Humanism on the Move


May 13, 2010

Boy Scout Case

Boy Scouts of America v. Barnes-Wallace, a faith-based non-discrimination case, has been refused an appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court. The city of San Diego had granted the local Boy Scout chapter use of an 18-acre city property essentially for free, and two couples filed suit, arguing the city's subsidy of a group who refuses membership on the grounds of sexual orientation and religion breaches the city's non-discrimination law. The 9th Circuit Court ruling in favor of the couples will stand until further legal action is taken. 

Chalking Up Muhammad

The Secular Student Alliance (SSA) responded this week to controversy over affiliate groups drawing stick figures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad with chalk across campuses this past month. The group says affiliates at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin at Madison and Northwestern University were drawing the figures to show solidarity with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park, who had received death threats over their portrayal of Muhammad on their cable show. In response to the outcry, the SSA reiterated their support of free speech rights and denounced attempts to stifle those rights, and sent out recommendations to their affiliates, encouraging those who wished to participate in the chalking to be respectful and reach out to Muslim groups on campus.

Mojave Cross Theft

The Mojave Desert cross, subject of the controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed the cross to remain on federal land, has been stolen. The seven-foot war memorial was unbolted and taken by unknown parties between the night of May 8 and the early morning of May 9. A $25,000 reward has been offered for any relevant information. 

In July 2009, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, on behalf of the American Humanist Association, submitted a friend of the court brief in the Mojave cross case, calling upon the court to affirm the decision of the 9th Circuit ordering the removal of the cross from public land.