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. breeai says:

    It’s a freakin cemetery of course it has religious symbols.

    I can only chalk up the fact that this is even an issue to idiocracy. No wonder the US economy has failed this is a fantastic indicator that it’s full of morons.

  2. bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

    Chuck–nothing wrong with “individual identification of religious affiliation”==think of the dogtags so noted. Also note the Wiccans had to sue after being not allowed headstones of their choice.

    Now who would be upset if Wiccan Symbols were erected to apply to the cemetery as a whole?

    SEPARATION of church and State. Easy to understand, appreciate, and apply unless you are a wingnut fundie.

  3. Traaxx says:

    If congress isn’t supposed to make laws concerning religion then they should stop all of the enviromentalist crap, stop the science crap, stop trying to save everyone and stick to just what the Constitution allowed them to do, which is very little outside national defense, foreign relation and interstate commerce – which itself has been bent and twisted to mean everything under the sun.

    Since when is allowing a cross to be put on public land, passing a law? They’re letting Muslims use public building to say their religious prayers, it’s just the Christians that the atheist can’t stand. It would be nice if the atheist could simply leave and move to a more open minded Islamic country.


  4. bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

    #39–traxx==”If congress isn’t supposed to make laws concerning religion /// There is no such prohibition. You gain a big retarded FAIL for understanding your rights/duties/blessings as an American.


  5. Buzz says:

    It promotes a BS religion on MY land (partly), and I object. Just because I don’t swing 51% of the votes on this doesn’t mean I don’t have a valid objection.

    #4 says to put it to a public vote. (Cost; $50M.)

    If voting were the ultimate way to make all laws, then people could, conceivably vote to kill all atheists. Or Jews. Or #4 specifically. Without a trial, justice, laws or principles of any kind.

  6. Buzz says:

    I’m surprised the typo on the cross size has lasted this long.

    What, exactly, is a “61/2-foot cross”? Is it 61 halves, meaning thirty and a half? Or did you mean a 6-1/2-foot cross?

  7. Mr. Fusion says:

    #32, pedro,

    <#17 I love it how you equate a monument in memoriam of those who dies fighting a war to real civil rights issues.

    And pray tell what “civil rights” were they fighting for? The world is very interested in your historical perspective on this one.

  8. tcc3 says:


    “Nice to see you and Dr Doodiepants are so flexible with your constitutional rights. Everybody is free to agree with you right?”

    Think about this next time you are calling people stupid/crazy in a gun rights debate.

  9. Mr. Fusion says:

    #37, breetai,

    It’s a freakin cemetery of course it has religious symbols.

    So how many soldiers are buried on this mountain?

  10. Mr. Fusion says:

    #46, tcc3

    Those that believe their constitutional rights come from the barrel of a gun are stupid and crazy.

  11. pedro,

    remember the doctor told you to lie down for a while after taking your medication. You know you don’t think so good. Well, ok, so you don’t tink so good all the time but after you take your medication you are even stuupider. Don’t write nothing and keep your stuupid mouth shut.

    We love you,

    daddy and your skanky goat screwing hoe mother.

  12. bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

    #45–tc3==good constitutionally framed argument. Evidently, you think I view first Amendment rights differently than 5th Amendment rights? Please identify what you think that difference is?

    Be forewarned, I take the same approach to both issues, AND all other Bill of Rights issues. I’m open to seeing the errors of my way and thereby having the chance to tighten up/change my position.


  13. Don Quixote says:

    There will never be an end to this problem, or most of the worlds problems for that matter, until there is an end to the superstition that creates it.

  14. tcc3 says:

    Mr Fusion: I never said that they did. They also don’t come from the Constitution. Some important ones are simply enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

    bobbo: it would seem so. You call out Dr Dodd for cherry picking the parts of the Constitution he likes. You have in the past been a vocal, passionate and abrasive anti gun advocate. Keep working on that weapons ban amendment. Until then the *2nd* amendment stands, even when you call people names.

  15. bobbo, the evangelical anti-theist says:

    #51–tcc3–you have NOT identified how I use different standards in my CONSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS. I also NEVER SAID that Dr. Doodiepants “cherrypicks” the constitution.

    NO!—WORDS HAVE MEANING, and so do the ideas that flow therefrom. I do CONSTANTLY post that I am against guns and that the pro-gun position is self destructive. THAT IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS which I have only done a few times–usually with two key ideas.

    Since you are having trouble, and since I am a charitable person: my constitutional analysis is EXACTLY THE SAME, ALL THE TIME!!!!

  16. bobbo, an international pastry Chef and Constitutional Scholar says:

    #52–cont== and that is to quote the constitutional provision and then to analyze the applicable holdings in the relevant supreme court cases.

    Keep your eyes open, and your brain un fuzzed and see if the foregoing is not true.

    Then understand: WORDS HAVE MEANING, and so do the ideas that flow therefrom, and act accordingly.

  17. pedro,

    you made your mudder cry. are you happy now? maybe when the medication kicks in you will be happy in your own liddle happy place.

  18. Mr. Fusion says:

    #54, Pedro

    #44 What the hell are you talking about? I’m not fighting for any civil liberties here. I’m just saying you’re a moron for conFusing a fight for civil liberties with a 75 year old cross.

    Oh I don’t know. Maybe when you posted this

    #32, #17 I love it how you equate a monument in memoriam of those who dies fighting a war to real civil rights issues.

    So all I asked is what civil liberties they were fighting for. So, this must be your admission you don’t have an effen clue what you are talking about. That is pretty good. It took you just over one hour to deny you wrote something.

  19. tcc3 says:

    Fair enough bobbo. I give you that you can be anti gun and still discuss the ramifications of the 2nd amendment and related court precedents.

  20. The0ne says:

    I see a cross on a Jewish dead person…
    I see a cross on a Muslim person…
    I see a cross on a Buddhist person…
    I see crosses covering almost the entire graveyard…

    Most importantly I see that the dead don’t care wtf the living is doing. No fcking living person can speak for the dead, period.

  21. bobbo, an international pastry Chef and Constitutional Scholar says:

    #57–tcc3==exactly so. I am very anti-gun but that has nothing to do with my ability to understand how the law actually applies. Just like being pro-leaglization of drugs. That in no way means I think they “are” legal. Just like being a VERY kind and moral person. THAT doesn’t mean I think I have to be religious to achieve that.

    Sadly, the SCOTUS seems to be pro private ownership of guns when for most of our history the court has been more anti. Still, the legal analysis is open enough it can still develop further in either direction. The law is usually like that–complicated enough that a clever court can do what it wants to, all the while honestly believing they are following the Constitution. And===they can always change their minds.

    I wonder what the death rate would have to reach before the court would flip to enterpreting “In order to maintain a militia” (whatever). How many 10s of thousands will die before that day, is unknown. Too bad handguns don’t work against flu?

  22. Mr. Fusion says:

    #59, bobbo,

    Well expressed thoughts. It is too bad that so many wing nuts don’t have a similar sense or reality. They like to fantasize about a utopia where all is roses and wine and they can shoot anything they like with their cannon.

  23. bobbo, an international pastry Chef and Constitutional Scholar says:

    #60–Fusion==you are too kind. I already see 7 errors I would correct if I didn’t have to repost and mostly just repeat myself as too many here tend to do.

    Even #58–TheOne repeats. Not himself directly as ((you know who)) does. He just repeats previous posts as if the rejoinders did not exist. Just as if he has no conception of the dialectic.

    Sad. “I see retards.”

  24. jbellies says:

    Everything has a context, and in this case I’d be inclined to say that the religious significance of the cross is less than its civil significance, so the cross should stay.

    The cross isn’t always a religious symbol. If it were, they’d be allowed to teach subtraction and division in Arithmetic classes but not addition (+) or multiplication (a tilted cross).

    The park area is about dead people. In books, they use * for dates of birth and + (or dagger † ampersand dagger; or ampersand # 8224; if their typewriter supports it (and html does)) for death dates. It might be argued that this standard had a religious significance at one time, but now it does not. Or at least not much. When they chose * for birth, were they worshipping some pagan god? No, not at all. Equally, 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.

  25. bobbo, an international pastry Chef and Constitutional Scholar says:

    #63–jbellies==and the context here is the defendants said it was a religious cross and we fixed it by buying the land we put it on.

    Winning arguments made after the trial gathered different facts is pretty heavy context.

  26. just me says:

    I hike the deserts and mountains around Las Vegas and I’ve found many examples of religious expression on public lands–usually in the form of rocks piled together in a pattern, the most common being crosses and pentagrams.

  27. Mr. Fusion says:

    #62, pedro,

    Only your warped mind could equate my post with a “memoriam” to those who fought for civil rights. Only you didn’t read that part where the cross was erected to those who lost their lives during WWI, you just blindly posted.

    You claimed that because the cross had been there for so long it should stay. I retorted that historical wrong are no reason to continue to being wrong. Only I forgot, you are an idiot who thinks slavery was a good thing, women shouldn’t vote, …

    BTW, WWI was fought for Imperial supremacy among the main combatants, not civil rights. When America joined the war it was for Commercial rights. That several countries won their independence had more to do with crumbling Empires than a conscience attempt to “liberate” or give them “civil rights”.

    Maybe you shouldn’t write posts when you are on drugs.

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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.


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