Condemning the decision by the Supreme Court this morning that will allow a 40-foot cross to remain on public land, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, expressed grave concern that the Court would now be in the business of determining what constitutes a religious symbol:
“While today’s Supreme Court ruling in American Legion et al. v. American Humanist Association may have been the outcome many expected, the decision to allow the Bladensburg cross to remain on public land endangers religious freedom.
“Under Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court has slowly been chipping away at the separation between religion and government in this country, allowing the religious beliefs of some more weight than others. This case in particular, no matter how narrowly decided or how justices tried to parse old and new memorials, places the Supreme Court in the business of determining what constitutes a religious symbol and justifies the use of public money and land for private beliefs.
“We should be wary of assigning meaning to symbols based on modern history. While the cross did become a common symbol of the First World War, for centuries before that it held a specific religious meaning — a meaning it continues to hold for many here in the United States. The Bladensburg Cross is neither truly representative of the diverse personal faith, philosophy or conscience of the local servicemembers for whom it was built to honor, nor do we see this ruling as honoring the powerful meaning of the Latin cross for devoted Christians. Religious symbols do not belong on public lands, paid for by the public.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.