Monday, October 5, 2009

Challenge of the Cross

In Brief: Salazar v. Buono
Tomorrow, On Oct. 7, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Salazar v. Buono, a case involving a constitutional challenge to the presence of an eight-foot-tall Christian cross in the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, Calif. The case arose when Frank Buono, a former assistant superintendent of the preserve, filed a lawsuit demanding that the National Park Service, which administers the preserve, remove the cross. Buono argued that because the cross is on government land it amounts to a government endorsement of religion and thus violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. After eight years of litigation in lower courts, the case is now before the Supreme Court. The high court's decision has the potential to determine the fate of the cross and similar displays across the country as well as to limit who may bring Establishment Clause lawsuits in federal court.
The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life provides a brief overview of the case's long path to the Supreme Court and the arguments that the parties are likely to make when they appear before the justices


Anonymous said...

Even if it's an endorsement of religion, there is a big difference between endorsement and establishment. The first amendment prohibits the establishment of a state religion. What sane person could look at the current US government and consider it to have established Christianity as a national religion?

Anonymous said...

This is a complicated legal case, involving many levels of government and technical intricacies of legislative procedures and priorities. The outcome of the case will not be a basis for determining whether the United States is hostile to religion.