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Religious Displays

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 1991
In response to your Dec. 9 article, "Display of Lights," a correction: Jews of all persuasions do not find the public lighting of the Hanukkah menorah a violation. It's when Chabad and others insist the ceremony be on public property, such as city parks, etc., that we part company. Most Jews believe that its use of such platforms violates the important constitutional principle embodied in the First Amendment with regard to the separation of church and state. In the United States, the American majority is but a banding of minorities of special interests, including a goodly number who insist the church-state wall of separation be weakened or torn down.
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OPINION
December 16, 2012
Re "Threatened by faith," Opinion, Dec. 11 It was a good angle to have a rabbi argue in favor of a Christian display, but the problem is that he, like many believers, greatly distorts the atheist point of view. We're no angrier than the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Gertrude Stein or Simon Wiesenthal in the face of injustice. But we are resolute about enforcing the 1st Amendment. I think city-endorsed religious displays are threatening and divisive in a pluralistic society such as ours.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 1993
I'm acquainted with Vanessa Poster and agree with her on a variety of matters. But I must strongly disagree with her letter regarding a Nativity scene in a public park (Letters to the South Bay Editor, Dec. 3, "American Spiritual Liberties Union"). If the Redondo Beach City Council justifies its decision by noting other religions are welcome to display their traditional holiday symbols, this is not called naivete, as Poster claims; this is called inclusiveness. The ASLU cannot be penalized if other religions don't "have the finances and the elaborate decorations already prepared for public display."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 15, 2011 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
In a sunny park overlooking the beach in Santa Monica, where a cool breeze blows in from the Pacific, the so-called war over Christmas has found its latest battlefield. Over almost six decades, a collection of Santa Monica's Christian churches have re-created the sprawling, life-sized Nativity scenes of Jesus Christ's birth. But this year, there's no room in the park. PHOTOS: Battle over Christmas displays Atheist groups objected to churches' use of the public Palisades Park to espouse a religious message and applied to the city of Santa Monica for their own spaces.
NEWS
July 4, 1989 | TOM REDBURN, Times Staff Writer
The Supreme Court, continuing to fuzz the line at which religious displays cross the boundary between church and state, ruled Monday that local governments may not support displays that appear designed to promote certain faiths but that they may sponsor religious symbols as part of broad holiday celebrations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 6, 2001 | DAVE McKIBBEN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A week after a city committee banned religious displays from a busy intersection, the Mission Viejo City Council agreed Monday to continue its three-decade holiday tradition after all. But the seasonal exhibit, celebrating everything from Christmas to Ramadan, will be moved to a neighborhood park rather than the intersection where it traditionally has been. The display will be erected in Florence Joyner Olympiad Park, about two miles from the usual spot at the entrance to the city.
NEWS
July 3, 1989 | From Associated Press
The Supreme Court ruled today that some government-sponsored religious displays are permissible as long as they do not have "the effect of promoting or endorsing religious beliefs." By a 5-4 vote, the court said displaying a Christmas Nativity scene inside the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh violates constitutionally required separation of church and state because it appears to endorse Christian principles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2008 | Joanna Lin
Whether the issue is a Nativity scene in a town square or the Ten Commandments at a city hall, Americans never seem to tire of debating whether public displays of religion are constitutional. Year after year, courts give their blessings to some displays and the ax to others. After more than 200 years debating the 1st Amendment, why haven't we found consensus?
NATIONAL
April 29, 2010 | By David G. Savage, Reporting from Washington
In a shift away from strict church-state separation, the Supreme Court gave its approval Wednesday to displaying a Christian cross on government land to honor the war dead, saying the Constitution "does not require the eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm." Speaking for a divided court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the 1st Amendment calls for a middle-ground "policy of accommodation" toward religious displays on public land, not a total ban on symbols of faith.
OPINION
March 7, 2009
The Supreme Court was right to hand down (though not on stone tablets) a ruling against a religious group that demanded that its precepts share space in a public park with the Ten Commandments. But the controversy never would have arisen if the court had adopted a consistent attitude toward religious displays on public property. A California case offers the justices an opportunity to clear away the confusion.
NATIONAL
April 29, 2010 | By David G. Savage, Reporting from Washington
In a shift away from strict church-state separation, the Supreme Court gave its approval Wednesday to displaying a Christian cross on government land to honor the war dead, saying the Constitution "does not require the eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm." Speaking for a divided court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the 1st Amendment calls for a middle-ground "policy of accommodation" toward religious displays on public land, not a total ban on symbols of faith.
NATIONAL
April 29, 2010 | By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court gave its approval Wednesday to displaying a cross on public land to honor fallen soldiers, saying the Constitution "does not require the eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm." Speaking for a divided court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the 1st Amendment called for a middle-ground "policy of accommodation" toward religious displays on public land, not a strict separation of church and state. Kennedy disagreed with judges in California who said U.S. National Park Service officials must remove a small Latin cross from the Mojave National Preserve that had stood since 1934 to honor soldiers who died in World War I. The judges said the display of the cross on public land amounted to a government endorsement of religion.
OPINION
March 7, 2009
The Supreme Court was right to hand down (though not on stone tablets) a ruling against a religious group that demanded that its precepts share space in a public park with the Ten Commandments. But the controversy never would have arisen if the court had adopted a consistent attitude toward religious displays on public property. A California case offers the justices an opportunity to clear away the confusion.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2008 | Joanna Lin
Whether the issue is a Nativity scene in a town square or the Ten Commandments at a city hall, Americans never seem to tire of debating whether public displays of religion are constitutional. Year after year, courts give their blessings to some displays and the ax to others. After more than 200 years debating the 1st Amendment, why haven't we found consensus?
OPINION
April 8, 2008
When the Supreme Court ruled 46 years ago that official prayers in public schools violated the 1st Amendment, it infuriated those who claimed that public institutions should reflect the fact that this is "one nation, under God" -- the God of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, that is.
NATIONAL
June 28, 2005 | David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer
The Supreme Court, declaring that public officials may not seek to advance or promote religion, on Monday struck down the posting of the Ten Commandments on the walls of two Kentucky courthouses. But the court did not set a clear rule for deciding when the government had gone too far in permitting religious displays, and the decision probably wasn't the last word. In its 5-4 ruling, the court said the commandments were "a sacred text" that carried an "unmistakably religious" message.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 24, 2002 | Vivian LeTran, Times Staff Writer
Religious holiday decorations that were banished a year ago from their longtime home in Mission Viejo to a remote park have returned this year to the bustling corner of Chrisanta Drive and La Paz Road, restoring a 35-year-old tradition that many locals had feared would fade. "The religious symbols have special meaning during the holidays," said city resident Thanh Thayer, 35, who visits the intersection annually with her daughters to see the popular Nativity scene.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 9, 2001
Someone should explain the meaning of the word "secular" to the Mission Viejo City Council. "Religious Displays to Be Moved to Park" (Nov. 6) said, "A secular exhibit featuring Santa Claus, a winter scene and American flags will be put up at the intersection instead." When did Santa Claus become secular? Ah, the madness of the holiday season begins. Lisa Palley Los Angeles
OPINION
July 27, 2004
Re "House OKs Bill to Limit Federal Court Rulings on Gay Marriage," July 23: Last week, the House of Representatives voted to single out one class of people -- gay couples -- and deny them the right to a day in federal court. What's not so well known is that this is just the latest in a series of recent attacks on the power of the courts. Lawmakers have threatened to deny courts the ability to hear cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance or courtroom religious displays. One bill would allow Congress to reverse any Supreme Court decision striking down a law on constitutional grounds.
OPINION
January 25, 2004
Re "Elephant Unmentioned at Mission Viejo Meeting," Letters, Jan. 11: Michael T. Kennedy falsely accused me in his letter of wanting to bring the old regime of Sherri Butterfield and Susan Withrow back to power in Mission Viejo. Mission Viejo residents who have followed my civic involvement are well aware of my fierce independence in political matters. Even when Butterfield and Withrow were still members of the City Council, I threatened them with a lawsuit regarding the religious displays at the Four Corners, which resulted in the adoption of the new city policy for such displays; I opposed them both on their proposed ban on smoking in public places, which resulted in the council's abandoning of that policy; and I took the city to court over a property damage dispute in which both voted against me. Furthermore, I have never donated a dime to the campaign of either of these individuals.
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