CFI Files Supreme Court Brief in Religious Display Case

August 5, 2009

On August 3, 2009 the Center for Inquiry filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Salazar v. Buono . CFI urged the Court to overturn a congressional legislative scheme to maintain an eight-foot Christian cross in California's Mojave National Preserve, insisting that the government should not display sectarian symbols on public land.

CFI also urged the Supreme Court to leave intact the existing legal doctrine on "standing" - i.e., the right to sue. The government argued that plaintiffs should be turned away at the courthouse steps because their views are demeaned as merely psychological or only policy disagreements, as opposed to objections arbitrarily deemed "spiritual." CFI argued that the government's proposed new "spiritual injury" requirement for standing would risk creating an improper hierarchy of belief systems, denying access to the courts by secular humanists and others whose views are not based on religious tenets.

For more information about CFI's amicus brief, click here . Salazar v. Buono will be argued before the Supreme Court on October 7, 2009.Stay tuned for further updates.


#1 ckoproske on Wednesday August 05, 2009 at 11:13pm

Way to go Derek!  US Courts spend WAY too much time delving into the spiritual character and anthropology of litigants’ beliefs in the effort to establish standing for 1st Amendment cases.  I think we should just get rid of treating religion specially.  This was argued nicely in Winnifred Fallers Sullivan’s “The Impossibility of Religious Freedom.”

#2 Teamonger on Sunday August 09, 2009 at 4:23pm

I think non-believers spend entirely too much time fighting these sorts of battles, which only serves to make freethinkers look like grinches… while helping preachers fill their church pews by beating the “persecution” drum.

#3 shaire on Thursday August 13, 2009 at 3:13pm

“grinches” ... “beating the ‘persecution’ drum” ... Here is a perfect example of the narrow-minded perspective of the faithful.  One only perceives it as persecution when it’s one’s own belief system in question.  Those crying persecution in this specific circumstance are all too happy to have the government remove iconography associated with other religions.

Step back and view the bigger picture.  Either all religious iconography is government sanctioned for display, or none of it is.  One cannot provide special treatment for one religious group over the other (regardless of majority standing).  IMHO, the only equitable solution is to allow none.  Religious beliefs are deeply personal, and they should stay that way.

#4 Teamonger on Thursday August 13, 2009 at 6:02pm

Agreed, that’s how they think in terms of persecution.  I would rather see all religious iconography allowed, as long as the government doesn’t have to pay for it.  The bigger picture being, the purveyors of religious nonsense would have one less thing to rave about to their flocks.  I just think secularists have better things to do with their time and money than spend it on lawyers… things like quiet education in the community, etc.

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