long-standing shrines to our history? No true “American” would suggest such a thing, regardless of their religious orientation.

The Idiotic comments that the founding fathers were exclusively or even dominantly christian in a religious sense show that the folks making them actually HAVEN'T read a large portion of their writings. Thomas Jefferson in particular was quite vocal in his opposition to belief in the miracles and mysticism. He went so far as to produce an edited bible with the miracles and mysticism removed. (http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/)

George Washington was quite quiet on his own faith, but did not take communion (a sign of a deist who believed in the ethics, but not the mumbo jumbo, or just had good PR skills). He believed in the separation of church and state though to the point where he opposed chaplains in the army.
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/washington.htm

Few of the leaders and writers of the revolutionary era were what the people who say that this is a christian country based on christian values would be defined as christians by their criteria. It was the "Age of Reason" and the philosophies of Christ were revered, but not the religion. The philosophies too were based on Persian philosophies, and came to the Jews during the first Diaspora. Ahura Mazda is more the deity of christians than Yahweh. The Persians got many of their ideas from India too, so Buddhism and Hinduism are also at the roots of our highest ethical values. It wasn't until "The Great Awakening" in the 1880's that the idea of this being a religiously christian nation came into fashion.

There were of course many christians among the founding fathers, but they weren't the intellectual leaders, and didn't put the natural law concepts into our founding documents. They were the ones that wanted a country more like the European models that were dying, and caused all the wars of religion and the pain and death that accompanied. Thankfully, they didn't prevail, or there would be no USA leading the world in ethical enlightenment.

i would like to point out that i am only 12 now, so all of you know that even a 12 year old knows why all of this is worng. i believe that this is NOT unconstitutional because the constitution cleary steas that every man has the right to show thier religion as they please. I believe that the people should be able to express their religion freely. EVEN IF IT MEANS PUTTING UP A MEMORIAL CROSS TO RESPECT THE VETERIANS!!!!! I say the government should leave California to put up a cross if they please!!!!!!! thats my personal opinion...

It helps all religious beliefs when the government stays out of religion. Yes, the Founding Fathers were Christians -- but they knew the history in Europe of religious persecution, and built protections into the constitution. Separation of Church and State isn't "anti-religion" -- it's simply getting the government to keep out of the issue all together. Why should a Muslim taxpayer pay for Christian artifacts? Why should an atheist? The same applies across sects. Are some things too minor to bother with? Of course, but that doesn't mean the issue isn't very important for the religious freedoms of all Americans.

I am so sick of these bleeding heart groups that want to be politically correct. This issue should be put to bed and leave the monuments alone. The monuments have been on there sites alot longer than these groups who want seperation of church and government. When are the people of the United States going to wake up and stop these fools. The Congress better watch out too. The next sepratist group will stop having their morning pray. When are we as a nation going to stand up against these groups and tell them you can no longer take God out of the equation. All of our American documents that were put before us by out fore-fathers have God mentioned. Where was the so call groups then. All these groups want to do is change history.

MY GOD is better than your god!

NO, MY GOD is better than your god!!

NO,NO, MY GOD is better than your god!!!

Then they start shooting at each other.