Death and faith (was RE: Memorial Wins 5-4)
bickersj1 at nku.edu
Thu Apr 29 12:16:12 PDT 2010
Prof. Maltz writes:
>In that context, if nonChristians had sued to force the government
>to allow them to erect a parallel monument, such a lawsuit (while
>not high on my list of personal priorities) would have clearly been
>connected to core First Amendment principles. But that is not what
>was happening here; instead, the plaintiffs were attempting to force
>the government to tear down the monument solely because the form of
>the monument had religious connotations.
The District Court hearing the case originally (almost a decade ago) wrote:
"The controversy surrounding the cross surfaced in 1999, when the NPS received a letter from an individual who identified himself as "Sherpa San Harold Horpa" of Jensen, Utah. The person who sent the letter under the alias "Sherpa San Harold Horpa" is also known to Buono as Herman R. Hoops ("Hoops"), a retired NPS employee and long-time acquaintance of Buono. Hoops requested permission from the NPS to erect a "stupa" (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) on a rock outcrop at a trail head located near the cross.
"In a May 27, 1999, letter, the NPS informed Hoops that agency regulations codified at 36 C.F.R. § 2.62(a) would prohibit Hoops from installing a religious symbol, such as a stupa. The NPS noted that it intended to remove the cross located at that site."
It is true that the ACLU stepped in and began a letter writing campaign asking the Park Service to take down the cross (and threatening lawsuits), but that was only after the Park Service had decided that it was better to remove the cross than to allow the stupa. There is every indication in the record that what stopped NPS from doing so was the intervention by Congress to save the cross.
And note that at the time the controversy began, it was not a war monument, but a cross. The only reason we know that it was erected by the VFW in 1934 in memorium is because the Park Service found some old photos that included those signs during its investigation triggered by the letter from Mr. Hoops. The signs have been gone for a long time.
Salmon P. Chase College of Law
Northern Kentucky University
More information about the Conlawprof