(Atlanta, GA, May 16, 2018)—Today, the American Humanist Association’s (AHA) senior counsel, Monica Miller, presented oral arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit requesting the court to uphold the lower court’s decision that a giant Christian cross display on city grounds in Pensacola, Florida violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The AHA in conjunction with the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a lawsuit in 2015 on behalf of Pensacola residents, asserting that a large cross prominently displayed in a city park and maintained by the city government, represented a troubling elevation of the Christian faith above other beliefs and non-belief. The AHA and FFRF prevailed on their motion for summary judgment, with the District Court declaring that the cross violated the First Amendment, upon which the city appealed.
“In today’s arguments, I stressed that the outcome of this case is controlled by the Rabun County case where the Eleventh Circuit held a cross unconstitutional under nearly identical circumstances,” said Monica Miller, senior counsel for the AHA. “I also reiterated that when the government emplaces a massive, freestanding Christian cross on its property to serve as a holy object for annual Christian worship services, it sends a strong message of endorsement and exclusion.”
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
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