Utah religious group Summum sues to display monument

After losing its case in federal court, a Utah religious group is now asking a state court judge to allow a monument in a Pleasant Grove city park.

The Associated Press says

Summum, a Gnostic Christianity-based sect, wants to erect its own display near an existing Ten Commandments monument. […]

In 2010, a federal judge dismissed a similar case from the group. The U.S. Supreme Court also previously ruled against the sect.

Summum — which was founded in 1975 and is headquartered in a pyramid-shaped temple — encourages some Egyptian practices, such as mummification.

The group insists that Pleasant Grove should provide it with equal space in a park that has a Ten Commandments monument. Summum wants to put up a marker listing its Seven Aphorisms.

When the Supreme Court in February 2009 turned down Summum’s demand for its religious monument, the court wrote:

A public park, over the years, can provide a soapbox for a very large number of orators—often, for all who want to speak—but it is hard to imagine how a public park could be opened up for the installation of permanent monuments by every person or group wishing to engage in that form of expression.

In June, 2010,

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled that Pleasant Grove has displayed the Ten Commandments monument “for reasons of history, not religion.” And there is no evidence city officials were aware of Summum’s religious beliefs and, therefore, were not favoring one religion over another when they refused its request to put up its Seven Aphorisms monument, he said.

The judge also dismissed a Utah constitutional claim without prejudice, meaning the suit could be refiled in state court — which is was Summum has now done.

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This post was last updated: Monday, November 7, 2011 at 11:57 PM, Central European Time (CET)