For those following the case Salazar v. Buono
that was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court this week, you may already know this. For those who don't, this should be interesting...
The case centers around a cross that was put up in 1934 in the Mojave National Preserve as a war memorial by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It has been replaced several times and Easter services have been held there for about 70 years.
From a story on slate.com
But in 1999, the National Park Service denied a Buddhist's request to erect a shrine near the cross then declared its intention to take the cross down. Congress responded by enacting legislation in 2000 that prohibited government money from being used to remove the cross and by designating the cross in 2002 as the "White Cross World War I Memorial."
At one point, the government gave a small peice of land with the cross to the VFW, although it's surrounded by the federal park. Well, the people started suing and now the U.S. Supreme Court is to decide the fate of the cross.
One of the interesting things that is getting a lot of attention is a series of questions from Justice Scalia. He seems to think that the cross is not really
a relgious symbol at all, at least not a christian one. "It's erected as a war memorial. I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead," Scalia said. "What would you have them erect?...Some conglomerate of a cross, a Star of David, and you know, a Muslim half moon and star?"
Peter Eliasberg, the ACLU lawyer, asks if it would be more appropriate if "a statue of a soldier which would honor all of the people who fought for America in World War I and not just the Christians" were used instead.
Again, from Slate:
"The cross doesn't honor non-Christians who fought in the war?" Scalia asks, stunned.
"A cross is the predominant symbol of Christianity, and it signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind for our sins," replies Eliasberg, whose father and grandfather are both Jewish war veterans.
"It's erected as a war memorial!" replies Scalia. "I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead. The cross is the most common symbol of … of … of the resting place of the dead."
Okay. I think Christians have to be having mixed feelings over this kind of 'logic.' Do they want their most cherished symbol--the cross--to be a non-specific "honor" for all fallen soldiers? It might actually be the start of removing the symbol as a unique indentifier of christianity. If they insist that the cross is a christian symbol and no dual meaning should be offered or supported, then Scalia's 'help' might not be so readily accepted.
What to do? What to do?