Thursday, August 14, 2008

Americans United Wants to Remove Crosses from Utah Highways

The Utah Highway Patrol Association places crosses along the highways to mark where Highway Patrol officers have been killed in the line of duty. Americans United for Separation of Church and State has taken this to court, insisting the crosses be removed. A lower court ruling upheld the practice, but AU is asking the 10th U.S. Circuit Court to overturn the ruling.

Read the story on

One has only to look over other parts of the blog you are now reading to see many, many examples where our Founding Fathers, who wrote the First Amendment, used Christian symbols. These symbols were often paid for by public funds and displayed on public buildings or grounds.

The First Amendment, according to those who wrote it, was not intended to prevent actions such as those of the Utah Highway Patrol Association. Now, you might argue that using crosses in this way is not appropriate or in good taste, given the variety of faiths that might be found among the members of the Highway Patrol. That would not be an unreasonable argument to make, and I'm not trying to take a stand on either side of that argument.

But what happens so often today is that the issue goes to a court because of "separation of church and state." That is a misuse of the court system, in my view. The courts are not supposed to insist that people not hurt other people's feelings. It's not their job to decide if crosses are a good-taste tribute to fallen patrol officers. To bring this issue to the courts, claiming a First Amendment violation, is quite a reach. One could just as easily make a First Amendment "freedom of speech" (or expression) argument that you can't sue to stop the Association from placing crosses.

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