SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Twelve-foot-high crosses along state highways honoring deceased Utah troopers are not an illegal public endorsement of religion, a judge has ruled.
Even classic religious symbols may have various meanings and purposes depending on their context, said U.S. District Judge David Sam. The memorial crosses at issue communicate a secular message, a message that a patrolman died or was mortally wounded at a particular location.
Each of the 14 crosses features the Utah Highway Patrol logo, a name and badge number, and a plaque with a biography of the fallen trooper. Public money was not used to make them.
Texas-based American Atheists Inc. sued, arguing the crosses have no place on public land. The group believes an American flag or a tombstone would be more appropriate.
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