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 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.