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The Constitution and the Cross

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groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-07-09 11:02 AM
Original message
The Constitution and the Cross
When the Supreme Court takes up a religion case, it often prompts overheated charges: There is a war against Christianity under way; or civil liberties groups are trying to turn this into a secular nation. The court is scheduled to hear arguments on Wednesday in a case that raises none of these issues even though Americans may well be treated to another round of scare stories.

The narrow question is whether a large cross that has been placed on federal land violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment, the founders direction that there must be a wall of separation between church and state. The court should rule that it does.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars erected a cross in 1934 in San Bernardino County, Calif. in what is now the Mojave National Preserve to honor Americas war dead. Since then, the cross has been replaced several times, most recently around 1998. Its religious significance is clear, but the National Park Service has not allowed other religions to add symbols. In 1999, the park service denied a request by an individual to place a Buddhist memorial in the area. The cross has also been the site of Easter sunrise services for more than 70 years.

Frank Buono, a former assistant superintendent of the preserve who said that he still visits regularly, sued to challenge the displays constitutionality.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/07/opinion/07wed1.html?t...
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-07-09 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. It's very clearly a violation of the Separation of Church and State
end of discussion.
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Xenotime Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-24-09 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. and a violation of the Constitution.
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Hollywood Trucker Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-31-09 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. Theres no such thing
Although I disagree with not letting other religious symbols to be displayed, I have to argue whether it's a violation of the separation of church and state considering there is no such thing. The separation of church and state clause (and I'm assuming your refering to the 1st amendment) actually states....Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... Which only means that Congress cannot pass a LAW in regards to religion or the discrimination of any religion. As you can see it doesn't say anything what so ever about separating the two. Everyone should have equal right to display their religious symbols. And for those that say there shouldn't be any religious symbols because it might offend someone are now infringing on my rights.
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rusty_rebar Donating Member (118 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-11-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. If we could only shorten the 1st amendment we would be better off...
Instead of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

We should have "Congress shall make no law."

Think of how much better off we would be.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-04-10 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. In essence you are right,
but in practical application, it just doesn't work. If you allow one religious display, you have to allow ALL of them, and since no one can tell me :thats not a religion" (since that would be infringing on my right to free exercise thereof...) every single government facility would be COVERED by religious displays, rendering them unusable.
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monmouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-07-09 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. An an insult to Jews and other non-christians buried there. n/t
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NoNothing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-21-09 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. That would be nobody
It's not a cemetery, just a monument.
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rd_kent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 02:26 PM
Response to Original message
3. Its an insult to anyone not a xtian.
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MagnaChucka Donating Member (23 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-16-09 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. It's historical...
I know that the cross is a christian symbol, and I totally disagree with other religions not being allowed to place memorials in the area, however as a historian, I cannot feel comfortable about the idea of removing a historic monument, even if it has been replaced a few times.
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rd_kent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-10-09 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. But it is NOT an historical monument, thats the point.
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marginlized Donating Member (219 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-02-10 12:01 AM
Response to Original message
9. It's a war memorial.
The current cross was placed there in 1999. Not very historic. And 1934 isnt much more so.

Religious or political groups dont have a right to place any message they want on Federal property either. And the me too religious displays one always sees during the holidays look silly.

Take down the cross and put up the war memorial that should be there.
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VoteForCantwell Donating Member (4 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-02-10 03:32 PM
Response to Original message
10. Conflicted
Edited on Sat Jan-02-10 03:33 PM by VoteForCantwell
When we discuss separation, we need to understand a few things.

The word "Separation" never appears in the Constitution, but it is implied by the establishment clause and by some writings of the Founders. The Bill of Rights served only as a limitation on the Federal Government, until the 14th Amendment, at which point it was extended to the states.

I believe in an absolute separation of church and state, but when veterans erect a memorial, and others restore it from time to time, I think it wrong for us to desecrate that memorial.

My two cents.
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scheuvrontk Donating Member (7 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-05-10 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. what separation?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

People often forget about the "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" part. Separation is not implied, what is clearly written is that the State has no authority over the matter.
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Metternich1815 Donating Member (3 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-05-10 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Agree
The freedom of religious choice is protected by the US
Constitution like any other civil liberty, I don't see that
the Cross a symbol of our Western Civilization can bother so
much to so many extremists that want the Cross and
Christianity abolish. In any US Dollar you have "In God
we trust", should be replaced by in The Godess of Reason
(French Revolution) we trust????. You are going to far in your
struggle against Faith.
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cheapdate Donating Member (197 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #10
19. I agree. n/t
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Jmaxfie1 Donating Member (707 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-19-11 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #10
23. The problem is not the cross, but not allowing other faiths.
I have no problem with the cross being at the memorial the only thing I can say I have a problem with is if they are not allowing the faiths of other war dead and veterans to be represented. I think constitutionally you must either let all faiths (and I mean those actually followed by one or more of the veterans. I think there is a difference between some judge putting a monument to the 10 Commandments on the courthouse lawn (the 10 Commandments are a law code, they are not the law of the United States, it would be like putting making a statue of the Constitution of Canada and placing it front of Congress). I don't see the monument itself running into the establishment clause, only the refusal to allow other faiths, this I do think is unconstitutional. As long as the monument is paid for and maintained by an outside group and all faiths are represented I don't see a problem with it.
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pgarrison Donating Member (17 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 07:24 AM
Response to Original message
13. Religion must be left out
It's in the Constitution. No debate there.
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Caliman73 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-08-10 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. It is not in the Constitution that religion be "left out".
The Constitution says that Congress can't make any laws establishing religion as a political entity. It can't make laws favoring one religion over another, or institutionalizing religion as a state sponsored activity. Congress also cannot make any laws that prohibit the practice of religion without applying "strict scrutiny".

The denial of the Buddhist symbol paired with the allowing of the Christian symbol constitutes a policy that favors one religious tradition over another. Best practice would dictate that none of the symbols be allowed as it avoids the conflict. However, it is nowhere in the Constitution that religion must not be mentioned at all.
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Axle_techie Donating Member (378 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
17. The funny thing is
that Atheism is basically a religion with it's own radical zealot following, and the Atheists are the main group who want crosses, nativities, etc. removed in favor of their beliefs of what is good and right.
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LAGC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-03-11 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #17
22. Ah yes, those damn fundamentalist atheists.
Trying to impose their will on the rest of the nation.

I guess Thomas Jefferson qualifies. After all, he was the staunchest advocate of separation of church and state.

***Newsflash!***: America is NOT a Christian nation!
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knownothing Donating Member (63 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 10:25 PM
Response to Original message
18. Cross can stay if...
other religious symbols, such as the Star of David, the Pentagram, and symbols from whatever religion (including Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, if applicable) are allowed. If not, then it fails the test by favoring Christianity over other religions and should be removed.
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Jmaxfie1 Donating Member (707 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-19-11 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. agreed
I agree
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lightfighter11b Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-17-10 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
20. LOL
I'M in the military. 9 years Infantry, 1 year Cavscout. We have dining in ceremonies. During the ceremonies people are inducted into the order of Saint Maurice for the Infantry and the order of St. George for the Cavalry. St. Maurice was the leader of an all Cristian Legion and St. George was also a Christian leader. Other jobs in the Army also have a saint attached to them. All to my knowledge are Christians and most where beheaded because of their faith. These honors are some of the highest honors we can receive. I don't think the Army is going to be changing this anytime. But thought you might like to hear it from a soldier.

As a soldier and Veteran of a Foreign War I think you know where I stand on the topic of this thread.

Have a good day.
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mikekj Donating Member (25 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
21. Actually,
The preserve was not established until October 31, 1994 with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act by the US Congress.

The monument was erected in about 1934, for WWI soldiers. It was there before the park and therefore should be preserved as a historic memorial.
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