Judge Orders Cross Removed from Mojave National Preserve

A federal judge has ruled that this cross atop Sunrise Rock in Mojave National Preserve must be removed. NPS Photo.

Brace yourself, I'm about to delve into one of those public conversation taboos. You know, you don't talk sex, politics, or religion in public.

But at times I find the debates spurred by symbols fascinating. And, of course, religious symbols seem to spur the most debates. The one I want to focus on involves Mojave National Preserve, where a federal judge has ruled that a cross can no longer stand atop Sunrise Rock.

The cross, a simple unadorned one, dates to 1934, when a wooden one was raised in honor of Americans who died during World War I. It later was replaced by a more enduring metal cross. As you look at it, it seems like a simple tribute. And yet in 2001 Frank Buono, a former National Park Service assistant superintendent at the preserve, filed a lawsuit, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, to have the cross removed.

Court papers from an earlier stage in the case noted that Buono was "deeply offended by the display of a Latin Cross on government-owned property," reads a story from the [i]San Bernardino Sun.
[/i]

Look at the picture. Are you "deeply offended" by the cross?

In her ruling, Judge M. Margaret McKeown held that the cross's location within the national preserve is an unconstitutional federal endorsement of Christianity.

This case has me wondering if there's a point when a symbol, religious or otherwise, becomes more a part of our country's history, of our social fabric, our culture, than it does a symbol of what it was initially viewed as? Beyond that, will this ruling lead the Park Service to remove any and all symbols or structures located within its properties that can be construed as religious? Should it prohibit any and all religious services?

Why did the judge in this case rule against the federal government, and yet back in 2000 a court dismissed a lawsuit claiming the federal government was endorsing a Native American religion by restricting access to Rainbow Bridge at Rainbow Bridge National Monument?

Of course, in the Rainbow Bridge case the court held that the couple that brought the lawsuit had suffered no personal injury and so had no standing. But what personal injury did Mr. Buono suffer in the Mojave Preserve matter?

Look elsewhere in the park system. The Park Service earlier this year designated a synagogue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a National Historic Landmark. Could someone argue that means the government endorses Judaism?

At Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming conflicts arise when Native Americans want to hold ceremonies at the tower and ask that climbing be restricted.

And then there's the Christian Ministry In the National Parks, which holds non-denominational services every Sunday during the summer in more than 35 national parks. By permitting these services, does the Park Service tacitly endorse religion in general?

As these cases reflect, there are no quick, clearcut answers to these questions. Judges seemingly have different standards when weighing the merits of the cases before them. Across the country, different segments of our population hold different values.

Where do you draw the line? How do you decide what should be allowed, and what should not? Should the parks be so aseptic of some segments of America's culture? How do you decide which symbols are offensive and which are not? If the cross in question were taken down and replaced by a monument, would that be OK?

Religion long has played a role in this country's evolution. The Founding Fathers were pious men, the explorers who opened up the West often talked of the majesty "He" created. Even John Muir referred to God in his writings about nature:

In God's wildness lies the hope of the world - the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.
- John of the Mountains, (1938) page 317.

I've long viewed myself as a secularist, and certainly don't want to see crosses and other symbols, religious or otherwise, sprouting on hills and mountaintops across the park system. And yet, are there times when you wonder whether we go too far in striving to be politically correct?

Frankly, perhaps it would have been best if the judge in the Mojave case simply ruled that the cross did not belong in the preserve, regardless of whether it had any religious connotations.

Comments

You raise some very good questions. The answers are neither simple nor easy. At the risk of sounding too self-promotional, I will direct you to my book “Blessed with Tourists: The Borderlands of Religion and Tourism in San Antonio,” which addresses the conundrum of religion in national parks at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. There the main attraction of the park are Spanish colonial mission churches that continue to serve as active places of worship for the Roman Catholic Church. Another site you could have mentioned is Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site where King’s home church, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, is a main attraction.

Certainly, religion has had a long and conflicted role in the nation’s history. Sorting out when the government’s involvement crosses from merely interpretation of that history to devotional participation in it is not easy. But the distinction is very important to many citizens across the religious and political spectrum for all sorts of reasons, far too many to go into now. This has been one of the courts’ most serious issues in the last century, and likely will not go away soon. But much of the public debate has been poorly informed and relies more on opinion than historical fact (for instance, the notion that the “Founding Fathers were pious men” is simply not true, at least not in the way that many people who make that claim think of piety).

I continue to be intrigued by the whole debate, especially as it pertains to the National Park Service. My current project is a book on the history of religion in Yellowstone National Park, which hopefully will shed more light on the issues and how American attitudes have changed over the last century-and-a-half.

THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE EDUCATED IN SPITTING OUT WORDS AND NOT EDUCATED IN COMMON SENSE . WHERE HAS THE FREEDOM OF RELIGON GONE ?? WHY ARE WE BOWING TO MINORITY RULE ????? THIS ALL APPLIES TO MANY MANY EVENTS IN OUR COUNTRY.

You're right Kurt, you've definiately stepped in a pile with this article. First someone demands that the pledge of allegiance be removed from public schools. On the other hand, public school facilities and other public buildings are still allowed to be utilized for denominational religious services. Both positions are vehemently supported by the ACLU. Am I the only one to oppose the hypocritical nature of this whole mess? I was under the impression that we functioned as a democracy......one person, one vote, majority rule. Not that I actually am naive enough to by into this concept. As I've pointed out on prior occasions, we're a capitalistic republic in reality. But as long as we continue to misrepresent ourselves to the world as the foremost democratic society in the world, how to we manage to allow for the thin-skinned minority to subjugate the wishes of those who are theoretically empowered within the framework of constitutional law? How do we allow for the rights of one self-serving group of nitwits whose only agenda is based solely around total removal of diety from our public consciousness? By all rights, shouldn't our currency also be modified to eliminate a certain phrase involving the Almighty? Oops, sorry, I guess I shouldn't have capitalized there, I'll probably be getting contacted by those ACLU morons next, since this is afterall, a PUBLIC forum.......

As you are all aware, the majority of our public lands contain ceratin sites of religious significance to native peoples in this land, yet their's are a minority voice that is conveniently and regularly overlooked. What makes the concerns of godless invaders more politically concerning than the ancient stores of artifacts, sites of centuries old tribal customs and ceremonial import of those who actually know these lands far more intimately than do we? As you mention, this one miserable legal group cries and a symbol is removed, probably with an apology that is was allowed to be erected in the first place. The REAL natives try to reclaim ancestral holy places, or in other cases reclaim their RIGHTS to at the very least utilized these places for their periodic ceremonial purposes, and in the legal forum they are brushed aside like a gnat, without apology or fanfare. How convenient to ignore those with a true legal basis to justify their claims, and bend to the breaking point for a group with MONEY to contribute (or withhold) during election campaigns. I'm of the opinion that the hypocracy that is the American Civil Liberties Union, who will also defend non-citizens of this country as if they were naturalized, tax-paying, contributing and productive members of our society, feels that true natives are neither American, Civil, or entitled to the same Liberty (and justice for ALL!!) that is accorded to illegal members of this community. Or am I missing something, again?

Don't you - Anonymous - answer your first question with your second question? It seems common sense that you don't have freedom of religion if you don't protect minority practice of religion. Whether this cross is or isn't, I have no idea.

Back at the beginning of my time in Yellowstone, I went there with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks; I have very mixed up feelings about the experience. On the one hand, I felt it was a wonderful way to express religious faith; there was no better and thought-provoking setting. On the other hand, the uneasy way that the parks worked with and didn't work with religious groups was a constant reminder of just how many faiths (as well as atheists) have an interest in Yellowstone. It could feel stifling at times. Ultimately, I think people are better off not applying for government permits, not trying to get government sanction for religious expression, and simply doing it, and as part of that religious expression, facilitating that for the use of others. As it stands now, it's like a competition, and the government stands as arbiter in protecting the ability for under-represented groups to worship freely.

As usual, the government is arbitrating over forces and issues much bigger than itself. As the arrangement currently stands, I think they have no choice but to take the sort of approach they do -- issuing permits, trying not to endorse a particular religion. But, as people with beliefs, whatever one's beliefs happen to be, it's up to us to facilitate the expression of people of different faiths. Instead of trying to protect and enlarge our piece of the pie, one would hope that people are secure enough in their religious faith that they will show the love and sacrifice required so that those voices can have expression. If it means removing the symbols of faith to do so, we should do so merrily. That seems to me to be the mission of love upon which faith is generally centered.

I don't know if that's educated or common sense; whether the call to turn the other cheek is educated or common sense. I do think that religious belief is merely the outward expression of one's philosophical ideology, and of course, ideologies conflict. In my case, I believe in standing up for those most victimized by our actions. That happens, in our society, to be those who don't happen to be Christians; it seems the Christian thing to do (at least the right thing to do) is to do what we can to make the space in parks as comfortable as possible for them to express their faith. If they in turn become the oppressor, we can cross that bridge when we get there. At present, it's not the current reality, which is exactly why freedom of religion and protection of minority points of view belong together - and that's common sense.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

THAT CROSS ISNT HURTING ANYONE, THE PERSON WHO SAID IT WAS OFFENSIVE ONLY WANTS TO BE A BIGSHOT SO HE CAN SAY SEE WHAT I DONE. HE PROBABLY LIKES PULLING THE WINGS OFF OF FLYS ALSO.

how long does something need to stand in a national park before it becomes part of the tapestry of the story of a park itself and protected by law? i seem to remember something about trash (not referring to the cross, have no interest in the can of worms here) becoming historical after a certain period of time.

I wonder what the reaction would be if the religious symbol being removed was a "Native American" totem of some sort?

It's appropriate if the reaction is different (for the totem pole than for the cross) for many of the same reasons I give above. And, not just those, but more besides ... though all of them related.

As it stands, in the parks I know something about (Yellowstone and Grand Teton), tribes have not been able to pursue activities related to their faith historically because the National Park Service has so often denied their connection to the history of the park. Even today, there's a scholar trying to claim that Sheepeaters didn't even really exist. I think the issue with religion as it relates to the tribes isn't always so "protect 'the minority'" as it is caricaturized. And, actually, from my point of view, as someone who calls himself a Christian, I think that's too bad! I'd sooner part with a cross than with a totem pole given the historical and social context of how those symbols have ended up in and are used across this country and in the parks.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

The cross was put up as a war memorial to the fallen of WWI. It's a war memorial, not a call to Christian religious services. The cross is frequently used as a memorial to the fallen whether they were Christian or not. There is no question that if it were over 100 years old, the National Park Service would keep it as a historical monument.

I know that old tin cans and tobacco tins from the 1920's & 30's in Joshua Tree N.P. are considered historical objects and now warrant protection under federal law as "artifacts" (I used to collect this stuff in the early 1980's legally, because the NPS considered it trash). Isn't there precedence to grandfather this cross in as an equally "historic" structure? It has been there for nearly a century (older that the formerly worthless trash turned "artifacts").

I neglected to mention in my initial post that the cross long pre-dates arrival of the Park Service, as the preserve wasn't created until 1994. Of course, prior to that year the land was managed by the BLM.

What if the erection on this hilltop were a Swastika, put there in 1939, well before the NPS was on the scene.

What if some person in the dark of night decided that the Al Queda symbol should dominate the hilltop.

What would the reaction be?

The cross was not the result of any official memorialization, it received no permission at the time. Was allowed to stand only because of neglect. It has no place on public lands. It should go. At least that's how I see it.

Art Allen

Removal of historical crosses on federal land sets a dangerous precedent, in my opinion. Yes, the cross is associated with Christianity, but it has come to mean much more than that. How about all the crosses federal cemeteries? Shall we remove them, too?

I grew up in the remnants of Camp Tulelake, a Japanese "relocation center" in northern California. Countless times, I crossed Highway 139 to climb The Peninsula, a 700-foot high mountain that towered over the basin. At the summit is a cross erected in memory of those forced to live in prison camps. When I see that cross, I don't think of Jesus or Christianity at all. That cross is on Fish and Wildlife land, so I guess it will have to go, too. If I go home and don't see the cross from Newell (as the internment camp is now known) it will be a huge disappointment. More than that, it will mark the tipping point toward fanatical politically correctness in our country. It will be a slap in the face to people of all religions and cultures.

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Reform the National Park Service!
http://NPS-reform.blogspot.com

I am correct in following Mr. Allen's argument to it's logical conclusion: that any symbol that does not have "official memorialization" (what a wonderfully nebulous and totally bureaucratic concept) should be taken down?

What is the process whereby things are given their "official" status? Does it involve a working group armed with visioning documents to approve the proposed memorialization? (I'm sure I'm missing a few steps in this elaborately thought out process.) Who makes the final decision? How does one go about requesting an "official memorilaiztion"? Is it a committee that meets once a year or can one do it by downloading the needed documents?

Should the crosses come down from the San Antonio Missions? The padres who erected them probably predated any notion of the right or wrong way to place sacred symbols on the landscape. They may have felt the hubris filled notion that they were answering to a much higher authority: the Spanish Crown!

Maybe we should rename Zion National Park since it is a holy Hebrew word in the Jewish faith that was used by the Mormon Church to promote a Christian concept. It certainly didn't received an "official memorialization" process that I'm aware of.

Where does it end?

Pardon me for sustaining this rather heated and emotional debate....

I don't understand the responses.. How can you relate to the cross on the missions to my argument? The crosses, and star of david and crescents on the gravestones aren't at issue either. Those arguments are just silly.

Would you have it so that just anyone, at anytime, could erect some sort of symbol on public land, anywhere he or she wanted it? Not even a government anarchist would tolerate that! The mountaintops could become the billboards for the religion or politics of the day!

AA

There's a "Christ of the Abyss" on a coral reef in John Pennekamp State Park in Florida. It has been there since the early 60's and is a popular sight for snorkelers and scuba divers. The ACLU tried to get it removed also, but to remove it would have disturbed the reef and destroyed coral so it's still there. (A reasonable decision since it is the mandate of parks to protect nature first and foremost).

This case could go to the U. S. Supreme Court and whatever decision they make must be content neutral--that is it should treat all religious symbols on public land in the same way. If they are historic, that is they've been there for a number of years, they are undisturbed whether they are Hopi, Hawaiian, Tlinglit, or Christian. If Hawaiians can perform religious services on Kilaeua and have their rock memorials protected on federal lands, even if they were put up yesterday, then the same should hold true for all other religions. People just want all religions treated equally, no special preferences.

How about Canby's Cross at Lava Beds National Monument? The original, on display at the VC, was raised in 1882 by Lieutenant John S. Parke (possibly "it received no permission at the time"). A replica was raised (presumably by the NPS).

This isn't about being able to put up religious symbols today or swastikas or Al Qaeda or any other number of red herrings; it's about respecting the symbols of the past and allowing their continued existence.

People might get offended seeing these symbols, even the crosses at Arlington National Cemetery.

And what should we say to someone whom, upon viewing such symbols, becomes offended? "Too bad, but you'll live."

It's too bad there are lots of Christians out there giving Christianity a bad name, but that's what it's come to. Too many "arrogant prosletizers" trying to drum up "business" and "followers" and let it be said -- "money". And now that religious leaders are putting their paws into politics, people are lashing out against it. While I'm sure the guy claiming to be offended probably wasn't, you can bet that if any other religious symbol was up on that hill, Christians would be lined up around the block to cast stones at it.

But hey, this topic has opened up a tanker trucks full of worms. Do we remove the crosses from Arlington Cemetery? Remove the bible from Jimmy Carter's National Historic Site? Remove the doorknobs, gateposts, and steeple tops from San Antonio Missions? Take down all the roadside memorials to dead commuters along the interstate? Require that the Whitman Mission NHS visitor center be sensitive to Jewish and Islamic folk? Remove the Bible from the presidential swearing-in ceremony? Take the David Berger Memorial off the roster of NPS sites?

Of course not. But it's very interesting to see where the government draws these lines of distinction. One administration does one thing and the next administration, if they feel strongly enough about it, can attempt to undo it. If you look around, it's easy to find inconsistencies in application of these types of decisions, and that will always be the case so long as the pendulum swings in the oval office and the supreme court grows older, wiser, and occasionally brings in fresh blood. One administration made a huge chunk of Alaska a National Park and the next breaks it into pieces to allow mining, drilling, etc. Our government is a flip-flopper.

I find it interesting that no one has bothered to read the actual court opinion, which just affirms my earlier point that “the public debate has been poorly informed and relies more on opinion than historical fact.”

A quick reading of the opinion reveals that this case is not about religious symbols at all, but about whether national parks can be sliced up to allow special zones where private interest groups can avoid federal regulation. The federal judges of have said no, and anyone who values our parks and opposes the growing tide of privatization should applaud this ruling. I have posted more details at my site.

Tom, I appreciate your diligence in tracking down the court order. But I would disagree with your analysis that this case is "not about religious symbols at all."

Indeed, had Mr. Buono not initially complained about the cross in the first place this case would not have taken root. That the latest legal twist stems from an attempt by Congress to have the Park Service divvy up the preserve so as to place the cross on private late is merely an aside that sprung from efforts to keep the cross in place.

The case's collision over separation of state and church clearly is laid out in the court's initial paragraph:

Our court previously held that the presence of
the cross in the Preserve—which consists of more than 90
percent federally-owned land, including the land where the
cross is situated—violates the Establishment Clause of the
United States Constitution. Buono v. Norton, 371 F.3d 543
(9th Cir. 2004). We affirmed the district court’s judgment permanently
enjoining the government “from permitting the display
of the Latin cross in the area of Sunrise Rock in the
Mojave National Preserve.”

It's tricky to respond posts like this (but watch me try anyway :) ). The best I can do I suppose is keep it personal. I'm an atheist. I'm also an occasional visitor to the Mojave preserve and have seen the cross. Am I deeply offended the cross is there? No. I'm regaled by Christian imagery everywhere I look, and quite honestly a bit numb to it.

Am I offended? Yes.

Like it or not the Latin cross is a symbol that carries many deep emotions across the entire spectrum, both positive and negative. For me when I see the Latin cross I feel frustration with what I consider to be an irrational, unreasonable, and unsustainable world view. I see crusades and wars. I see witch burnings, intolerance, hypocrisy, bigotry, racism and molestation. This is what I feel and can't be argued. Do I want references to religion (all religions) removed from money, pledges, government facilities and services? Yes. Do I honestly expect to see that? No.

From a very personal point of view crosses like this bother more than some of the other things because I go to places like the Mojave preserve to get away and recharge, and I don't like the reminder. If it's a war memorial that's wanted let's compromise and put something else up there like a nice black stone obelisk. Or better yet carve one from the native stone that both blends in and stands out. I'll help.

Longish indulgent personal answer to a short non-personal legal-type question, an essential part of a successful democracy.

e.

Good job Kurt, you have indeed touched a common nerve.

The cross, be it subtitled Latin or whatever, has through generations become associated with far more than just Christianity. However, in most cases, when initially viewed in virtually any landscape, the primary connotation is one of religion, which is a shame. I too hold no particular religious affiliation, but cannot say that I find this symbol offensive. If the intent of the memorial was religious or meant to inflame, as would be the cast with the broken cross, or whatever stupid symbol is currently in vogue with mideastern terror groups, then indeed removal would be the proper response. But I also agree that the obelisk, flower garden, "eternal" bunsen burner, hall of mirrors or many other alternatives would serve quite well in it's sted.

Also, let's not make the assumption that the symbol itself represents the hypocracy of those factions that
use(d) it for their rallying point. Purtians killed out of fear and public subjugation. Cathloics killed to spread Catholicism throughout "pagan" lands. Protestants killed too, as did Baptists, Agnostics, Mormons, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Judaists, and of course, Muslims. But the cross is also a widely accepted tribute to fallen soldiers. along with victims of drunk drivers, genocide, racism, etc. It is a symbol that honors death, strange as that sounds. Nobody needs be reminded that a certain religious leader was NOT the first nor the last nor the only human being put to death on the cross, just the most popular. But I also recall the white cross being utilized as a symbol of peace. Boy will I get e-mails on this one.

Lone Hiker, I think your words ring true. Let my email be the first to say there is wisdom in what you have written.

Have we forgotten that this country was founded on christianity? God has always been a big part of our country.I`m offended by those who are trying to take God out of our country.The worst thing we can do is allow these people to remove religion from our government. I feel very sorry for our young people in this country.I would hate to see what our politions would be like if they didn`t feel they had God to answer to.

I am continually amazed at people who are "offended" by religious symbols or the beliefs of another person. No where in any documents of this country except the liberal media does it give you the right to not be offended. You're offended by something? So what? Live with it. How about if I say that religious symbols should be placed on everything because otherwise the government is endorsing atheism?

What is atheism but a belief system. No one knows 100% what is true and what is not. You just choose to believe there is nothing. Others choose to believe in something. Why should your belief take precedence over theirs?

Oh wait, let's trot out the argument that religion causes wars. Religion doesn't cause wars or persecution or anything else. People cause those. People that are either power hungry or offended. I've been around the world several times and I can assure you that 95% of the people in it want to live their life without anyone bothering them. The power hungry or offended people call them sheep and feel that because they don't care about "the cause" then they don't matter. Sometimes they manage to spin up the sheep and point them in a direction that causes damage and that sucks.

But it's not the fault of the sheeps belief system, it's the fault of the wolves.

If you dropped 100 atheists on an island full of easily obtained food and shelter pretty soon you'd have at least two groups duking it out over who should be in charge.

Don't read history and be confused by whether the wolves call themselves Christians or Muslims or atheists or whatever. They use the belief to further their own cause.

I consider myself a follower of Christ. I read the bible. I spent 10 years in the military. I have a brother who lives in California and is married to a man. I don't understand it but he's my brother and I support his right to make a choice. I'm white and so is my wife but my other brother has children that are mixed race. I love spending time with them. I believe in evolution and that God created life. I think people should be able to pray in the street or school or wherever they want or don't if they don't want to.

I'm offended by things in life but I don't feel I have the right to go out and tell other people how to live just because it violates my personal worldview. I think if you see something that "offends" you you should sit down shut up and pike off. And if my saying that offends you, good.

Amen Brother Randy!

In one way shape of form, there is ALWAYS someone who will take offense to something. People have issues wtih various commentary expressed on this website, in particular with some of the views expressed by your's truly. Thank you for investing some of your precious time reading and taking my opinions to heart. Truth be known, I could give a rat's *** whether you agree, disagree or are not swayed either way. But whether you personally approve of someone's viewpoint or not is really not the issue. In this alleged democracy within which we all freely express our disdain for various topics, we cannot allow for the agenda of a minority of the population to countermand the majority. Democracy, as defined in most political science textbooks, reads "one person, one vote, majority rule" (I quote loosely, but most likely you wouldn't read the whole definition if I copied it anyway) and we are dangerously close to the point whereby we fall into the abyss, and the PC among us are encourage anyone with "hurt feelings" to have the system perverted in their favor. If there are particular freedoms that we enjoy in this country, be they religious expression, speech, publication, political expression, art, or the like that are truly bothersome to a portion of the masses, then let me encourage you to utilize the boats, planes, and railcars that are ready daily to whisk you away to a place where "you can stare at the world from your own little Idaho" (apologies to Kurt and Sammy). But on the other hand, shame on ALL of us, ESPECIALLY the bleeding-hearts who constitute the ACLU who allow the whining immoral minority to become the national conscience.

Foolishness seems to be a quality greatly possessed by many who claim to understand.

To what end do we quarrel about these nonsensical things.

I'll be praying for you all.

How many of the soldiers of WWI (I'm thinking primarily of Jews, though atheists and Muslims would also have been among the dead) had a faith that was not commemorated by this cross? I tire of having the phrase "politically correct" thrown up in our faces when we disagree with government-funded, -sponsored or -approved displays of religious observance. How often do those who wonder at people's "oversensitivity" put themselves in someone else's shoes? If the display involved a Star of David, a menorah or a large statue of a seated or standing Buddha would the reactions be the same?

Would the same people agree that these would be right and fitting displays of religious observance and tradition--albeit not their own tradition?

For those of you who say that there is a "bleeding-heart" mentality that attempts to balance the rights of a majority against a minority TOO fiercely, I invite you to revisit the US Constitution or the Federalist Papers. How many decisions were made and how many structural modifications were put in place to avoid a "tyranny of the majority"? The Founding Fathers struggled over these points, they did not dismiss them as being the purview of whiners or those lacking common sense. What would you think if you were part of a minority?

I welcome any of your comments on my blog, www.rationalpsychic.wordpress.com, as well.

Read the First Amendment to the Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Although this ruling (and many others) is politically correct, it violates the direct wording of the First Amendment. If read properly in the historical context, it nullifies the British practice of the time of establishing a "State Religion". The later use to define a "separation" of church and state is traceable to Supreme Court decisions which may or may not agree with the amendment. It is, as has often been said, the passing of legislation by the Judicial branch of the government, instead of merely stating whether a law is or is not according to the Constitution. If the Congress were to pass a law mandating the placing of this cross in Mojave National Preserve, or passed a law prohibiting it, such law would properly be condemned as "unconstitutional." But since it is only an opinion by a court, we argue about its correctness. The complexity of legal decisions boggles the mind.

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If people want to look at a cross in the desert they can go buy some one acre paradise on their own and erect one.

Funny the same person who rants about the lack of a minority right to not be offended, majority rules, etc. become apoplectic when a majority wants something that he does not.