The New York Times weighs in on the case of the Mojave Cross (Salazar v. Buono, 08-472), which the Supreme Court currently is considering. First constructed in 1934 as a World War I memorial, the cross is located within the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California. In 2001, Frank Buono, a former employee of the National Park Service, filed suit claiming that the cross violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. He won both in district court (2002) and appellate court (2004). Yet on Wednesday, Justice Antonin Scalia ridiculed the idea that “the only war dead that that cross honors are the Christian war dead. I think that’s an outrageous conclusion.” The New York Times disagrees:

Religious symbolism of this kind on government land is, by its very nature, exclusionary. Allowing only a cross to stand over the memorial sends a message to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and others that their sacrifices, and their family members’ sacrifices, are not appreciated or mourned.

It also sends a message that state and church are intertwined. A single cross does not, by itself, mean America has an established religion, but if the Supreme Court stops caring that the government is promoting a particular religion, we will be down the path toward having one.

Read the entire editorial here.