Comments about ‘U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Utah highway crosses case’

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Published: Monday, Oct. 31 2011 5:42 p.m. MDT

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The Atheist
Provo, UT

If you religious fanatics want a cultural war, we will definitely give you one. We will fight to preserve the original "Separation of Church and State" intended by our Founding Fathers when they wrote and commented on the 1st Amendment. We will fight to cease and reverse the encroachment of religion into government and public life. We are also citizens of this nation, and we have the right NOT to have our taxes applied to supporting YOUR religious zealotry and insidious domination of political and legal processes.

The fact that you persist in disregarding the perspectives of your fellow citizens, and insist on shoving your beliefs beyond the bounds of your Churches, dedicated cemetaries, and designated, appropriate places for the expressions of religious belief, demonstrates that you do not respect beliefs other than your own.

Such intolerance is deplorable coming from people who claim to follow Jesus, who first articulated the separation of Church and State when he said, "Render unto Ceaser that which is Ceasar's, and unto God that which is God's".

Harry Case
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA

It is interesting to note that, at our founding and at the time the constitution was adopted, various states had their own established state churches. It appears that the intention of the first amendment was that CONGRESS shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, NOR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEROF. The states were another matter and it appears clear to me that the intent was to leave such decisions up to the states.

ClarkKent
Bountiful, Utah

"Brian Barnard, the Salt Lake attorney for American Atheists, called it the correct decision. The special permission granted to put up the crosses and use of the UHP logo improperly gave the appearance that Utah was endorsing Christianity, he said."

Really ... anyone with half a brain knows what religion the State of Utah endorses. These crosses really don't make a difference in Utah. The allocation of resources by the Utah State Attorney General's office never ceases to amaze me.

snowman
Provo, UT

Candide: You would think differently if one of those officers was a member of your family. How sad that they wont let families and friends honor the fallen officers.

snowman
Provo, UT

The crosses do not symbolize religion. It is a symbol of death and a way to honor those officers.

Ms Molli
Bountiful, Utah

Snowman, I will have to disagree with you. And yes, I have personal experience with this. I do not want to remember the location where my father was taken. I doubt that many close family members want a memorial in place along a road side as a symbol of honoring their loved one who was murdered. That simply is not a memory that immediate family members usually want -- it is a memory that the community seems to want.

Aggie238
Logan, UT

Why don't they just put a marker of the symbol of whatever the religious belief of the deceased officer was? Seems that would solve the problem, since now it's not something determined by the state. I can understand that a Jewish family might not want a big ol' white cross in memorial of their loved one. Although I'm not sure what you'd use for an atheist...

MormonDem
Provo, UT

I simply do not understand why Mormons in Utah are the ones fighting this battle, when we don't even use the cross as a religious symbol. Further evidence that here in Utah, conservatives consider themselves politically partisan soldiers in the culture wars first and Mormons second. (See also: immigration.

I don't see how keeping these crosses off of our shared state lands infringes on anyone's religious freedom. My religious identity is defined by the covenants I have made, my behavior towards my family and my neighbors, my worship in the chapel or temple with my co-congregants, and my privately-expressed religious devotions. My religious identity is NOT dependent on public religious displays, especially displays that make other people uncomfortable.

If the removal of a cross from public land makes you feel less spiritual, you practice a form of spirituality that I simply don't relate to.

MormonDem
Provo, UT

Some people on these boards claim that this court ruling (which was not politically partisan among the Supreme Court justices, by the way) is a sign of society's corruption.

I beg to differ. The scriptures are consistently critical of external, public displays of religiosity that are presented for the audience of man. The Book of Mormon in particular gives very clear examples of what signals a corrupt society: a breakdown of civility, mistreatment of the poor, a widening gap between the rich and the poor, and mistreatment of unbelievers by members of the Church.

When Christ comes, I am quite confident that what will disappoint him will be our greed, dishonesty, lack of self-discipline, and unkindness toward each other. I think he will be shocked and ashamed of how little progress we've made in helping the poor and the downtrodden. I think he'll wonder why we couldn't figure out how to get along with each other.

I seriously doubt that His main complaint will be that there aren't enough crosses along I-15.

UtahBruin
Saratoga Springs, UT

This is so stupid. One person commented that they (athiest) are "Yet we are discriminated against, demonized, vilified, and persecuted in a variety of ways." Are you kidding me? That comment is ignorant, you are not!!!! You are an athiest, I consider myself a believer and a christian. What is so hard about you doing your thing and me doing mine? What has a believer taken away from you...Um nothing! Yet you seek to destroy something as simple as a monument to honor a fallen trooper. If the troopers are athiest, sure honor them in another way, if they are a believer does it really bother you that much that a cross is erected in their behalf. Seperating church and state is a scapegoat and you know it. This is your way of running "roughshod" over everyone else and forcing your opinions. You live your life, I will live mine, I stay out of your business, you stay our of mine. Don't cry church and state, it doesn't happen. I do not see any belief other than your own trying to dictate anything. And if you don't like it, pass on it. I will do the same.

Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

I think there's a very simple way to beat this absurd lawsuit - simply give a choice to the families of the fallen troopers what kind of memorial they want, according to the same reasonable standards used at national cemeteries. If they want a cross, it's a cross; if they want a Star of David, it's a star; if they want a crescent or a simple obelisk, OK...within the bounds of reasonable expense and good taste.

The Atheists' lawsuit was contesting the State's claim that the crosses were not being used as religious symbols, but as universally recognized symbols of death. That's obvious to any reasonable observer, which is what makes their lawsuit all the more outrageous.

Fine - call them "religious monuments" as the Atheists want, but apply the already-established rules used in cemeteries. If they don't like it, then they can sue again from their apparently bottomless well of legal funds.

I just find it terribly ironic that atheists can force an entire nation to abandon roadside crosses and student-led prayers at football games because a single atheist was mildly offended, but if the rest of us are offended by their actions...it doesn't matter.

UtahBruin
Saratoga Springs, UT

In your most recent comment, why do you reference biblical era and time when you do not believe it yourself. That would be like me trying to use Darwins theory in an argument to you. I don't beleive it, so it is not relevant for me to use to you.

Second, you cry 1st Amendment. You talk about fore fathers, who were christians and believers by the way. The first amendment allows people the freedom to exercise our freedom of religion. This is both for and or against it. "Our freedom of religion" not freedom from religion. Is it not great that we live in a country where we are free to choose our religion. You an athiest, me a believer in the Mormon faith.

Why not just go live your life as a successful whatever you are....Doctor, Lawyer, Car Salesman, whatever. You do what makes you happy, and I will do what makes me happy. We can still be friends, I will still disagree with things you do and you the same for me. But what kind of person would I be if all I did was try to tear you down. Like you are doing.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Why do some people want to destroy the notion of equal justice before the law and make American into a religious nation? Why should a fallen highway patrol officer who dies while doing his job, be treated differently than a fallen construction worker killed while doing his job?

The reason is simple, a private organization sees an opportunity to advertise its product. If we allow religion to be advertised in the public square, should we not also allow Walmart, McDonalds, and other commercial groups to memorialize their passed on people?

It is my opinion, that the dead should be recognized for their good, buried, periodically remembered by friends and family and then forgotten.

I especially oppose the spending of huge amounts of taxpayer money to memorials to remember the bad and awful things that happen in life. Like 9-11, Oklahoma, war, etc. etc. etc.

newintown
WOODS CROSS, UT

The thing I find so rediculous and illogical here is the idea that a cross or the lack thereof in any way "forces" anyone to believe or not to believe. Whether by the government or the private citizen, the viewing of a cross does not coerce the adherence to or defiance of anyone's devotion.

Perhaps when non believers, whatever that means, erect a symbol of their non belief, I will be able to be offended that I have been coerced to drop my beliefs in favor of theirs.

It would be ludicrous to think that putting up a cross to memoralized a fallen hero is a violation of the establishment clause, if it were just an observation, but this agenda of the American Atheists is no passive observation. Though they will never admit it, theirs is a concerted agenda to remove religious belief from all American life. They will never admit that their effort to shout down the believer is as "unconstitutional" as thier perceived offense at any mention of religion. Their "non-religion" is every bit as much an expression of religion as any other, and they voraciously expect their "religion" to be "established" by the government.

Mr. Snyder
Pleasant Grove, UT

The American Atheists are offended by the cross (which I think is childish). Why does Mark Shurtliff think the only way to honor a fallen officer is to put his name on a cross? It's not that hard of a problem to solve. Solution: get rid of Mark Shurtliff and replace him with someone who can see beyond the cross. How about putting the officers name on cemetery headstone. Maybe a large sandstone monolith. Maybe even the car he was driving. Retire it, make it a museum piece, and attach the officers name to it. Just don't put the officers name on a cross.

speed66
Heber City, UT

@UtahBruin - you are trying to have it both ways. If Atheists try to enforce the law (you called it "scapegoating")then they are trying to run "roughshod" over everyone else. But when you put up crosses on public lands then you are only minding your own business. What you do in your home, your church and in your private life is not the same as what is done on public lands.

Asserting that Atheists are tying to "force their opinions" and that religion never does that is untrue. Religion is imposed on people all the time - from religions trying to dictate public policy, blue laws that have been imposed for centuries, systematically "adjusting" history and science text books and on and on.

I don't want to speak for Atheists but the suit was fairly clear and the arguments were equally clear. It is unlawful for government to endorse a religion and erecting Christian symbols on public lands crosses that line. While that may seem minor it is important to set precedent. I would never allow government to stifle your speech...no matter how much I disagreed with what you were saying. The principle is what is important.

UtahBruin
Saratoga Springs, UT

Ultra Bob,

If Walmart, McDonalds, a contruction worker and any other commercial group want to find a way to memorialize their fallen. If this is something THEY WANT to do, then by all means go ahead and do it. As for your comment of "Why do some people want to destroy the notion of equal justice before the law and make American into a religious nation?" Who is trying to turn America in a religious nation? Nobody, we are just living our lives freely and independantly. Who is it that is trying to destroy the notion of equal justice? The Athiest here trying to overpower what someone "WANTS". In this case shouldn't it be the families decision if a memorial is erected. And from what I can tell, it sure appears that is the way it is done. Please don't come on here and act like you are getting attacked. Your not. The equal justice is being thrown out by the atheist majority here. Just like in my previous notes. Can we not just live our own lives and quit worrying so much about what someone else does. It's crazy.

UtahBruin
Saratoga Springs, UT

@speed66 - I am not trying to have it both ways. I am saying both sides just need to shut up about it. This would, could and probably does include me also. By erecting a cross, yes I would agree it is a believers symbol. But who does it offend? Obviously not atheist because they don't believe it in the first place. It doesn't offend a believer, because they simply look at it as a monument only, not a way of preaching or forcing gospel. It is simply what was chosen by Shurtliff or anyone else. Does it matter? Really? Would it matter if it was a wood box? Disagree with it if you will...This is atheist forcing thier opinions? Nobody has changed anything except for trying to get rid of religion. I am sorry but this is what our country was built on. It all started way back when. Scientist past, present and future will still try to say things were different. Science is theory in this matter, niether side can proove anything, so if it is both ways. Again, you go your way, I will go mine. Why is your principal more important than mine?

Let's be real
Salt Lake City, UT

Ask one of the businesses nearby if they will house the honor sign. I also like the "T" bit above by Lane Myer. How about a little "t" for little trooper. Fits for me. I wish I lived closer, they could put it in my front yard!

Morgan Duel
Taylorsville, UT

Remind me to risk my life the next time someone is hurt on the highway, and wait till it happens.

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