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Supreme Court Won’t Hear Atheist’s Appeal

(CN) - The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from an atheist who challenged the use of state money to renovate a large cross in Southern Illinois.

The Supreme Court turned back Robert Sherman's request without comment.

Sherman claimed that a $20,000 state grant awarded in 2008 to the 111-foot-high Bald Knob Cross of Peace near Alto Pass violated the separation of church and state. He sued in 2010, claiming that the award "has the primary effect of advancing a particular religious sect, namely Christianity."

Lower courts ruled that Sherman lacked standing to sue.

Sherman, a Chicago radio personality who calls himself one of the nation's top two atheists, sued the state in a previous case in 2007. He got an injunction against an Illinois law requiring a moment of silence in public schools, claiming it amounted to prayer.

A federal judge lifted the injunction in 2011, finding that it did not specify prayer in its language.

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