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Who we are...
A Formal Organization of Atheists -                             Updated  2013-02-14
alt LakeValley theists...

The Utah Highway Patrol Crosses Case...

  Whenever American Atheists challenges government promotion of religious symbols, opponents invariably claim the symbol is not religious or has a secular purpose, and the courts with a wink often agree.

1.   A Texas judge ruled "In God We Trust" was a patriotic slogan and not religious.
2.  The 10th Circuit Court ruled that the Ten Commandments had nothing to do with religion.
3.  Salt Lake City Attorney Roger Cutler argued that opening prayers before City Council meetings were not religious.

The 12-foot steel-and-concrete crosses are supposedly not religious because they are "memorials"... They accuse the atheists of being disrespectful, but they are the ones exploiting the deceased troopers to rationalize the cross monuments.  ~ Chris Allen     More... 

High Court Won't take up Mt. Soledad Cross Dispute (we Won!)
Woonsocket Cross
Six-year Battle Removes 12-foot Crosses From Government Land (pdf)
You Tube - Brian Barnard Speaks To Salt Lake Valley Atheists: Part 1  2   3   4
2011 Oct 31 News release - Brian Barnard
(we Won!)
FFRF sues Tennesse Villages of Somerville and Whiteville over Crosses
VICTORY for AA! Supreme Court Declines to Hear Utah Cross Case

The Supreme Court's Justice Thomas' dissenting opinion
American Atheists' coverage

Crosses do violate the Constitution by Gregory A. Clark
*  "Disclaimers" are now affixed onto roadside crosses

Free speech and religious freedom intersect in case of Utah crosses

2011 Brian Barnard at Utah Atheist's Brunch speaking on the UHP Christian Crosses Case update - YouTube

2010 Brian Barnard at Utah Atheist's Brunch speaking on the UHP Christian Crosses Case update - YouTube

The Utah Highway Patrol Association has pulled a commemorative coin featuring the group’s logo paired with a Christian cross from its stores and website this week after being informed the coin raised the same legal concerns addressed in a court decision barring such crosses on public land in Utah.

Salt Lake attorney Brian Barnard discovered a posting for the coin on the association’s website earlier this week and brought it to the attention of an attorney who represents state agencies.


Night Move  ( There is no mention of any of this on :)

Crucifixion of the Utah's state symbol, the beehive. The dishonesty of Utah officials is boundless:
After Utah lost its lawsuit before the US supreme court, Utah officials tried to whitewash the affair by affixing a disclaimer:  A cross is NOT a religious symbol!
What should Utah do about the crosses memorializing fallen state troopers?

  *   Replace the crosses with non-religious memorials
  *   Comply with the courts' rulings and take the crosses off government property
  *   Quit pretending that a Roman cross is not an overwhelmingly religious symbol
  *   UHP admits the crosses are religious memorials because they have agreed
       to put up Stars of David if a Jewish trooper is killed
  *   A Roman cross is a memorial only for Christians.
  *   Honor the troopers in a non-religious way and honor the Constitution
  *   Use an American Flag or the UHP Beehive symbol as the road side memorial

The brief we filed in the Supreme Court - Jul 25, 2011
American Atheists oppose U.S. Supreme Court review of Utah highway crosses case - Deseret News Attorney: Supreme Court shouldn’t waste time on roadside crosses case - S.L. TRIBUNE

MOJAVE DESERT CROSS CASE vs. UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL CROSS CASE ... a letter from our attorney, Brian Barnard, Esq.

How the god Business Gets Away With Being Tax Free and Why Taxing Churches Could Bring Us Into the 21st Century.

Barnard's proposal to settle the cross case.

Defendants stall for time because one of them is enjoying a vacation.

Utah Legal Clinic

Brian Barnard:
"A lot of taxpayer money has been spent on this so far"



Sent:Aug31, 2010
Subject: How much?

I would estimate
that between my
office, the state
and the UHPA,  there
has been more than
$750,000 of attorney
fees and court costs
incurred to date.

"...The first cross was erected in 1998 on private property and 13 others were added later -- most of them on public property." ~ Salt Lake Tribune

  Link    See the court brief (pdf):
AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC., a Texas non-profit corporation; R. ANDREWS; S. CLARK; and M. RIVERS, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. SCOTT T. DUNCAN, Colonel,
Superintendent of Utah Highway Patrol; et al...

One argument that was tried by Utah's defense lawyers in the cross case is that the Roman Cross is NOT a religious symbol; for example, telephone poles are cross-shaped an thus the cross is not a symbol of Christianity.  This sentiment seems to be fortified, as shown to us by Adam Hooper of KPLC (NBC News), reporting on Ricky Navarre's sighting of telephone pole as crucifix in Hathaway, Louisiana (2010.
 Link   NBC News Video


In the Utah Highway patrol case:

 Link  Our response to rehearing petition by the state
"...Utah then simply repeats arguments previously made... All those arguments were appropriately considered by the hearing panel.

"A petition for rehearing which “discloses no issues the panel has overlooked or misconstrued in its order and judgment” and “is essentially a reiteration of arguments already advanced in the briefs . . . is neither helpful nor persuasive.

    "Utah points to nowhere the panel decision misapprehended the facts nor the law. Utah simply reargues its case in its Petition. This is an abuse of the privilege of making such a petition.

    "The hearing panel properly considered the facts and issues before the Court and applied the proper legal analysis. The State Defendants seek rehearing, yet present no substantial mistakes of law. Instead, Utah simply presents again the arguments already considered by the hearing panel. This is not an appropriate use of a petition for rehearing and Utah’s petition should therefore be denied."

"For the foregoing reasons, Utah’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc
should be denied"

 Link  Our response to the rehearing petition by UHPA
"Whether the government violates the Establishment Clause depends in large part on the display's particular physical setting.

     "The large Roman cross is the UHPA memorial. In comparison, the written words and the UHP logo are secondary to the cross and its message.

     "The UHPA concedes that monumental size crosses standing alone on government property would violate the Establishment Clause.

     "UHPA acknowledges that the Roman crosses are of religious origins and are a symbol of faith.

     "For UHPA the memorial crosses are religious symbols. UHPA would allow the family of the deceased UHP trooper to chose religious symbols other than the cross as the roadside memorial. “Because [the UHPA] exist[s] to serve family members of highway patrolmen, the UHPA would provide another memorial symbol if requested by the family.

     "The religious preference of the deceased trooper’s family determines the UHPA memorial to be erected.

     "Both the UHPA and the State of Utah argue that the memorial crosses should not be viewed as government speech despite the Supreme Court’s decision in Pleasant Grove City, Utah v. Summum... which held that privately financed and donated monuments that government accepts and displays on government land will almost always constitute government speech.

     "The State Defendants seek rehearing, yet present no substantial mistakes of law.

     "The panel analyzed the relevant factors, including Defendants’ purpose for the memorials, and correctly concluded that based on the totality of relevant factors, the UHPA memorials convey an impermissible message of government endorsement of Christianity to the reasonable observer.

   "For the foregoing reasons, Utah’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc should be denied."

American Atheists sue to stop World Trade Center Cross

Salt Lake City's atheists congregate near a highway sign in 2011.

It's Happening again!

The Woonsocket Call reported April 23 2012 that the city is exploring its options. “I have no intention of removing the cross under any circumstances,” the newspaper quoted Mayor Fontaine saying.

Woonsocket Cross - Update
FFRF       Letter
Water Tower crosses Guestbook
RI House Bill 8143

Mount Soledad cross:  Prayer Didn't Save It!

High court won't take up San Diego cross dispute
Jun 25, 2012         By J U L I E   W A T S O N   and  M A R K   S H E R M A N

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Supreme Court won't get involved in a fight over whether a 29-foot war memorial cross can remain on public land overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, with justices refusing Monday to review an appeals court ruling that deemed the Mount Soledad cross an unconstitutional mixing of government and religion.

The decision came despite the fact that the court plunged into the dispute over the use of religious symbols to honor fallen troops two times recently. The court has recently signaled a greater willingness to allow religious symbols on public land.

The current cross sits on a 14-foot base, surrounded by walls that display more than 2,100 plaques commemorating individual veterans and veterans groups.

Last year's ruling by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that deemed the cross unconstitutional capped two decades of legal challenges over the 1950s cross that became a memorial to Korean War veterans.

A number of military memorials on public lands across the country have been challenged in recent years by civil liberty activists and atheists who say they violate the separation between church and state.

The Supreme Court in 2010 refused to order the removal of a congressionally endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home atop a remote rocky outcropping in California's Mojave Desert. That cross was later stolen and supporters are working on getting one restored to the spot.

The Supreme Court last year also refused to hear an appeal of a ruling that ordered the removal of 12-foot-high crosses along Utah highways in honor of dead state troopers.

Sham land sale        Link  Wikipedia

David Loy, of the American Civil Liberties Union in San Diego County, said the Mount Soledad case now goes back to the U.S. District Court in California to decide what measures should be taken to remedy the situation.

"In this case the government has no business playing favorites with religion, thus the Supreme Court decided properly to stay out of it," he said.

Allyson Ho, lead counsel for the co-defendant, the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, said her group remained hopeful the cross would still remain in place despite Monday's defeat.

"While we are disappointed the Court did not accept this case for review at this time, we are hopeful we can find a solution that will allow this veterans memorial to remain where it has stood for over half a century," she said.


Federal appeals panel blesses San Diego's sham land sale of cross, land
By The Associated Press    08.23.01

SAN FRANCISCO — San Diego's sale of a 43-foot cross and a half-acre piece of land inside a city park was constitutional, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The controversy arose more than a decade ago, when U.S. District Judge Gordon Thompson Jr. ruled that the city was violating the Constitution by owning the land with the cross. He ordered the city to sell the religious symbol.

The cross sits inside the 170-acre Mount Soledad Natural Park on a hillside overlooking La Jolla. Opponents asserted that the city's sale of the cross and a tiny piece of the park was an illegal endorsement of religion — supporters said the cross is now a memorial to war veterans.

"The San Diego case is good news for us,"
said Marc Slavin, a spokesman in the San Francisco city attorney's office.

In 1998, the city sold the cross and a half-acre of surrounding land for $106,000 to the nonprofit Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, the same agency that has maintained the cross since 1952.

Resident Philip Paulson objected to using the Christian symbol as part of a war memorial and filed a lawsuit accusing the city of violating the constitutional separation of church and state.

Paulson claimed that the bidding process for the land was flawed, charging that the city's requirements for the purchase tended to favor the memorial association and that land sold with the cross was too small.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.

"Because the land was legitimately sold to the private association, we must recognize and protect the association's rights of free exercise and free speech as the Constitution demands no less," Judge Procter Hug Jr. wrote for the panel.

San Diego voters in 1992 passed Proposition F, which allowed the sale of the city property. The city initially sold the cross and 222 square feet of land to the memorial association. But Thompson ruled that the sale required a bidding process and that more land had to be sold.

The city then began accepting bids from nonprofit organizations for the cross and a half-acre parcel on the condition that any symbol could be used as long as it honored war veterans. The highest bid came from the memorial association.

"If the winning bid was somebody who wanted to construct Buddha or the Star of David, I have a feeling the city council would have found some way not to approve of the sale," said James McElroy, Paulson's attorney.

Yesterday's decision came a month after San Francisco officials and a group of atheists battled in federal court over a similar issue in Mount Davidson Park involving a 103-foot cross. A decision in that case is expected soon and lawyers on both sides involved said yesterday's decision could bolster San Francisco's sale.

In the San Francisco case, the city sold for $26,000 less than half an acre at Mount Davidson Park that contained a 103-foot cross. The Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California purchased the site and plans to use the land as a memorial to Armenians killed in Ottoman Turkey in 1915.

Like San Diego, San Francisco sold the land after a judge ruled city ownership was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

"The San Diego case is good news for us," said Marc Slavin, a spokesman in the San Francisco city attorney's office.

 Link  Wikipedia


3-D: Cross your eyes. 
Interesting Optical Illusions.


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