Being Cross at the Court
The title is a play on words: I know many people are probably pretty miffed at the Justices after hearing the Supreme Court today declined to review a case involving the Mount Soledad Cross–part of a war memorial–near San Diego, California. I know that cross very well. Rev. Pat Mahoney and I went out to inspect it, lead prayer vigils at the site, and recruit and mobilize individuals and churches to protect it.
A lot of people know it only takes four justices to vote to accept a case in order for it to be heard at the High Court. What may baffle you is why four of the “good guys” wouldn’t vote to to do so in this case. After all, it was Justice Kennedy–hardly a conservative–who initially acted alone to stay the removal of the cross!
Well, here’s my best guess on why this happened: All of the justices look to the facts and findings surrounding a case before they vote to accept it. They want to know that it’s a good case with good background that will lead them where they want to go. If it’s a bad case, it can lead to a bad outcome–and that doesn’t help anyone. In fact, it can badly hurt the chances of ever getting a good outcome because it lays a dangerous precedent for any future consideration of the same issue.
I believe that’s precisely what the “good guys” were avoiding here. They want a good case with good facts so they can bring about a good decision that has long-term staying power.
In the mean time, we all need to pray, work, and speak on this critical question of whether a cross–or any religious symbol–may be used on public displays–especially memorials. You can count on Faith and Action to do just that in partnership with many others. None of us can afford to be fair weather advocates of constitutional freedoms. When it comes to our most fundamental rights, there will up days and down days–but no days off!
Let’s keep on keepin’ on in faith!