Saturday, May 06, 2006

Denying The Cross

A cross being removed from a city park may not seem like a big deal, but it is the principle of the thing. In San Diego, a cross was erected high on a hill in a city park in memory of the Korean War veterans in 1954. The town has been battling a suit by atheist, Philip Paulson since 1991, and now a judge has finally ordered the cross to be removed within 90 days, or the city is to pay a $5,000 fine for every day it defies the court order.

I have never seen so much buckling under to one person, denying the rights of others, in this country, as there is now. Madelyn O'Hara kept on until she succeeded in getting prayer removed in the schools. She met an untimely death. Atheist Michael Newdow filed a suit to take out the phrase 'In God' out of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Next he attacks our money. He wants 'In God We Trust' stripped from our money.

If our forefathers could be around now to see what was happening in America, I think the would bow their heads and weep. It is sad that so many things we have come to understand as part of our culture are now being stripped from us, all because one or two people seem to think it is wrong to have them displayed anywhere. In other words, freedom is not freedom anymore. I respect these people's right to object to these things. But, I also disagree that they should be taken away just to appease these people. Do the other citizens of the United States not have a say in our like and dislikes? I understand that 1) moving a cross, 2) removing 'in God' from the Pledge of Allegiance, or 3) removing 'In God We Trust' from our money will in no way undermine my belief in God. Nor, will it take God out of our nation. He is an all-seeing God; He knows everything; He is omniscient. He is everywhere; He is omnipresent.

If the truth was told, these people would love to see all things pertaining to God, including the Bible removed from this nation. So far, they haven't asked that the Bibles provided by the Gideons, which happen to be in most public buildings (hospitals, doctors' offices, etc), be removed. But, I am sure it is coming! And, if it were in their power, they would try to limit our 'thoughts' about our God and Savior. In that, they will never succeed.

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WomanHonorThyself said...

Youre right Barb..they wont rest until they purge all religion ..Judeo-Christian that is..but allow all the Muzzzzzlim symbols..Lord help us!

Barbara said...

You are so right; LORD help us!

But, you know, the pastor's sermon this morning was on "All things are possible to him that believes." So many scriptures in the Bible tell us to put our trust in God, to be obedient to His Word, to study the Word. And, we need to BELIEVE the WORD as we study. We can't be double-minded. So, if Christians could get out of their complacency state (we are saved, going to heaven,if we are persecuted, killed), and stick up for what is right (openly), then perhaps we could stop all this from happening. But, I for one, think God knew this was coming, and it's just part of prophecy. But, we still need to fight for that which is right.

Mark I. Vuletic said...

Dear Barbara,

I appreciate your perspective, and I mean you no harm, but I also disagree with the way you are casting this issue. If San Diego city officials decided to remove the Mt. Soledad cross simply because Mr. Paulson complained, then you might rightly complain that they are "buckling under" to one man. But that is not what happened. Mr. Paulson has acted through the court system, which requires both parties to present a case, and then decides on the basis of law, not on popular opinion. That Mr. Paulson has been successful means that something is legally amiss in the exact circumstances surrounding the Mt. Soledad cross.

One of the things that makes our country so great is the way our forefathers constructed our basic laws precisely to balance against the vagaries of majority rule, so that our basic rights would not change with every shift of public opinion. So I would like you to understand that the Mt. Soledad cross is not being removed to appease anyone, but out of respect for the fundamental principles upon which our country was founded, principles which above all were designed to protect the few from the tyranny (well-intentioned, most of it) of the many.

Also, I would like to say that I do not see objection to the Mt. Soledad cross as an assault against your religion. It is not that we want to deny you your religion; we just do not want it forced upon us. If you have difficulty understanding this perspective, imagine how you would feel if Muslims or atheists became the majority in your community, and tried to put a huge Islamic crescent, or a gigantic sign proclaiming "There is no God," up on Mt. Soledad. Surely, you would think they were infringing upon your rights. And if they argued that not being allowed to do so was an infringement upon their rights, surely you would think their reasoning poor, even though they occupied the majority. In thinking so, not only would you would be absolutely right, but the Constitution would agree with you. As for you, so for us.

I say all of this in a spirit of peace, and hope for mutual understanding.

see-through faith said...

ouch. I read the comment above and it all sounds SO reasonable until you realise that to stip any country where the majority are Christians - and have been for a long time - of any references to their religion esp in honouring their dead is a scary scary place to be.

I'm not sure though why American's have in God we trust on their money. It seems incongruous at least to this European

Barbara said...

See-through faith, Christianity is being attacked all over the world, not just in the US. People are trying to remove them from the earth. They might remove the people, but not GOD out of the people - the thought I was trying to project in my article.

If you want to read more about the money having "In God We Trust" on it, go here:

The reason I said 'one man', it truly was one man, not a group, just as it was with Madelyn O'Hara. Our country was founded on Christian principles,a belief on God, not on a non-existing one. People fled England in order to have freedom OF religion, not FROM religion.

Check out the Mayflower history of those people.

It is All About Jesus said...

Sooo sad > This is all the more reason why Christians need to let their voice be heard. There is too many passive Christians. We have sat back and let the voice of the few be the voice that is heard.We were told to FIGHT the good fight of faith. The Bible tells us to put on armot,. We need armor to go to battle. Too many Christians like getting their hell insurance and don't want to fight the fight and stand up for what is right.

Mark I. Vuletic said...

Hi see-through faith,

I definitely agree with you that to prevent Christians from honoring their dead with religious symbols would be wrong. If anyone suggested that a cross placed over the grave of an individual Christian should be removed, I would oppose them. But that is not what any separationist wants (at least, none that I know). The thing that makes the Mt. Soledad cross different in my mind is that it in effect places one religious symbol over all of the dead, as though the only people who gave their lives for freedom and democracy in Korea were Christians. Had I been killed in Iraq, I would have been honored to have my remains interred next to a Christian brother with a cross over his grave; but for someone to erect a cross over my own grave, or to imply otherwise that it was only Christians who died, would be the equivalent of spitting upon my corpse. Even if I were a Christian, I would be appalled to see the symbol of my religion used as a war memorial, as though to deny the memory of those who believed differently than I, yet sacrificed all.

Again, we do not begrudge anyone the right to practice their religion. We do object to those who would foist their religion upon everyone else, simply because they have the numbers. In this, the Consitution agrees with us.

* * * * *

Hi Barbara,

I do realize that Philip Paulson is an individual man, though many people stand behind him. The point I was contesting was your apparent belief that since he is one man, there automatically is something wrong if the courts side with him over the wishes of the majority. As I pointed out, Paulson acted through the law, and the law recognizes the rightness of his case, because they are founded on something that trumps the rule of numbers. That Paulson is a single man makes no difference; in fact, he brings to mind other lone figures who have been cursed and reviled by the masses for doing the right thing.

As far as freedom of religion goes, I think, if you look deeper than the Mayflower history, you will find that the founders enjoyed quite a bit of religious diversity in their time. To be sure, the intent of the founders was not to ban religion from American life (and that is not the intent of separationists today); however, they recognized that if government were permitted to favor any one religion, one of the many Christian sects that then existed would be sure to attain state power and oppress the rest, creating in America the same kind of oppression for which they left England, just with new masters substituted for the old.

This is why the establishment clause was included in the first place: to protect freedom of religion, indeed, but to do so by limiting the power any religion could have, regardless of its popularity. The founders, with amazing foresight, recognized that this general principle extended even beyond Christian religion in general; not for nothing does the Consitution fail to contain the words "God" or "Christianity." The Constitution rests upon principles that transcend Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam, or atheism: principles that consist of nothing more than respect for the rights of all, regardless of number of power. This is why you will find people of all religions, and people of none, fighting united in its defense.

My very best to you.

Adam Lee said...

Hello Barbara,

I have a comment on this part of your post:

"In San Diego, a cross was erected high on a hill in a city park in memory of the Korean War veterans in 1954."

This statement implies that the cross was originally erected in memory of veterans. That is incorrect. The Mount Soledad cross was originally erected in 1913, long before the Korean War, and at the time, no plaque, marker or ceremony ever indicated that it was intended to honor veterans. In fact, no one even suggested that that was its purpose until several years after a lawsuit was filed on First Amendment grounds. Interestingly, one of the congressmen who led the charge to have the cross designated a national veterans' monument was Duke Cunningham, currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for taking bribes.

Barbara said...

Adam, I read the following:

"The 29-foot-high cross was dedicated as a memorial to Korean War veterans in 1954 on a hilltop that towers over seaside La Jolla."

I didn't realize that the cross wasn't put up in 1954 - only dedicated to the veterans. My mistake.

Speaking of Cunningham, anyone can make a mistake, even those that stand up for veterans. :)

Ivan said...

I'm neither a Christian nor atheist; I have a relationship with the heavenly Father, God. I remember a part from a song from a group called Dynamic Twins (back in the early '90s)"You think there's no heaven or hell, well you better hope not because if there is my brother, you’re going straight there." Atheists, what do "we" (relationship with the heavenly Father) have to loose. Mr. Vuletic mentioned atheists are more moral then christians in regards to loving their children? Can you not have morals and a relationship with the heavenly Father? And another thing, I believe this to be so true, it's said there would be more "christians" (those with a relationship with the heavenly Father) if it were not for christians. What is the second christian referring too? Define? Just food for thought.

Barbara said...

Ivan, you are right in asking 'what do we have to lose?' I had rather be wrong here on earth for believing there is a heaven and I am going there, because of my relationship with the Father, than to leave this earth not knowing, and find I was wrong. I'd rather be HOT for Jesus here on earth, than to be HOT for satan in hell. We have eternity with God to lose!

Mark I. Vuletic said...

Hi Ivan,

I just want to make a clarification: to my knowledge, there is only one place where I have ever said anything that could be misunderstood as expressing the belief that atheists love their children more than Christians; however, that article has a postscript which states explicitly that I have no such belief. All I was doing was performing a reductio against a Christian who told me directly to my face that atheists have no reason to love their children. In actuality, as I think the postscript makes clear, I am satisfied that no group has a monopoly on love. If, somehow, the postscript doesn't make that clear, I hope this post does.

As far as betting on God goes, it makes some measure of sense if your god and atheism are the only two options. But think about what things look like to an outsider like me: I am faced with hundreds of different religions, and sects within religions, each claiming to be the exclusive path to salvation, and each threatening me with Hell if I do not choose their path. What's worse, for all I know, they could all be mistaken; maybe God, in his infinite mysteriousness, his ways not being our ways, would choose to damn to Hell everyone except nonbelievers. This creates a situation in which it is not possible to make an intelligent bet at all. The only thing that makes any sense, even if all you care about is avoiding eternal damnation, is to try to figure out, on the basis of evidence, which view true.

Take care.

Adam Lee said...

Hello Barbara,

"I didn't realize that the cross wasn't put up in 1954 - only dedicated to the veterans. My mistake."

That's alright. I should make a correction myself, though - the original cross was erected on the site in 1913, and blown down by a storm some time later. It was replaced in 1954, and that is the cross that stands there today. My point remains, however, that no one suggested that the purpose of the cross was as a veterans' memorial until after a church-state lawsuit was filed.

"Speaking of Cunningham, anyone can make a mistake, even those that stand up for veterans."

True enough. My point was that there are many politicians who cynically appeal to Christian piety to acquire votes, while at the same time carrying on grossly immoral activities in secret. Unfortunately, watching the news one gets the impression that there are many conservatives who will vote for anyone who declares himself a Christian, regardless of whether his behavior is consistent with that standard.

Ivan said...

Hi Mark Vuletic,

You mentioned all the different religions out there and how they say if you don't follow their path you will go to hell, have you tried to have a relationship with the heavenly father? I did not believe I would be back on here, but I was drawn to it. Mark, you should read the Bible - I mean really read it. The Bible is like the oldest book on the face of the earth. Scripts have been found and analyzed to be found authentic and match with books of the bible today. The Bible also has not changed. Books from cults like the book of the Mormons have changed since their existence. Have you noticed how similar the book of Mormons and Jehovah witnesses are to the Bible?

Barbara said...

You are right. So many people hear the word 'Christian', and think, oh, he's serving God; he must be a wonderful man/woman. So, let's vote for him, when it is not always true. We have a case in point right here in AL where the 'Christian' has not stood up to his 'platform' he ran on before getting into office. In fact, it's been right opposite. You never know what a person is truly 'made up of', until he gets in a public office.

Mark I. Vuletic said...

Hi Ivan,

See, now you are claiming that there is better evidence for Christianity than for other religions, evidence that is to be found in the Bible, so you are not actually asking me to make a wager. You are asking me to do exactly what I am doing, which is to try to figure out on the basis of evidence what is true and what is false.

As for reading the Bible, I have indeed read and studied it. I would not feel comfortable saying anything about Christianity had I not read it. I just don't find the same evidence you do in it.


P.S. If we are arguing strictly from longevity, large parts of the Hindu Vedas are considerably older than the earliest manuscripts from the Old Testament, not to mention that the core of the Torah naturally predates anything in the New Testament.

P.P.S. The Jehovah's Witnesses use the same Bible you do: they just interpret it differently. The Mormons use the Old and New Testaments, too, but add to them the Book of Mormon. But if inheritance is grounds for rejecting a religion, then Christianity as a whole must be rejected, since the Bible incorporates so much of the Torah.