The Supreme Court has ruled that public parks can display a monument featuring the Ten Commandments without having to allow private groups to put up monuments of their own. Justices on Wednesday unanimously overturned a ruling that required the town of Pleasant Grove, Utah to give equal park space to the church of Summum, who wanted to display their “seven apphorisms,” in a part with a monument featuring the Ten Commandments.
Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said monuments typically represent “government speech” and don’t create the type of “public forum” that would require equal access for private groups under the Constitution’s free-speech clause.
“It is hard to imagine how a public park could be opened up for the installation of permanent monuments by every person or group wishing to engage in that form of expression,” Alito wrote.
The reaction from Church-State separation groups was mixed.
Welton Gaddy, president of the New York-based Interfaith Alliance Foundation, said the ruling permits religious favoritism by governments.
“Our public parks are a sanctuary for people of all faiths and belief systems,” he said. “They should not be used to endorse any one religion.”
The Anti-Defamation League said the ruling “does not disturb the bedrock constitutional principle that government may not favor one religion over another.”
Via Bloomberg News