U.S. High Court lets city block religious monument
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a Utah city can refuse to put a religious group’s monument in a public park near a similar Ten Commandments display. You can see our story here.
The justices unanimously sided with the city of Pleasant Grove, which had said a ruling for the religious group would mean public parks across the country would have to allow privately donated monuments that express different views from those already on display.
The Summum religious group, founded in Salt Lake City in 1975, sought in 2003 to erect a monument to the tenets of its faith, called the “Seven Aphorisms,” in a park where there are other monuments, including a Ten Commandments display.
In the court’s opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said the placement of a permanent monument in a public park was not subject to scrutiny under the U.S. Constitution’s free-speech clause.
The public display of religious objects is a frequent flash point in America’s never-ending “culture wars.”
What do you think? Does the decision violate the group’s right to free speech? Or were attorneys for the city right in arguing that a favorable decision for the Summum group could force cities and states to remove long-standing monuments or result in public parks nationwide becoming cluttered with monuments.
(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed, June 27, 2005, USA)