Thursday, August 19, 2010
The crosses themselves are privately funded, although most of them are on public land. There are more than a dozen of them statewide.
"[W]e conclude that the cross memorials would convey to a reasonable observer that the state of Utah is endorsing Christianity," the court ruled in a 35-page decision that reversed a lower court. "The memorials use the preeminent symbol of Christianity, and they do so standing alone (as opposed to it being part of some sort of display involving other symbols). That cross conspicuously bears the imprimatur of a state entity, the [Utah Highway Patrol], and is found primarily on public land."
Although the Tenth Circuit cited Supreme Court precedent, supporters of the crosses say the high court already addressed the issue in a recent opinion. In an April decision in which the Supreme Court allowed a cross to remain in the Mojave Desert, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a 5-4 majority, asserted that the "goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm.
"A cross by the side of a public highway marking, for instance, the place where a state trooper perished need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs," Kennedy wrote in the case, Salazar v. Buono. "The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society."
Read the entire article here: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=33539&ref=BPNews-RSSFeed0819