U.S. High Court lets city block religious monument

February 25, 2009

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┬áright 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)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I think reuters should have given us the full text of the decision so that we can evaluate the reasonings enunciated by the US Supreme Court or at least gave us the website where the decision was posted. Because I don’t think the only issue affected here was freedom of expression but also the equal protection clause and the principle of balancing of interest.

Posted by Daniel Rosaupan | Report as abusive

The text is available on the Supreme Court’s website.

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive