Legal questions aside, given a number of the dead being honored weren’t Christians, the display should have been something else anyway.

A lone cross built to honor the dead of World War I, bolted to a desert rock on public land, raises a host of complicated issues about which religious displays violate the Constitution’s ban on establishment of religion and who may challenge them. But the Supreme Court yesterday seemed disinclined to answer most of them.

Justices spent nearly half of the oral argument deciding what they were deciding about the 61/2-foot cross in the Mojave National Preserve in California and appeared to settle on a rather narrow question: whether Congress solved the problem by trying to transfer the land on which the cross sits to private ownership.
[…]
The case was the first major opportunity for the court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to delve into the meaning of the First Amendment command that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Previous court rulings on religious displays have been mostly narrow and case-specific, producing few rules on who may challenge government actions or what violates the Establishment Clause.

Justices seemed uninterested in reviewing the lower court’s decision, which found that a former park superintendent who objects to religious displays on public land is entitled to bring the lawsuit. Only Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to want to decide the more basic question of whether the cross was unconstitutional in the first place.




  1. Mr. Fusion says:

    #63, jbellies,

    the religious content of a cross, or dagger, in the ground, when used as a symbol of remembrance for the dead, is negligible. When used for other purposes–well, that’s not what we’re discussing.

    Welllll, not quite.

    The cross with arms of equal length is an extremely old ideogram used in most cultures. It is also one of the basic gestalts in Western ideography (as opposed to the basic elements, which are derived entities). The cross is found in every part of the world, in prehistoric caves and engraved on rocks.
    In pre-Columbian America the sign seems to have been associated to the four points of the compass and the weather gods. In the earliest Chinese ideography it appears as a sign for perfection and 10, the most perfect number. In astrological symbolism 0901 is the graphic symbol for matter, the earthly life, the plane of physical existence.
    Compare this with k1304, which in early Chinese ideography meant ground.
    The alchemists used 0901 as one of the signs for the four elements represented by the four arms. Their point of intersection they perceived as coniunctio, quinta essentia, the fifth element, etc. But the cross was much more often used as a sign for acids, vinegar and soot by the alchemists and early chemists.
    The alchemists of the Middle Ages also used to append a cross to most of their signs for chemical elements and compounds.

  2. Wretched Gnu says:

    “The cross does not represent Christianity”

    “O.K. But can we replace it with another memorial symbol?”

    “You’re attacking Christianity!”

    If anybody can make sense of the Christian right, will you please contact me?

  3. jccalhoun says:

    the Government didn’t set it up therefore they did not establish religion.
    then it is trash left there and like an empty soda pop can should be picked up and thrown away.

  4. dambuilder says:

    Just tear it down and put up a fucking menorah, for chrissakes. And we are at war with Islam because? Goddamn jews.

  5. canucklehead says:

    time to update this, the cross is so 1st century.

    Let’s put a guillotine, a noose, an electric chair, a lethal injection needle, and a replica firing squad on the site and every whacko will be happy.

  6. bobbo, words have meaning says:

    Pedro–I don’t “care” but I do read the posts so for an exercise, I went thru your current dispute with Fusion. YOU were the one who first raised the issue of “civil rights.” Its hard to tell but it looks like YOU analogized some issue with the cross over the grave with some aspect of civil rights==I can’t tell if you meant it to be associative, or dissociative but it is clear right from the start that Fusion could not tell what you were refering to either.

    You are blaming Fusion for not being able to discern which of several various meanings were ambiguously presented by yourself.

    Fusion asked you for clarity early on and you just lambast him for being “conFused.” I know its fun but you are taking a joke too far==like LOSER and his kill 10 people hypothetical.

    Those things are funny/interesting only the first 20 times, then they kind of fizzle out.

    I’m just saying.

  7. jbellies says:

    #67 Mr. Fusion. I think you’ve rather proven my point. If the + is a symbol in so many philosophies and world-views and sciences and yes religions, in the 21st century it has no particular religious significance when taken out of a particular context. A cross means dead guy. And it’s not a reach for a big cross to mean lots of dead guys.

  8. bobbo, words have meaning says:

    #73–Jbellies==Fusion posted about crosses with arms of equal length. The subject cross is the Christian Cross with unequal lengths given the crossarm is closer to the top.

    My retarded sister on screwing up yet another phone message said “Communication is an art.” and I said “not if you aren’t retarded.”

  9. CeramicGod says:

    I’m an agnostic.

    People whom have such a volatile concern about this simple cross out in the middle of the desert erected by survivors of WWI need to get a grip.

    These same people would have probably gone hand-in-hand with the Taliban to destroy the ancient Buddhist symbols in Afghanistan as well.

    Really now, who is the crazy zealot?

    Leave the damn memorial for the WWI dead alone. They should be remembered, and this cross (as much as some of you hate it), have brought their memory back. Amazing, eh?

    All of you internet jockeys sitting behind the keyboard with your Satanism and whatever other nonsense, you didn’t suffer like those men in the trenches. Shut the hell up and go play Warcraft, and waste you life as you do normally.

  10. deowll says:

    The object is a historical monument as is. That’s what the local WW I vets stuck up and messing with it is rewriting history.

    I’m not in favor of messing with the native American religious iconography of bygone years within the park to make it inclusive nor any old Spanish items that might turn up and I’m not in favoring of messing with this.

    If you were doing it today stick in whatever means something to the locals even if that includes a few prayer sticks, Jewish stars, crescents, three headed frogs, or whatever.

  11. Thomas says:

    Isn’t anyone shocked that this case made it to the Supreme Court in the first place? Given how much effort they expended to avoid the “Under God” Pledge case (but still had to take it), I’m shocked they didn’t stick this one under the bottom of the pile given its controversial nature.

    I happen to be an atheist and frankly this one seems petty to me. Other religions should be allowed to their symbol around the same area if they like. There are greater issues in this country than determining which superstitious symbol should be allowed to be near dead people.

  12. JimD says:

    Well, the Supremes ruled against the 10 Commandments Monument in the Court House, so if they are consistent, they will also rule against the Cross !

  13. amodedoma says:

    It would appear that most of you are just like the supreme court justices, nothing better to do than to haggle over knitpicking little bullshit like this. Attention! The world is going to hell in a handbasket and the end is near, please find something useful to do.

  14. Glenn E. says:

    #80 – I agree with amodedoma. All this over some pipes or beams of wood. Meanwhile the land is being polluted with Gang signs, spray painted on every available surface.

    Of all the countries in the world, the US seems to be the only one who has a problem with displaying religious symbols. Well, maybe communist China doesn’t approve of it. But even Russia has them. And Rio must have the hugest statue of Jesus, overlooking the city. And nobody’s saying “bring it down, I’m offended”, because they’d be laughed out of there.

    Well I could counter that I’m offended by the fact that US media always mentions major Jewish religious observances by name (accurately). While same media avoids mentioning “Christmas” and “Easter”. Replacing it with “Xmas”,or the generic “Happy Holiday”, and “Passover” (again the Jewish version). Even “Kwanzaa” (a made up holiday name) gets mentioned while Christmas does not. So why is the media so anti-Christian specific? As far as I know, the Fairness Doctrine is still in effect. Thought I’ve just read that some “conservative” religious factions want that repealed. Because its been an inconvenience to them. They better be more careful what they wish for. Because the damn fools just might get it.

  15. Mr. Fusion says:

    #74, jbellies,

    After rereading your post a few more times I was coming to the same conclusion. It appears I misinterpreted it the first time.

    Then I read your #74. I agree.

    As for your retarded sister, would you be an only child and your sister be named pedro?

    😉

  16. Mr. Fusion says:

    #78, Thomas,

    Isn’t anyone shocked that this case made it to the Supreme Court in the first place?

    Well, the question got ignored. The original questions the 9th Circuit ruled on was whether a former Park Superintendent has standing to challenge the Department of the Interior and could Congress circumvent the Constitution.

    The original decision was that the cross was unconstitutional, by a District Court. Congress then exchanged 1 acre outside the Preserve from private hands for the plot the cross sat on. This action was challenged by Frank Buono, a former Superintendent of the Preserve as unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit agreed that Buono had standing to challenge the land swap and upheld the prior District Court that the land swap was improper.

    So the Interior Department appealed to the Supreme Court that Buono did not have standing to bring the suit. Actually, I believe the Interior Department has lost the opportunity to appeal the constitutionality of the original decision from 2001.

    That the Supreme Court even took the case is surprising. Their last few “religious symbol” cases pretty well defined when religious symbols are allowed on public property even after the 9th Circuit ruled on this case. What they should have been concentrating on is the propriety of transferring land without bid in order to circumvent a court ruling.

    Today the cross is still there, but it is covered by a plywood box.

  17. pedro's (very embarrased) daddy says:

    pedro,

    you need to take your medication again.

    do you want that mean ole nurse to stick that needle in your butt again?

  18. Timuchin says:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Let’s see, if we use the Courts to make laws to establish Humanism as the religion of America, then this amendment is bypassed. Who would have thought the constitutional process for making laws by representatives of the people would be ignored like that? Certainly not the founders.

    What political group would want to give dictatorial powers to unelected officials?

  19. bobbo, international pastry chef and tax expert says:

    As in most things religious, I think #68–wretched gnu said it quite well. I’ll add that it becomes “damning” for all the casual christians to deny god over such transparent issues. Revealing those clay feet again.

    I saw some vampire film where the vampire laughed at the guy crossing two sticks: “Thats not a cross, its a plus sign.” and then he laughed sarcastically as he moved in for the kill. The guy moved the cross arm up just a bit and put the whammy on the vampire. Too clever by half I thought.

  20. pedro,

    again, you make your goat screwing mother cry. why do you do this? Did she not hide you from the other kids who wanted to see that real sharp point on the top of your head? Did she not argue with all those teachers and schools that you weren’t really a gad damn retarded bastard moron; you are just effen stupid?

    please don’t make your mother cry like that. the police were here and said the crying was scaring all the goats. even the boy goats you like so much. Even Senor Gonzales said his sheep run away from him now. and you remember how Senor Gonzales likes his sheep after his wife died all those years ago.

    the whole village wants you to stop. come home, they want to see your drooling, idiotic face again. They have even been saving all their extra tomatoes just for you.

    pedro, come home, we miss you. the goats miss you.

  21. pedro's (very embarrased) daddy says:

    #90, pedro,

    leave your grandmother out of this. You and your stupidity broke her heart too much. You know she wanted to put you in that home for retards. I should have listened. Only you would have made them look smart.


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