Humanists Celebrate Victory in Utah Cross Case
Contact: Brian Magee, 202-238-9088
(Washington, DC, November 1, 2011) — Church-state separation advocates are pleased with the United States Supreme Court’s decision to let stand a lower court ruling which found that memorial crosses on public land do, in fact, signal an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The American Humanist Association submitted an amicus brief in Utah Highway Patrol Association v. American Atheists, Inc. et al in August 2008 in support of the removal of the 12-foot tall white crosses.
“We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for recognizing there is no need in debating the obvious sectarian nature of the cross—a clearly Christian symbol,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “These limited memorials fail to honor the thousands of non-Christian men and women who also proudly served our country.”
Bill Burgess, attorney and legal coordinator of the American Humanist Association’s legal arm, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center added, “The Supreme Court’s refusal to grant certiorari validates the appeals court’s ruling that the state cannot erect crosses, an exclusively Christian symbol, on public land without appearing to unconstitutionally endorse and promote Christianity.”
The American Humanist Association’s amicus brief states, "The reasonable observer in this case would view the twelve-foot-tall Latin crosses on public property as government endorsement of religion." The American Humanist Association supports the replacement of the roadside crosses with religiously-neutral memorial markers that will honor all veterans.
The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.