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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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Joggle
Clearfield, UT

The crosses could be replaced with other monuments or moved to private land so why are so many of you making such a big deal out of it when it can be done a different way. Those troopers can be honored, but let's just do it in way that doesn't violate the Constitution. Erecting divisive religious icons that violate the very constitution the fallen troopers had sworn to uphold is not the way to honor those troopers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of their state. Religion has a history of tearing down the beliefs of each other as well as non-believers. Why should atheists just shut up and mind their own business when religion rarely does. The attitude that the cross is not a Christian symbol is wrong because it's so obvious that it is. When religion gets enshrined into government policy -- like teaching religious beliefs in public school science classes, or funding religious organizations with tax money, or opening government meetings with prayers, or displaying the Ten Commandments on government property, or promoting one religion over another in a public school....it is a theocracy. Atheists and others have a right to prevent a theocracy!

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

UtahBruin | 11:19 a.m.

We would all like to live our lives lives freely and independently. But in order to have everybody free and independent, there has to be some forgoing of freedom and independence. One of those concessions we grant to our fellow citizens is to not commercialize the government. It is the law.

According to our society and our government, there is a proper place for dead people. Its called a cemetery.

To my knowledge I have never been harmed by a cross or any other religious practice. However I often feel harmed by the overbearing volume of advertising in just about every other part of my life. If you open the door to religious advertising on public property, you have no excuse for the exclusion of commercial advertising.

Joggle
Clearfield, UT

Whether or not a cross offends an atheist is a moot point. The real point of the lawsuit is the "establishment of religion". American Atheists defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church-mosque-temple and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. Ask yourselves this: Should atheists and other non-Christians suffer a religious tradition not their own being imposed upon them through the power of the state? Is it wrong for atheists and non-Christians to ask for fair and equal treatment under the law? No one religious sect should be given a government mandated monopoly to use their idols, icons and graven images as representative of the memory of loss or to infer that only their symbol represents our human family.

Only a religion in the majority would think that no one of a different religion would be offended by being represented by the majority religions symbols. I wonder if the Christian defenders of the Utah crosses would mind an Om symbol being placed at their memorial in New Delhi or the Koran being used to reference their sacrifice at their memorial in Tehran.

Allen#1
West Valley, UT

Please Mr. Shurtleff: Do NOT waste taxpayer money fighting the decision to ban crosses on highways. The Atheists have won.

Northern
Logan, UT

Joggle | 5:57 p.m. Oct. 31, 2011
Clearfield, UT
@Northern

Can we count you among the "haters"?

No you may not, as I would not mind if you put up a memorial to honor someone who served our country. Be it buddha,Gahandi or a woodchuck.

This country was founded on a belief in morality and a healthy respect for God, and his commandments.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

It is and the founding fathers intended it to be freedom OF religion, never has been, never will be freedom From Religion. There is no statment or intent of being protected from religion.
You do not have a Right to be protected from being offended.

This is your education.

Northern
Logan, UT

The Atheist | 9:10 a.m. Nov. 1, 2011
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.

Actually no where does it say seperation of church and state. That mythical argument has been debunked.

This is your education.

als Atheist
Provo, UT

Northern,

By whom has separation of Church and State been "debunked"? Surely not by you.

Some, like you, say that because that specific phrase is not in the Constitution it is not valid.

Did you know that the prohibition of Slavery is not in the Constitution?

And the right of women to vote is not in the Constitution?

The "separation of church and state" is the distance that should exist in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state.

The term is derived from Thomas Jefferson's phrase, "wall of separation between church and state," as written in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.

Jefferson wrote: "...I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people [the 1st Amendment] thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

Madison also spoke of the 1st Amendment as a "total separation of the church from the state," and "the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States."

Madison publically declared: "the practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States."

I debunk your debunking. Educate yourself.

Northern
Logan, UT

als Atheist | 2:49 p.m. Nov. 1, 2011
Provo, UT

To Joggle its a good thing that you have two accounts since there is a 4 comment limit.

Many people write many things to many organizations and a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association is inconsequential.
Last time I checked the Danbury baptists were not part of the legislative branch of government, and have no power whatsoever.

"Madison publically declared: "the practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.""

Exactly so the government having a misguided opinion on crosses on the highway would be a violation of that statement and more importantly the constitution.

Nice Try Tho.

Once again freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

This is your education.

Jiggle
Clearfield, UT

@Northern

Your unsupported arguments fails to address and ignores many key points. Support your assertions with facts!

A whole new trend was established and secular humanism became the religion of America which includes people of ALL beliefs both religious and non-religious because afterall we are all citizens. In 1992 the Supreme Court stated the unthinkable to most religious people. "At the heart of liberty is the right to define ones own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Also..."It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure." - James Madison. Federalist Paper 51

Further evidence of the Founder's position on the state and religion can be found in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists in which he supported them in the position that a wall of separation should exist between church and state.

The framers had discussed inclusion of religion within the Constitution, but it was voted_down.

Jiggle
Clearfield, UT

@Northern

If we are to live in a truly free and just republic we must remove the sanctity of religion as being outside the realm of the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause. The separation of Church and State are inherently necessary in order to best represent peoples of all different creeds, races, and ethnicities. Anything less is disingenuous to the tenants this country was founded on and is harmful to the progression of our country as a Great Nation. The next time someone advocates against removing religious symbols on public lands, they need to be reminded in order to represent everyone to the best of the Constitution, we must have a neutral government in the matters of religiosity. We cannot hold up one group over another whether it be Christians, Muslims, atheists, Wiccans, theists, or scientologists if we are to live in a free society. Regardless of religiosity or lack thereof, by supporting religion in a government capacity is the antithesis of what a free republic is founded on because it raises up one group of Americans over another by legitimizing their claims on morality and way of life.

als Atheist
Provo, UT

Northern,

You are completely out of your league on this point. Better to stop digging any deeper while you still have the chance.

owlmaster2
Kaysville, UT

@ The Atheist... The separation of church and state has nothing to do with keeping religion out of government. It was meant to keep the nation from having a declared national religion.

Quite frankly I find your attitude a bit over the edge with the little knowledge you have about our country. I'm probably one of the most liberal people posting here and trust me, I know the history and the intent of the signers of the Constitution through study and examination of facts.

You as an Atheist have no more rights than I do as a Jew or as a Christian. In fact our country is based on majority rule. I'm personally non-religious but to me those crosses represent an honor to the officers that have fallen. They in NO WAY in my thinking represent a religion or religious belief.

Don't threaten a cultural war. You'd lose. As a Liberal Democrat, I would be one that would be defending OUR rights. Mine and yours. One of the problems we have in this nation is one party control.. Don't make it worse by misinterpretation of facts.

Munk
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I wonder if these so called atheists are offended by the rows of white crosses, stars of David and other symbols that adorn our military cemeteries.

snowman
Provo, UT

Virgil: Just so you know the beehive is a symbol of industry not mormonism.

als Atheist
Provo, UT

owlmaster2 wrote:

"The separation of church and state has nothing to do with keeping religion out of government. It was meant to keep the nation from having a declared national religion."

Not so. The Bill of Rights (including the 1st Amendment) originally applied only to the Federal Government, but the 14th Amendment extended the BOR to all the States in the Union. Moreover, as the quotes I have already provided demonstrate, both Jefferson and Madison openly and repeatedly explained the 1st Amendment as creating a "separation of Church and State" - a prohibition against religious influence in Federal and State Governments AND government influence in religions.

"In fact our country is based on majority rule."

No it is not. That is NOT found anywhere in the Constitution. Rather, this country is based on the rule of law, representation in the making of law, and the protection of inalienable rights (the BOR) in the interpretation of law.

Apparently my "little knowledge...about our country" far exceeds your own.

"Don't threaten a cultural war. You'd lose."

Not likely. I've cleaned your clock in this argument, and nonbelievers have the Constitution and BOR on our side in any culture war.

Bring it.

Paul in MD
Montgomery Village, MD

Should the state dictate religion, either by establishing a state-sponsored religion or by dictating doctrine to any churches? Of course not.

Should churches be able to dictate to government what laws to create or how to adjudicate? Of course not.

However, I don't believe that either of those principles, nor the positions and letters of the Framers, advocate the removal of any mention of religion from the public square. Everyone has some belief system, whether it be in a particular faith, a general non-denominational personal belief system, or an adamant belief that there is no deity. No matter how much we may want to, we can't remove the influence those beliefs have on our own actions and judgments.

Can't we find a way to civilly and equitably let people express themselves in the public square without resorting to lawsuits and venom?

Banning all religious (or near-religious) symbols from the public square essentially establishes the belief in no religion, what many of us consider Atheism. Why is that not considered just as unconstitutional as putting up a nativity in front of city hall?

als Atheist
Provo, UT

Paul in MD wrote:

"I don't believe that either of those principles, nor the positions and letters of the Framers, advocate the removal of any mention of religion from the public square."

We are not talking about a transitory "mentioning" of religion. We are talking about an apparently permanent association of the official symbols of a State agency and a religion (Christianity) on public property.

"Everyone has some belief system,"

We are not talking about generic belief systems. Nobody can make an argument that the Founders were trying to build a wall of separation between Government and "any sort of belief system". They pinpointed religious belief systems for a reason.

"Banning all religious (or near-religious) symbols from the public square essentially establishes the belief in no religion, what many of us consider Atheism. Why is that not considered just as unconstitutional as putting up a nativity in front of city hall?"

Again, absence of belief in god cannot be twisted into a belief. That someone is an atheist simply means she has no belief in a god. You can infer nothing more about that person or their other beliefs.

Please, just respect PUBLIC property. We are citizens, too.

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