~Living a life of sophisticated domestication deep in the heart of Texas~

Monday, October 12, 2009

"...and the desert shall rejoice...."

Another article from the desk of SGTex:

I considered it unfortunate enough that government and the people have been unable to arrive at a reasonable solution with regard to that cross on public land in the Mojave desert, and that meanwhile we have this butt-ugly plywood box up there, conveying equal disrespect to all creeds as well as the wildlife.

Then, looking into the matter via Internet, I discovered an intriguing angle on the story that CNN did not mention. In 1999, the National Park Service was approached about erecting a Buddhist shrine in the vicinity, and it was the Park Service’s refusal to permit this that actually precipitated the current round of litigation. Plaintiff Frank Buono, a Catholic who used to be an assistant superintendent at the preserve, personally had no problem with a cross being on government property --- but did object to its being there while symbols of other religions are not allowed.

Take note, please, everybody. This set of plain facts should clear up some several misconceptions. For one thing, y’all conservative Christians can give up blaming the Atheists for everything --- they are not involved in this one. And behold, a case in which the ACLU is on the Christian side (for yes, a Catholic is a Christian), and it’s hardly the first time.

To top it off, the plaintiff is not guilty of wanting anything taken away --- on the contrary, he just wanted to see religious liberty lifted up and enlarged! Get that bit straight, then, before taking sides against Mr. Buono or making him the subject of your fretful little prayer cells.

Once and for all, consider this: The issue is not that somebody was “offended” at
this cross out in the middle of Nowhere, California. To make it look like a given lawsuit is unreasonable, church ladies in your e-mail will complain that all the fuss is over some silly extremist who was “offended” at the mere sight of a cross, the Ten Commandments or Baby Jesus. They hope to dismiss religious equal protection issues as so much zany “political correctness.” They might still be able to reassure each other with that story, but an evolution of justice is leaving them behind.

As a non-Christian, I don’t need the government to protect me against hurt feelings or irritation --- goodness knows that could keep the National Guard busy --- but I will insist that it keep its foundational promise not to let the majority religion commandeer resources and venues for which we all pay taxes.

If the expression “separation of church and state” isn’t in the constitution, the words “no…establishment” certainly are. It is wrong and illegal to have a Christian-only National Day of Prayer on the steps of City Hall, and there is a problem with having a cross and only a cross displayed on government land. The cheap/easy answer would be to remove the thing, but there is another way, disappointing to no one who loves freedom.

If Solomon the Wise and Thomas Jefferson were here today, I know they would recommend we uncover and repaint that cross --- and then promptly enjoin the National Park Service to welcome and encourage the erection of other symbols of faith and philosophy, several and various. They ought to be 5 to 8 feet tall --- the Buddhist Lotus or Dharma Wheel; the venerable Star of David; the Star and Crescent, one supposes, representing Islam; a nice pentagram from the Wiccans, and hey perhaps the American Atheist Atom, out of respect for the belief that religions are all myth and fancy.

I cannot imagine that the war dead would object, nor the long-nosed leopard lizard.


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