Well, atheists are back in the news. (Or as Best of the Web put it recently, "atheist jerks.")
It seems that a Texas-based atheist group has sued the Utah Highway Patrol over thirteen memorial crosses, placed in memory of state troopers killed in the line of duty.
As the Salt Lake Tribune article explains, these crosses are placed as close to the spot where the officer died as they can be, so that the general public can remember them.
However, the atheist group has a problem with them. Their complaint states that they hold that the crosses' first purpose is not remberance, but religion, and that violates the Constitutional prohibition of state-established religions. Their suit also contends that the crosses represent an affront which is almost painful for them to bear.
A lawsuit filed by the American Atheists in U.S. District Court on Thursday seeks to remove steel crosses that dot roadways throughout Utah and memorialize Utah Highway Patrol troopers who have died in the line of duty.It's a pretty tame endorsement, if you ask me. I guess the crosses in Arlington are government endorsements of Christianity as well.
...Plaintiffs Stephen Clark, Michael Rivers and Richard Andrews in conjunction with the American Atheists Inc. also seek to have the UHP symbol removed from the crosses.
"The presence of the UHP logo on a poignant religious symbol is an unconstitutional violation of the United States Constitution. It is government endorsement of religion," said Rivers, Utah director for American Atheists.
As a local radio host put it, "For a bunch of people who don't believe in God, they sure worry about what others think of God."
But it gets worse. Reading the complaint, it gets real interesting fast:
OPERATIVE FACTS(Please note: I had to type this in myself. Any typos are mine. But the words are theirs.) Although the injury must not be too severe, as the plaintiffs are asking for nominal damages of $1.00 plus legal costs.
23. The presence of the Latin crosses on government owned property with the Utah Highway Patrol logo prominently displayed thereon has a primary effect to advance religion, and conveys or attempts to convey the message that religion or a particular religious belief is favored or preferred, The reaction of the average receiver of the government communication or average observer of the government action is that of endorsement of religion and particularly of Christianity.
24. Plaintiffs have suffered direct and personal contact with the Lation crosses causing non-economic injury to them. Because the Latin crosses are displayed at prominent locations, and plaintiffs are brought into direct and unwelcome personal contact with them, or plaintiffs are forced to alter their behavior to avoid contact with the crosses. Plaintiffs are forced to view a religious object they wish to avoid but are unable to avoid because of plaintiffs' use of the public buildings, real property and/or highways of the State of Utah.
25. Plaintiffs' harm is actual personal injury, fairly traceable to the defendants' unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by a favorable decision of the court.
"Actual personal injury" is suffered just by driving by a cross? They have to alter their behavior? What happens when they drive by a church? (Do they recoil from the cross like a vampire, or something?)
I really can't understand the state of mind required to be offended by these memorials. They're pretty simple. No calls to repentance or anything like that is involved. No admonishment to go to church, go on a hajj, or be excellent to one another. Just a reminder, that a man gave his life here in performance of his duty. A sacrifice that deserves to be remembered.
This isn't about God. This is about remembering those state troopers who gave their lives in enforcing the law and keeping us safe.
This indecent attack is an attack on them, not God. And it cannot be allowed to stand.
And it won't. Tomorrow a rally will be held, in support of the memorials. The rally will take place Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the UHP section office in Murray, 5681 S. 320 West.
There's a lot of legal battling ahead, though. I'm sure lots of legal fees will get racked up by the plaintiffs.
The full edition of The Friday Furo Questus is available at The Wasatch Front.