An atheist friend of mine posted this on Facebook saying that she didn't agree with the FFRF trying to get this cross taken down. As a veteran and an atheist, I tend to agree for a couple reasons. First, I see it as simply a memorial to a fallen soldier and no more no less. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, this cross has been there for years and years. Why waste taxpayers dollars on the legal fight... I don't see it hurting anything.. Thoughts?

 

http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/atheists-want-viet...

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And here I thought you'd once again accuse me of hijacking the thread --

I'm of two minds about it.

On one hand, this thing was put up back in 1972. I'm sure the city considers it a landmark. Also, I personally am not offended at the idea of a cross as a grave marker. It's just historical anachronism.

On the other side though, it's a matter of principle. If we make exceptions in one place, what other places would be making exceptions? What happens when these exceptions become the norm? Even though I can understand how a cross can be viewed simply as a grave marker, wouldn't there be a better icon for a memorial site for a veteran? I'd go with this:

It's instantly recognizable as a veteran's memorial and has the added benefit of scrubbing the subliminal Christian influence and replacing it with something more personal. I hope the people at the FFRF aren't just telling the city to take it down, but also giving them something better to replace it with (the article doesn't say either way).

I am totally against religious symbols being promoted on public property.  However, a cross on a grave in a church cemetery is not offensive.

I do think that there are more important things to focus on.

 However, a cross on a grave in a church cemetery is not offensive.

It's not on public property.

The more interesting question is whether a cross on a grave in a government cemetery (like say Arlington) would be an issue.

The military funeral and gravesite is a privelege/benefit extended towards military veterans, and in all so many cases the least we can do.

I'd personally be inclined to allow a cross provided it's expressly requested beforehand by the deceased, and non-Xians get their choice as well (and if I recall correctly the military has a wide variety to choose from, though nothing I would personally pick, a lot of the "atheism" ones looked trite to me).

Automatically putting a cross on some guy's grave by default would be completely unacceptable.  That sort of casual presumption that "oh of course everyone, except maybe a few perverts, is a Christian" is precisely what we are fighting against in the culture.

I doubt it would be provided the family chooses it or consents. Those crosses distinctly acknowledge a personal identification with religion, and I doubt a court would view it as a government endorsement. Perhaps it is an issue on a technicality, but I highly doubt that the spirit of the law intends to address individual soldiers' graves.

Perfect! You certainly deserve the title, Sagacious!

Thanks, Arch!

Hey - credit where credit is due --

BTW, I'll be stealing the photo - (shrugs) - it's what I do --

Eh, I just found it in a Google image search. So go ahead!

I have always held mixed views in these instances.

It was a mistake to put it up in the first place, and it violates a valid principle, but how much harm does it cause it practice?

I guess that depends on the surrounding culture. If it was a memorial in my city I probably wouldn't give it a second thought. The dead don't care, and the bulk of the survivors are likely Christian or indifferent (though I could be wrong). More importantly, it is uncommon for people here to treat the crucifix as dog's piss marking territory. No one points to it and shouts "See! Christian nation!". Coos Bay may not have that kind of problem either, but I can see reasons why atheists in some parts would refuse to budge an inch on separation of Church and State issues. Give 'em an inch; they'll take a nation.

Hiram Sasser, director of litigation with the Liberty Institute, told Fox News that activist groups like FFRF are waging a culture war.

“This is an outrageous assault on the veterans who served in Vietnam,” he said. “Why must these activist groups’ culture war spill over onto the veterans and their memorials?  All they ever did was serve our country and provide the very freedom these activist groups claim as their own.”

I know it is probably difficult for Sasser to see, but a move like this is ultimately about everyone's freedom as individuals. That is to say that no individual will have the government step on their beliefs and values just to push a majority belief system.

An atheist friend of mine posted this on Facebook saying that she didn't agree with the FFRF trying to get this cross taken down. As a veteran and an atheist, I tend to agree for a couple reasons. First, I see it as simply a memorial to a fallen soldier and no more no less. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, this cross has been there for years and years. Why waste taxpayers dollars on the legal fight... I don't see it hurting anything.. Thoughts?

The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that there are no "de minimis violations of the Constitution"; no constitutional harms so slight that the courts are obliged to ignore them. And it is without question a violation of the Constitution for a local government to erect a religious monument on public land, whether to honor a fallen soldier or for any other purpose. That applies even if 100% of the local population wants it there.

The monument violates the very Constitution this fallen soldier sacrificed his life to defend. Indeed, everyone who serves in the US military swears the same oath. To be sworn into military service means you swear to support and defend the Constitution, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same. As such, the monument stains the honor of all those who take the oath and mean it (theists most of all, since they are swearing it before their God). 

And of course the legal battle is a waste of taxpayer dollars. But those dollars were wasted by the people who violated the Constitution in the first place, not by the people who are seeking proper redress through the courts.

Officer's Oath of Office:
"I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.*"

Enlisted Services Oath:
"I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.*"

*Note that in both oaths the last four words are optional, as is true of all oaths administered by the United States government; Article Six of the Constitution requires that there be no religious test as a condition of holding any public office.

At least we got this

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