The following comes from a June 5 story on World Net Daily.
The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to consider whether or not simply being “offended” by a religious symbol in a public place violates the U.S. Constitution.
Legal defenders of the cross at the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial near San Diego, which has been in litigation for 25 years, are citing the high court’s recent decision that prayer is allowed at municipal or other government meetings.
They want Supreme Court intervention in the case following a district court’s order that the cross be torn down. The order was stayed, pending decisions from higher courts.
A cross has been at the La Jolla, California, site since 1913.
A friend-of-the-court brief in the case has been filed by the United States Justice Foundation, Joyce Meyer Ministries, Public Advocate of the United States, The Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, The Abraham Lincoln Foundation for Public Policy Research, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund and Policy Analysis Center.
The groups are represented by Michael Connelly of the USJF and Herbert Titus, William J. Olson, John S. Miles, Jeremiah Morgan and Robert Olson of William J. Olson P.C.
The brief cites the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision last month in which the justices cited a 41-year-old precedent, Marsh v. Chambers, affirming legislative prayer under the Establishment Clause.
“In Town of Greece, the court recognized that the Establishment Clause drew a jurisdictional line between matters belonging to the state and matters belonging to the church, ruling that so long as prayer addresses the corporate duties and needs of civil government, not the individual duties and needs of people, then prayer – even sectarian prayer – is constitutionally permissible,” the new brief explains. “Second, in Town of Greece, the court recognized that even where prayer is permissible, the Establishment Clause only prohibits the civil government from coercing the people to participate in a religious exercise, but not from merely offending some individuals.”
WND has reported as the Mt. Soledad cross case has gone through district court, appellate courts and even the U.S. Supreme Court.
The arguments for its removal have been based on somebody’s hurt “feelings,” according to attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which previously filed a brief on behalf of thousands of members of the United Retired Firefighters Association and the American Legion.
The case was brought in 1989 by an atheist who claimed to have been offended by the memorial’s symbol.
But the ADF brief at that time said those who claim to be offended are suffering no injury.
“Instead, their standing rests on subjective feelings of offense. In this case, the allegations of lead plaintiff, Mr. Steve Trunk, typify those of offended observers nationwide who recoil at any employment of religious symbolism by the state. Mr. Trunk’s declaration states, for example, that the cross located at the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial causes him to subjectively ‘feel uncomfortable, offended, disrespected and like a second class citizen,’” the argument said.
That brief stated: “Offended observers have no such direct stake and the psychological harm to which they lay claim pales in comparison to that caused by the demolition of public memorials dedicated to those who gave their last full measure of devotion to our nation.”
For many years, the American Civil Liberties Union and others have sought to have the Mt. Soledad Veterans’ Memorial cross torn down on behalf of individuals and groups who claim to be offended by it.
It was only months ago that a federal judge in San Diego, reviewing the case once again, ordered the cross removed over its unconstitutionality.
But that was before the Greece decision, and now the new legal argument cites that case.
The new brief explained that the Greece decision upheld the constitutionality of a city council opening its meetings with prayer….
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