November 20, 2008 2:18 PM

Commentary: Offbeat religion give test to First Amendment

When is a monument a cultural display — and when a religious statement? When is a city free to accept a gift with a distinct message — and when can it say, "Thanks, but no thanks"? The text of the First Amendment might start with "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . or abridging the freedom of speech." But those words sound a lot clearer than the law turns out to be in practice.

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