Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fed. Judges Rule Crosses Unconstitutional

Atheists win lawsuit over memorial crosses along Utah highways in honor of fallen state troopers

UPDATE 4/22/11: Supreme Court Urged to Decide Case

-- From "Utah's roadside crosses unconstitutional" by Shari Croteau, WOFL FOX TV 35 News 8/25/10

The crosses went up, beginning in 1998, to memorialize fallen Utah Highway Patrol officers. There are currently 14 of the 12-foot, steel crosses along the highway, with the official Utah Highway Patrol logos on them. The UHP Association says the crosses were chosen, because when someone sees a white cross on the side of the road, they know someone died there and not that the crosses were chosen to represent Christianity.

Now, the American Defense Fund, which is a coalition of Christian attorneys, is considering its next step for an appeal. They could take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The crosses will remain erected until all appeals are exhausted.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Roadside crosses for fallen Utah police unconstitutional, court rules" by Warren Richey, Staff writer, Christian Science Monitor 8/18/10

The Denver-based 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that the 12-foot-high crosses bearing the name and badge number of deceased officers sent an unconstitutional religious message to motorists on the state’s highways.

“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. They therefore violate the establishment clause of the federal constitution,” the appeals court said in a 35-page decision.

Since 1998, two members of the Utah Highway Patrol Association have organized the placement of monuments on Utah roadsides to honor fallen troopers. Before erecting each memorial, the group consults the family of the fallen trooper about the potential of erecting a memorial in the form of a large cross. No family has objected to the cross or requested a different symbol.

American Atheists, Inc., objected to the crosses being displayed on public land and sued to have them removed.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.