Or is it just the Christian cross?

The real name of the case is American Atheists v. Davenport, and it just went forward in a petition to rehear an irrational and probably unconstitutional ruling that prohibited roadside crosses in Utah erected to fallen state troopers.

“One atheist group’s agenda shouldn’t diminish the sacrifice made by Utah highway patrol officers and their families. We are asking the full 10th Circuit to allow the families of the fallen to honor their loved ones as they wish,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Byron Babione. “We trust the full 10th Circuit will determine, as the U.S. Supreme Court recently signaled, that individualized memorial crosses honoring fallen troopers simply do not amount to a government establishment of religion.”

…to state the painfully obvious. Which needs, these days, to be explicit and etched in stone. It sort of was, earlier this year.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in the lawsuit Salazar v. Buono which concluded that a cross-shaped veterans’ memorial in California’s Mojave Desert did not have to be removed. The opinion addressed the subject of roadside crosses honoring fallen police officers:

“The goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm. A cross by the side of a public highway marking, for instance, the place where a state trooper perished need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs. The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion’s role in society,” the high court wrote.

But that’s ultimately and precisely what these suits brought by atheists across the country are after, as much as removing individual crosses. The aggressively secular movement is particularly targeting Christians in trying to drive all religiously informed voices out of the public realm. Which is one of the reasons the Manhattan Declaration was drafted, and why it has grown into a movement.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....