The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that crosses placed on public lands to memorialize the deaths of Utah Highway Patrol troopers are a state endorsement of Christianity, thus they violate the Establishment Clause and are unconstitutional.
This decision immediately makes me think of the alleged "War on Christmas" that inconsistent ass-clowns like Bill O'Reilly are always talking about when 'tis the season. Why? Well, for anyone to argue that crosses can somehow be a secular symbol--to me--seems like a real war on Christianity, wrestling from that hallowed group of denominations one of their most potent and identifiable symbols. That oversimplifues the defendants' arguments in the case, but I gotta admit, this case seems like a no brainer.
The court found that it doesn't matter whether the state of Utah intends to favor Christianity over any other religions, because the crosses nevertheless have the "effect" or seem to favor one religion over the other--and since the UHP insignia, which is state property, is emblazoned on one of the most recognizable symbols of Christianity world over, and then the duo are placed on primarily on public lands--the court found they have the effect of conveying an endorsement of one religion.
Money quote from the ruling:
Moreover, the fact that all of the fallen UHP troopers are memorialized with a Christian symbol conveys the message that there is some connection between the UHP and Christianity. This may lead the reasonable observer to fear that Christians are likely to receive preferential treatment from the UHP—both in their hiring practices and, more generally, in the treatment that people may expect to receive on Utah’s highways. The reasonable observer’s fear of unequal treatment would likely be compounded by the fact that these memorials carry the same symbol that appears on UHP patrol vehicles.
The ruling will be appealed.