Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement today in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to review Salazar v. Buono. The court’s decision in this case will determine whether a cross honoring fallen soldiers can stand in the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California.
I view with caution the U.S. Supreme Courts decision to review Salazar v. Buono. The 9th Circuit ruling that the cross represents an “impermissible governmental endorsement of religion” should stand. Our public parks are a sanctuary for people of all faiths and belief systems – they should not be used to endorse any one religion.
If the court decides to allow such displays – and I hope they do not – then they must make clear in their ruling that equal access must be granted to all faiths to erect this type of monument.
In light of the court’s 2007 decision in Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation we are concerned about the potential for the court to erode further the ability of ordinary Americans to have standing to protect their first amendment rights.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.