Atheist seeks Supreme Court opinion on Bald Knob Cross grant

2012-09-04T17:10:00Z Atheist seeks Supreme Court opinion on Bald Knob Cross grantBY CALEB HALE, The Southern The Southern
September 04, 2012 5:10 pm  • 

ALTO PASS — An advocate for atheism is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up his case against the state of Illinois over a grant given for the restoration of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace in Alto Pass.

Rob Sherman, a resident of Buffalo Grove, filed a petition for review with the court Tuesday. He is contesting a $20,000 Illinois Department of Commerce and Economy Opportunity grant the agency gave to the board of directors overseeing renovation of the 111-foot cross in 2008 on grounds it violated separation of church and state laid out in the U.S. Consitution.

In his brief filed with the high court, Sherman argues the constitutionality of public expenditures should be based on how a government body spends the money, not which branch of government did the spending. Current Supreme Court precedent prohibits legislative branches of government from spending public money to advance religion, but allows for legislatures to send money to executive branches to spend for such purposes, Sherman said.

“That allows the legislative branch to make blatantly unconstitutional expenditures of public funds with impunity,” Sherman said.

Sherman’s case against the state has been repeatedly tossed, and he’s not entirely confident the Supreme Court will pick up the case, as it only accepts about 1 in every 100 cases submitted for review. He will know by June 30, 2013 whether the court will deliver an opinion.

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(7) Comments

  1. Shelia122967
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    Shelia122967 - September 05, 2012 4:52 am
    I agree with the separation between Religion and State and I think there is a fine line here. The grant was for Tourism not Religion - Do you realize how many people not just from Southern Illinois but from surrounding states drive through the surrounding towns buying gas, food, etc ... on their way to and from the Bald Knob Cross? Alto Pass I am sure thinks it is a blessing for the town during the blessing of the bikes.
  2. ernieyeball
    Report Abuse
    ernieyeball - September 04, 2012 11:39 pm
    Trooth sez: "-so get lost."
    Thank you for that fine example of Christian Love...

    (side note)
    United States Constitution Article VI:
    This Constitution, {NOT YOUR HOLY BOOK} shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
  3. LucyLu
    Report Abuse
    LucyLu - September 04, 2012 11:00 pm
    @Trooth - The waste of taxpayers' dollars is repairing this cross. I'm not a christian and would certainly not want any of my money funding this project. I'm sure you'd be comfortable funding the repairs to a mosque? Or a Hindu temple?

    @jkj1948 - I'm not guilty. I don't live a life of desperation and I do think of my own "eternity." I do good deeds because they are good, not because some god tells me to or because I believe I'll get some reward later.

    But...Thanks to both of you for being smug and presumptuous; for being rude and mean and jumping to conclusions. I'll stick with ernieyeball.
  4. Butterfly Christie
    Report Abuse
    Butterfly Christie - September 04, 2012 10:52 pm
    Trooth - stop acting like you speak for everyone. I agree with what Ernie said, and it's a shame tax dollars will have to be spent in the case as well, but the case has to happen to prevent religions taking up tax dollars in the future. We can't have people forced to pay for something that they don't agree with as much as possible, and "as much as possible" is the key word here because I know it's not possible in every case, but it is in this case. Are you for, or against forcing your religion on others? This isn't a theocracy.

    jkj1948 - Many Christians agree with moving the cross because this isn't a theocracy. You are free to have crosses up anywhere people are not forced to pay for it with tax dollars, and the government is not playing favoritism. This is to support freedom of religion, including freedom for Christianity. So if you are Christian you should be for it, not against it. Once government gets involved in religion, one religion is forced on the rest of the population. Even if it is Christianity it would be just some politician's view of Christianity, not particularly yours. There are over 32,000 different Christian denominations with different beliefs.

    People need the freedom to have their own personal beliefs.
  5. Trooth
    Report Abuse
    Trooth - September 04, 2012 9:23 pm
    I am not interested in some fool (Sherman) wasting my tax dollars and the Supreme Courts time. If he wants to pursue his beliefs - fine. But causing this legal expense is no better than what his beef is. with the State, spending money on the cross.
    (side-note: Ernieyeball - no one is interested in what you're not interested in - so get lost.
  6. jkj1948
    Report Abuse
    jkj1948 - September 04, 2012 8:06 pm
    Atheists don't want to be reminded of their guilt by seeing the names Jesus or God and seeing Nativity Scenes or Crosses. They want to live their lives of desperation without having to think about their eternity. Exist in the here and now and not be reminded of the future. It is not about the money.
  7. ernieyeball
    Report Abuse
    ernieyeball - September 04, 2012 6:51 pm
    Good for this guy!
    I am not interested in religious organizations stealing my tax money to promote their sectarian beliefs.
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