Supreme Court Decision on Religious Monument 'Disappointing'

New York, NY, April 28, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called the Supreme Court's decision in Salazar v. Buono "a disappointing ruling that will have little impact."

The case asked – but did not answer – whether the government may transfer a small piece of land in the middle of a public park to private control merely to protect the religious monument that stands on it. In its amicus brief, ADL urged the Court to find the cross display unconstitutional.

Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, National Director, issued the following statement:

We are disappointed by the Court's action, but this is not a case destined to have much impact on religious freedom. The unique facts and the splintered, technical nature of the decision provide minimal guidance on the broader issue of the display of religious symbols on public property. This case will only add to the confusion surrounding what the First Amendment allows, requires and prohibits.

One troubling aspect of this decision is that the plurality drew far-reaching theological conclusions when it determined that the cross has some universal meaning beyond Christianity. This claim should be equally as offensive to Christians and non-Christians.

ADL has worked to reduce the confusion in religious liberty law brought about by decisions such as this by joining with a diverse group across the political and religious spectrum to issue Religious Expression in American Public Life: A Joint Statement of Current Law.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.