You don’t need to read this blawg for very long to figure out that I, for one, am a rabid atheist. I have little tolerance for those who try and push their superstitious agenda on to others by hijacking the instrumentalities of the state. I am even more concerned about it when it is done by those who want to push a set of superstitions built around a story of a magic space zombie jew. I am a proud member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
But sometimes I just shake my head when I see the cases taken up by my free-thought brothers and sisters.
In a current case before the Supreme Court, the ACLU brought a suit against the federal government:
At issue is a cross that sits atop Sunrise Rock in a remote part of the Mojave National Preserve in California, not far from the border with Nevada. Since 1934 the cross has been there, in one form or another, as a war memorial. Different court documents refer to it as 5 to 8 feet tall.
A decade ago it came under legal attack from a former National Park Service employee who, though a Catholic, thought it was inappropriate to favor one religion over another in the preserve. The park service had turned down a request to have a Buddhist symbol erected nearby.
A federal judge and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the stand-alone display of the cross was unconstitutional and that Congress’ move to transfer land to the VFW did not solve the problem. (source)
On purely legal grounds, I agree with the 9th Circuit. The government has played this game more than once — where some christian nut gets a little bit of power, puts a christian display up on government property, and when challenged, the government just “sells” a few square feet of property to a private entity, then smugly says “its on private property.” This is bullshit. On legal grounds, the cross should be torn down.
On the other hand, this thing is out in the middle of nowhere, means nothing to anyone except a few old men in their American Legion regalia. The Mount Soledad Cross, that’s another story. It looms over the city of San Diego like a thumb in Thomas Jefferson’s eye. But seriously, cases like this really don’t need to be brought. There are real battles to be fought to keep that wall of separation strong and well-maintained. This crucifix in the middle of the desert wasn’t so much as moss on that wall, let alone a crack.