Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Curtains for the Utah Crosses

There are thousands of crosses on federal property in Arlington Cemetery honoring our fallen soldiers, and rightly so. But a group of atheists sued to remove 13 privately funded crosses from roadsides in Utah, and a federal appellate court held in favor of the atheists. This case, American Atheists v. Utah Highway Patrol Association, is the latest example of censorship of Christian symbols from the public square. What will atheists target next for court-ordered removal?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has had enough. In a brilliant dissent from the refusal by the Supreme Court to hear the appeal of this decision against the crosses in Utah, Justice Thomas declared that his Court “should be deeply troubled by” what its own rulings have wrought. With biting sarcasm, Justice Thomas listed numerous contradictions in court rulings concerning the banning of religious symbols. He wrote, “A display of the Ten Commandments on government property also violates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn't.” He explained, “a cross displayed on government property violates the Establishment Clause, as the Tenth Circuit held here, except when it doesn't.”

Inconsistencies riddle court rulings about the First Amendment. It is long overdue for the Supreme Court to end the censorship of Christian symbols. Justice Thomas could have added that, contrary to misinformation propagated in public schools, the U.S. Constitution does not require “separation of church and state.” Censoring religion is not required in any way by the Constitution. None of the other eight Justices joined Clarence persuasive dissent, but this issue is not going away. A case from California concerns the constitutionality of a cross atop Mount Soledad; a case from North Carolina involves references to Jesus in an invocation at a public meeting.

We hope that some day soon, Justice Thomas will lead the way back to the original meaning of the Constitution on the issue of religion.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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