Atheists attempts are removing any mention of religion from public view is destroying history and art. (This post will be offensive to some).
There is a cross on a WWI memorial in Maryland that may have to come down. A few atheists are offended because people in that town wanted to honor their fallen soldiers back in 1925. I am offended more because they want to destroy history. The memorial is a cross, so it is religious, no question, but do we really want to destroy history and art over that?
The case is likely headed to the Supreme Court and it is a bit complicated. It was on private land when erected, and the land was taken over for a highway in 1960. (Here is more information).
Many historical works of art are in danger because a few atheists are offended by any mention of religion, and they have lawyers. There was a cross — another WWI memorial — in a remote area of the Mojave Desert that went through years of legal battles. The land was moved from private to public, so maybe it is solved. More here .
There are thousands of these around the country, and a lot of them are WWI memorials. Most do contain religious imagery. They are a part of history. I don’t really even see them as religious in nature because clearly the point of them is to honor people who have died in war. Yet we may lose this part of our history because a small minority hates religion.
(If you don’t believe they hate religion, look up the National Federation for freedom from religion, and read the bigotry, intolerance and hatred for yourself.)
To me this is not about religion. It bothers me that a small minority can say they are offended and history and art has to be destroyed because of the religious imagery. This is tyranny of the minority. Whether atheists like it or not, the vast majority wants these kinds of images, and the vast majority of Americans have been religious over the centuries. More importantly it should be obvious that these memorials are not promoting religion. They are promoting the idea of honoring those that have died in our wars. Context and intent matters.
I am offended because they are trying to erase history itself. Many of these markers are on the Register of Historic Place or sites.
I was not in favor of taking down Confederate statues either if they were old. Even reminders of our dark past should be preserved. On the Confederate statues, I would rather us put up memorials to the underground railroad and to black people who have made history than take the other ones down. This really is not the same issue but it is very similar in regard to preserving history.
The Supreme Court has been inconsistent in its ruling about public displays of religion. Through my research I learned that on the same day they allowed a 10-Commandments display in Texas and not in Kentucky. It was a few weeks apart, but in the Pittsburgh area, one display was allowed and one was not and they were just a few blocks apart.
The reason the high court is inconsistent is that it is a very complicated issue.
It is clear though, that groups like the National Freedom from Religion group wants to have all displays of religion on public property removed.
They say they feel like they are being excluded, or second class citizens, when there are religious displays. Some are not religious in nature, and are clearly not religious monuments but contain religious imagery. The war memorial with a religious image means they are not being remembered because they were not religious.
That sounds almost too ridiculous to be true, but that is their argument. To me it sounds like the ranting of a spoiled five year old. That it is taken seriously offends me.
Any memorial is for all people whether it mentions them or not. The memorials do not mention races of people, but nearly all depictions from that time are of white people. Does that mean minorities who fought are not represented? Almost all are males. Does that mean females are not represented? None of my ancestors were in WWI. Does that mean they are excluded?
This is the reason many religious people feel religion is under attack. Atheists may feel “left out” because some artist painted a cross 100 years ago. How are Christians supposed to feel when any religion-related image that happens to be on government land has to be taken down? Do we not have a right to be offended by that? Why are atheists being offended more important than religious people being offended.? Where does it say in the constitution that you have a right to not be offended?
If having religious imagery on a statue makes atheists feel like second class citizens, does not having them removed because of religion make religious people second class citizens?
The crux of the matter is the “Establishment Clause” of the constitution. The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion. Obviously what the writers of the constitution had in mind was that the government would not have a state religion like they did in Europe.
Atheists have taken this to mean that government cannot say anything positive about religion in general. To them, any mention of religion is establishing religion. To a religious person this seems like an attack.
The ACLU (who I have some respect for) says you may have these images on private property and they are visible to the public. They say it does not matter if anyone is offended because it is on private property. The ACLU takes a more reasonable approach and they have defended religious groups at times.
Still, what assurance do we have that atheists will stop if they are able to remove imagery from public history? How do we know they will not go after religious imagery on churches that are in public view? What guarantee do we have? None.
“Separation of church and state” is not mentioned in the constitution. The “wall of separation” is not mentioned either. Most people have been religious over the centuries. There is going to be some overlap, even if unintentional. These atheists are not really concerned about rights. They are trying to force their will on others even as they accuse religion of doing so.
I am offended by atheist groups. It is tyranny of the minority. Because a few people are offended, should the majority have to give up its rights? Because a few people are offended, should we have to erase our history? Where is the justice in this?
To me this is not about religion. It is about preserving history and art.
Are we as a culture going to allow a small group of intolerant people to dictate what can be represented in public? Are we going to allow them to remove our history and destroy historic works of art?
A mere mention of religion is not promoting a specific religion, which is what the writers of the constitution were talking about. Preserving history and art is more important than the sensitivities of a small intolerant minority.
I would be interested in your comments as always.
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