Religion in Society

Supreme Court Cross Decision "Victory for 1st Amendment"

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WASHINGTON -- In a 5 - 4 majority opinion filed today, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the continued display of a lone cross in the Mojave Desert memorializing veterans of World War I.

Faith and Action, a Washington, DC-based Christian mission to government officials, had joined with other groups in support of the display located in a lonely stretch of desert near Barstow, California. In a legal brief filed with the Supreme Court, Faith and Action argued that the cross did not violate the First Amendment, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had found.

Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action, had visited the cross last year. he was at the Supreme Court this morning when the decision was announced by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy who authored the opinion. Rev. Schenck said,

"This is a victory for the First Amendment and for the rights of citizens, including veterans, to use meaningful symbols like the cross in public displays. It's not just common sense, it's in keeping with our most cherished beliefs, customs and values. This is a day to thank God for our freedoms in this country and for judges that have the integrity to uphold them."

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Joining in the majority were Justices Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas. Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Breyer filed dissenting opinions.