April 29, 2010 |
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.
April 29, 2010 |
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.
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 |
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?
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.
June 28, 2005 |
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.