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American Humanist Association Files Brief in Salazar v Buono

To read the brief please visit http://www.americanhumanist.org/system/storage/29/1054/Salazar_v_Buono_AHA_amicus_FINAL.pdf 

For Immediate Release

(Washington, D.C., July 31, 2009) The American Humanist Association filed a friend of the court brief today with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Salazar v. Buono in support of Respondent Frank Buono. The case will determine whether a Christian cross may remain atop Sunrise Rock in the Mojave National Preserve in California.

"A cross has no place on public land, and that doesn't change when Congress sells off the narrow portion of land on which the cross rests to a private party yet retains control over it as a so-called war memorial," said Bob Ritter, Legal Coordinator of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. "A reasonable observer would continue to believe that the cross in the middle of the Preserve--that is ninety-five percent owned by the government--still gives the appearance of government endorsement of Christianity.”

After a district court ordered the removal of the cross on federal property in the California desert, Congress authorized the exchange of land the cross sits on to the Veterans of Foreign Wars for other land privately held in the Preserve. They also designated the cross as a war memorial. As the 9th circuit observed, Congress left “a little donut hole of land with a cross in the midst of a vast federal preserve.”

"This is a clear violation of the establishment clause," continued Ritter. "Under Court precedent, government may not prefer one religion over another, or religion over nonreligion. Here, government has done both."

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case on October 7th. The brief was signed on to by several organizations, including The American Ethical Union, Atheist Alliance International, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, Secular Student Alliance and the Society for Humanistic Judaism.

The American Humanist Association ( www.americanhumanist.org ) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.


For more information contact:

Karen Frantz Communications and Policy Manager American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) Office: (202) 238-9088 kfrantz@americanhumanist.org


To read the brief please visit  http://www.americanhumanist.org/system/storage/29/1054/Salazar_v_Buono_AHA_amicus_FINAL.pdf