roadside crucifix with flowers

A federal appeals court has ruled that crosses set up alongside public roads in Utah to honor fallen state troopers are unconstitutional. The Utah Highway Patrol Association began erecting the privately-owned crosses over a decade ago, each with the trooper's name, badge number and the state seal. Despite not being owned by the state itself, the crosses reside on public land where drivers have no choice but to see them. That, combined with the state insignia was enough for the court to decide that the crosses had to go.

Texas-based American Atheists originally sued to have the nonprofit program discontinued and won, though the crosses were allowed to remain standing as the case went through the appeals process. Meanwhile, the UHPA argued that its message wasn't necessarily a religious one. The court sided with the American Atheists, saying that the size of the crosses and their location didn't gel with the government's need to remain neutral on religion.

[Source: CNN | Image: Pay No Mind CC 2.0]