The United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that game playing with transfers of small plots of land allow the federal government to endorse specific religions. Readers are likely familiar with the ongoing case of the war memorial cross in the Mojave desert. The federal government attempted to transfer the land just surrounding the cross to a private veterans group to prevent any issues with the establishment clause. The court decided not just that this game playing was acceptable but that it probably wasn't even necessary. Justice Kennedy wrote:
A Latin cross is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs. Here, a Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.Because of course, the fact that fallen soldiers of other religions are buried with other symbols is of course besides the point. And the fact that the commonality of the cross is solely because the US is a majority Christian nation is besides the point. And the fact that some (small) Christian groups are actually uncomfortable with the cross as a religious symbol is also besides the point.
But not to worry, since while the US Supreme Court is busy whittling away at basic separation and church and state, the British are busy destroying the rights of people to say things which offend religion. Apparently leaving anti-religious tracts around in the wrong places in England can get you convicted. After leaving anti-religious tracts in an airport prayer room, Harold Taylor received a six-month suspended sentence and is now not allowed to carry anti-religious leaflets in public. As far as I can tell, the tracts left by Taylor were deeply unfunny cartoons that wouldn't have convinced anyone of anything. Taylor probably needs a few lessons in how to be funny and not just annoying(Jennifer McCreight could likely teach him a thing or two). But that shouldn't be a criminal offense either. At least Taylor's situation would still be unambiguously unacceptable in the United States.
These events highlight how important it is that Obama's next Supreme Court nominee be a strong supporter of free speech. Unfortunately, his previous nominee, Sotomayor, has a mixed record on such issues. Let's hope the next one is better.