“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” says the first amendment, thus creating the Constitution’s “establishment” and “free exercise” religion clauses. Does the Mount Soledad cross in La Jolla violate either of these clauses, especially the establishment clause? Steve Mather, our long time member and local minister, suggested this topic a while ago, and 0– luckily for us — he will be there to run the meeting.
Even though the Mt. Soledad cross controversy is an old, much-beaten horse of a topic, it still is a great one for our group because it lets us debate the meaning of the first amendment. Recent Supreme Court decisions have altered/clarified when religious symbols may be displayed in public yet remain constitutional. But, the rulings are confusing and the Court may even take the Soledad case on eventuaklly! Below are the usual discussion questions and links to information about long-running Soledad cross matter and those recent SCOTUS cases.
Steve may suggest links/background, and I will add them as received.
[UPDATE] Links from Steve:
- Can the cross be a secular symbol?
- [FROM David] Latest SCOTUS tactic is finding excuses to deny standing to anyone trying to challenge government religious displays and funding of religious activiites.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS –
- What’s the latest on the Cross controversy? Will the Supremes take the case?
- What are the arguments for and against keeping the cross where it is?
- What does the Constitution (as interpreted by the courts, especially SCOTUS) say about public religious displays; i.e.,
a. Crosses etc. on public lands;
b. Ten Commandments displays,
c. Religious activities in schools?
- Is this type of controversy important, or not worth fighting so hard over? How steep is the slippery slope?
- Wiki’s chronology of the Cross controversy. Updated to 2012.
- The ACLU’s view and its background materials.
- Decent short summary of recent SCOTUS rulings on these issues. I read a book with much more detail on these cases and will be able to explain it more thoroughly if needed.
- Re: A similar case about a cross in the Mojave desert that did make it all the way to the Supreme Court: (1) How the Court ruled; (2) detailed explanation (you’ve been warned) of the arguments pro/con.
I love our religion topics! Invite a friend! I plan to email the ACLU and a few religious organizations, if I can think of any appropriate ones, about this meeting.