If you haven’t been following the Salazar V. Buono case let me give you a quick recap:

A big Christian cross was erected on public land in California back in the 30s. In the late 90’s someone asked to put up a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine near the cross. The park service denied the request and also stated that it was their “intention to have the cross removed”. (because you can’t put up religious crap on public land)

A bunch of Republicans in congress decided to take a stand against the evil, Christian-hating park service employees by taking away funding from the park to prevent the cross from being removed. They then transferred ownership of the small piece of land on which the cross is erected to a private organization (VFW).

I don’t think anyone would disagree that the cross violates the Establishment Clause (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”). But the bigger question comes down to this:

Whether an individual has Article III standing to bring an Establishment Clause suit challenging the display of a religious symbol on government land and if an Act of Congress directing the land be transferred to a private entity is a permissible accommodation.

Strange situation, to be sure. And definitely a complicated constitutional issue from a legal perspective.

It’s certainly beyond the scope of the California courts. And definitely not an issue Congress should be screwing around with. So it’s not really too surprising that this case made its way to the US Supreme Court.

You know what would be surprising though?

If some random, little-known state representative in Ohio tried to interfere with the proceedings of our nation’s highest court by pressuring the justices to decide the case based on his own religious beliefs.

That would be totally crazy, right?

Funny, but that’s exactly what State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann and a bunch of his (yes, Lynn is a dude) cohorts did yesterday when they proposed H.R. No. 173

H.R. No. 173 – Representatives Wachtmann, Huffman, Adams, Uecker, Evans, Wagner, Blair, Sears, Martin

TO URGE THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES TO FIND IN SALAZAR V. BUONO THAT THE LATIN CROSS OF THE MOJAVE DESERT VETERANS MEMORIAL IN THE FEDERALLY OWNED MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE DOES NOT VIOLATE THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Thanks Lynn. You just gave the rest of the country proof to back up their already low opinion of Ohioans.

 
  • Stupa. They're called stupas. Not precisely dome shaped, but they have a dome component.

    In other news, WTF is wrong with people?

  • The Justice Burger's lemon rule being discussed in this case and the way it has been expanded is nuts.

    The establishment clause was meant to prohibit the establishment of religion in the sense of a Federal/State sponsored Church which mandates adherence from unwilling citizens. This is a far cry from using the cross for a secular purpose, as it is the most common symbol in America for where people bury their dead.

  • So why not allow a stupa to be built?

  • That is the intent of the establishment clause.

    I think the bigger question here is who has standing. The supposed “Sherpa San Harold Horpa” is actually Herman Hoops, a retired National Parks Service employee. He is friends with ACLU plaintiff, former Mojave Preserve Assistant Superintendent Frank Buono, who worked with Hoops to create an illusion of discrimination against Buddhists. Herman the Buddhist!

    But to your question, my answer is NO. It would be quite difficult to argue that such a shrine would have the same, commonly-understood secular purpose for an American burial site as a cross has.

  • I'll let the high court rule on framer's intent. I doubt you have it right in the way you've expressed.

    Your secular symbol argument doesn't hold much water when the site is regularly used for Easter services. I'm unaware this is an actual burial site and if it was there would be different symbols based on the individual beliefs of the deceased. A memorial to honor “all dead” should not be of one religious dogma. I'm quote sure not all who died in WW1 were Christ followers. This is not hard to figure out.

    I also find it ironic that Buono is Catholic. The hoops that are being jumped through by those desperate to thrust religious symbols on others is pretty hilarious.

    Religious displays on taxpayer funded land and property is going to continue to be a problem. We're not a “Christian Nation”, which shocks those of such little confidence in their spiritual path that they require group-think to make them feel better.

  • LOL. Someone's been dutifully reading their Scalia briefs:

    Scalia, from the bench the most vehement defender of the cross, said the cross was the “most common symbol of the resting place of the dead.” Eliasberg responded that would not be true in a Jewish cemetery. Scalia called that an “outrageous conclusion.”

  • mvirenicus

    “WTF is wrong with people?”

    yet another reason i refer to ohio as “the mississippi of the midwest?”

  • Stupa. They're called stupas. Not precisely dome shaped, but they have a dome component.

    In other news, WTF is wrong with people?

  • The Justice Burger's lemon rule being discussed in this case and the way it has been expanded is nuts.

    The establishment clause was meant to prohibit the establishment of religion in the sense of a Federal/State sponsored Church which mandates adherence from unwilling citizens. This is a far cry from using the cross for a secular purpose, as it is the most common symbol in America for where people bury their dead.

  • So why not allow a stupa to be built?

    I doubt you have this part correct: “The establishment clause was meant to prohibit the establishment of religion in the sense of a Federal/State sponsored Church which mandates adherence from unwilling citizens”

  • That is the intent of the establishment clause.

    I think the bigger question here is who has standing. The supposed “Sherpa San Harold Horpa” is actually Herman Hoops, a retired National Parks Service employee. He is friends with ACLU plaintiff, former Mojave Preserve Assistant Superintendent Frank Buono, who worked with Hoops to create an illusion of discrimination against Buddhists. Herman the Buddhist!

    But to your question, my answer is NO. It would be quite difficult to argue that such a shrine would have the same, commonly-understood secular purpose for an American burial site as a cross has.

  • I'll let the high court rule on framer's intent. I doubt you have it right in the way you've expressed.

    Your secular symbol argument doesn't hold much water when the site is regularly used for Easter services. I'm unaware this is an actual burial site and if it was there would be different symbols based on the individual beliefs of the deceased. A memorial to honor “all dead” should not be of one religious dogma. I'm quote sure not all who died in WW1 were Christ followers. This is not hard to figure out.

    I also find it ironic that Buono is Catholic. The hoops that are being jumped through by those desperate to thrust religious symbols on others is pretty hilarious.

    Religious displays on taxpayer funded land and property is going to continue to be a problem. We're not a “Christian Nation”, which shocks those of such little confidence in their spiritual path that they require group-think to make them feel better.

  • LOL. Someone's been dutifully reading their Scalia briefs:

    Scalia, from the bench the most vehement defender of the cross, said the cross was the “most common symbol of the resting place of the dead.” Eliasberg responded that would not be true in a Jewish cemetery. Scalia called that an “outrageous conclusion.”

  • mvirenicus

    “WTF is wrong with people?”

    yet another reason i refer to ohio as “the mississippi of the midwest?”

  • Pingback: Rightwing Activist Supreme Court Justices Win 5-4 Battle Over Christianist Cross in Mojave Desert()

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