The Appignani Humanist Legal Center, legal arm of the American Humanist Association, voiced its disappointment with a recent Supreme Court ruling that a cross can stay put in the Mojave Desert National Preserve. The 5-4 ruling in Salazar v. Buono issued last week held that the District Court failed to properly consider Congress's transfer of the public land upon which the cross sits and that the cross may remain at least until the District Court makes a proper determination otherwise.
"Predictably, five conservative justices on the Supreme Court today saw no evil in letting a Christian cross represent all Americans, notwithstanding the fact that the cross is the preeminent symbol of but one religion–Christianity," said Bob Ritter, the legal coordinator of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. "If this is not ‘an establishment of religion' I don't know what is."
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation successfully pressured the Pentagon to withdraw Evangelist Franklin Graham's invitation to speak at their annual prayer service this year. Graham, son of the television evangelist Billy Graham, has attacked the Islamic faith on record, calling it "offensive," "evil" and enslaving of its followers. In response to the rescission, Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins stated that the military is all-inclusive with respect to each faith. MRFF is also asking for the removal of military color guards from National Prayer Day events across the country.
In other MRFF news, the group is protesting the cross and motto of an Army hospital emblem in Colorado. "Pro Deo Et Humanite," or "For God and Humanity," reads the emblem's text. Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, fears the crusader connotations the cross brings may fuel the fires of adversary fundamentalists, who already believe the war is a direct attack on Islam.
Thanks in great part to the efforts of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association, New Orleans has announced May 6 to be the citywide Day of Reason. This is not the first time New Orleans has replaced the National Day of Prayer with a more inclusive observance; the celebration was also acknowledged on a city-level in 2005.