From one side of their mouth Libs invoke platitudes about “freedom of religion” when it comes to the Ground Zero mosque (even though nobody is denying Muslims the right to build it there), and from the other side they deny you those very same religious freedoms. These are the people lecturing us about tolerance and reconciliation.
Washington (CNN) — Memorial crosses erected along Utah public roads to honor fallen state highway troopers have been found unconstitutional by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the 14 large crosses would be viewed by most passing motorists as “government’s endorsement of Christianity.”
“We hold that these memorials have the impermissible effect of conveying to the reasonable observer the message that the state prefers or otherwise endorses a certain religion,” concluded the Denver, Colorado-based court. The state of Utah and a private trooper association have the option of appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A Texas-based group, American Atheists, successfully sued five years ago to have the nonprofit memorial project scrapped, and the crosses removed from public property. At issue was whether the crosses violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, by having the government endorsing the Christian symbols, even if indirectly.
The Utah Highway Patrol Association in 1998 began erecting the monuments, which contain the fallen trooper’s name, rank, and badge number. A picture of the officer and some biographical information is included on a separate plaque placed where the two bars of the cross meet. The state insignia is also included, which the judges in particular raised with constitutional concerns.
The service group said their main message was not religious in nature, but among other things, to serve as “a lasting reminder to UHPA members and Utah highway patrol troopers that a fellow trooper gave his life in service to this state” and to “encourage safe conduct on the highways.”
While placed on public land and with the state’s permission, the crosses themselves are privately owned and maintained. The state expressly noted it “neither approves or disapproves of the memorial marker.”