SALT LAKE CITY (CN) – A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Summum, a religious sect seeking to erect a permanent display of its core beliefs in a public park in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
The lawsuit accused Pleasant Grove of violating the Constitution’s establishment clause by allowing a display of the Ten Commandments, but rejecting one showing the Seven Aphorisms of Summum (psychokinesis, correspondence, vibration, opposition, rhythm, gender, and cause and effect) in Pioneer Park.
Summum’s case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned a 10th Circuit ruling requiring the city to erect a monument of Summum’s tenets. The justices found that park monuments are a form of government speech, and that government entities have the right to speak for themselves and to select the views they wish to express.
After losing the free-speech claim, Summum asked for a preliminary injunction on its establishment clause claim under the Utah Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said this claim also fails, because the group lacks historical standing in the community.
“Pleasant Grove officials have testified in depositions that, at the time they made their decision to reject Summum’s request, they were completely ignorant of Summum’s religious tenets, teachings, beliefs or practices,” Kimball wrote.
“Moreover, there is no evidence that anyone in Pleasant Grove government had any idea what Summum’s religious beliefs were, and thus it cannot be said that the Pleasant Grove government demonstrated a preference for one religion over another,” he added.
Summum is a religious organization founded in 1975 and headquartered in Salt Lake City. The sect believes Moses originally received the aphorisms from God on Mt. Sinai, but he thought the Israelites weren’t ready for them, so he destroyed the tablets and returned with the Ten Commandments.
Kimball dismissed the complaint without prejudice, meaning Summum could sue in state court.