It seems that anytime a public display of religion occurs, there’s someone somewhere who finds a way to sue over it. Take, for instance, southern Illinois. About fifty years ago, a group of farmers got together to raise money to put a cross on southern Illinois’ highest point. The action was faith-based as they wanted to cross to cause self-reflection and incite a need for Jesus. As time has gone on, the cross has become much more of a tourist attraction due to its immense size (bringing in money for the state) rather than something that causes conversions.
Since the law of entropy is still in effect (and doesn’t seem to be relenting its hold on the material world anytime soon), in the last fifty years, the cross has slowly decayed. Since it does bring in revenue for the state (due to tourism), the state decided to give $20,000 to the estimated $500,000 needed for renewal. This has caused an atheist in Illinois to sue the state to get the money back, citing separation of church and state.
Now the lawsuit is, in a lot of ways, absurd. For one, let us assume in a possible world that the Greek parthenon was located in the United States. Let’s say that the Native Americans worshipped ancient gods in this parthenon. Furthermore, let us also assume that we still had the first amendment. As time went on, the parthenon began to decay. Even if some people in the US viewed the Parthenon as religious, would the US be wrong to give money to the parthenon to have it restored? The answer is no. They’re not supporting a religion by doing so, instead they’re helping to solidify what would be a tourist attraction and a historical landmark.