The Supreme Court ruled that a 40-foot-tall, World War One Memorial Cross can continue to stand on public land. The decision has implications for how the government and religion interact. Also, the justices said that preserving older monuments is different from building new ones.
Seven of the Supreme Court justices, out of nine, sided with keeping the Cross on public land. Supporters for keeping the Cross closely watched the case because had Supreme Court ruled in opposition, it would have impacted hundreds of other monuments.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in favor of the majority ruling, speaking for himself and four colleagues; “when time’s passage imbues a religiously expressive monument, symbol or practice with this kind of familiarly and historical significance, removing it may no longer appear neutral.”
“A government that roams the land, tearing down monuments with religious symbolism and scrubbing away any reference to the divine will strike many as aggressively hostile to religion,” Alito wrote.
Those in opposition to the Cross wrote that; “the principal symbol of Christianity around the world should not loom over public thoroughfares, suggesting official recognition of that religion’s paramountcy.”
In all, the Court gave a minimal victory to those who support the Cross. Further, two justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas said that they would have tossed the case. Also, Gorsuch wrote that people offended by religious displays shouldn’t be able to sue over them.
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“[In] a large and diverse country, offense can be easily found” Further suggesting that the answer to that should not be a lawsuit. Gorsuch also pointed out that many Washington buildings and monuments contain religious symbolism.