Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement today in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Salazar v. Buono, a case that presented an Establishment Clause challenge to a cross placed on federal land in 1934 to honor American soldiers who died in World War I.
The Supreme Court’s decision today on Salazar v. Buono raises a cluster of worries about the government’s treatment of religion and unnecessary entanglement between religion and government. The Court’s reversal of the 9th Circuit ruling that the cross represents an “impermissible governmental endorsement of religion,” is just the latest in a series of troubling Supreme Court decisions that are eroding religious freedoms in our country.
Our public parks are a sanctuary for people of all faiths and belief systems as well as none. These government-owned-and-run public places should not be used to endorse any one religion.
Two sad ironies stand out here. First, for Christians to celebrate this decision requires a will to allow the government to reject the distinct religious value the cross has traditionally held in Christianity. Second, those who have fallen in battle for our country often have done so protecting the rights that are the defining characteristics of our democracy and, specifically, our First Amendment. Central to this are our religious liberties—the ones jeopardized in this ruling by the Supreme Court.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.