It’s only a matter of time until every public space in Texas has a O Cristo Redentor. Such is the holding of our SCOTUS case of the day Pleasant Grove City vs. Summum. This case has absolutely nothing to do with criminal law. That being said….
Facts- Pleasant Grove City has a public park. A private group donated a Ten Commandments monument to PGC. PGC displays the monument at the park. (I can only assume idol worship and donkey coveting are major problems in PGC).
Summum is a religious organization that wanted a monument dedicated to the “the Seven Aphorisms of SUMMUM” displayed in the same park. PGC says no way. Summum sues because the city is discriminating against their message.
Holding- The government can choose to display whatever monuments it wants. Monuments in public parks are “government speech” which can’t violate the first amendment.
One problem with this holding is that government at all levels control millions of acres of land (with designs on millions more). SCOTUS has given government the power to discriminate and choose which viewpoints are heard in these public spaces. Hopefully, this ruling is limited to the donation of monuments to public spaces.
I’m not sure why government requires so many monuments to begin with. Our rulers are compensating for something.
The majority opinion is a must read if only to see Justice Alito quote John Lennon. Samuel borrows the lyrics to “Imagine” to support the idea that we can never know what anything means.
From the opinion-
Respondent (Summum) seems to think that a monument can convey only one “message”—which is, presumably, the message intended by the do-nor—and that, if a government entity that accepts a monument for placement on its property does not that message, then the government has not en-gaged in expressive conduct…
What, for example, is “the message” of the Greco-Romanmosaic of the word “Imagine” that was donated to New York City’s Central Park in memory of John Lennon?
Some observers may “imagine” the musical contributions that John Lennon would have made if he had not been killed. Others may think of the lyrics of the Lennon song that obviously in-spired the mosaic and may “imagine” a world without religion, countries, possessions, greed, or hunger
The lyrics are as follows:
“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join usAnd the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…