Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Veterans Memorial covered by plywood box
From the Wall Street Journal:
The Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, a seven-foot metal cross, was erected in 1934 by World War I veterans to honor their fallen brethren. In 2001, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued to have the memorial taken down. The reason? The ACLU claims that the mere presence of the cross within the 1.6 million acre national preserve runs afoul of the Constitution, because it is effectively a religious symbol.
Judge Robert J. Timlin of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California agreed with that claim, and ordered that the cross be covered up while the case was on appeal. So now a memorial dedicated to those who fought tyranny and oppression is hidden from view by a plywood box.
This case is part of a disturbing pattern. Like lawsuits seeking to stop the Pledge of Allegiance from being recited each morning in our public schools or to remove "In God We Trust" from our currency, the ACLU's argument in Salazar v. Buono is based on a misconception of the Constitution—that the government must be hostile to religion.
Far more is at stake than a single memorial. If the Supreme Court allows this cross to be destroyed, it could presage the destruction of thousands of similar memorials nationwide, inflicting sorrow on millions of Americans, especially veterans and their families.
The theory being advanced by the ACLU is that no religious symbol can be allowed on public land. That is a radical notion that is contrary to the text of the Constitution, to the original understanding of the Framers, and to how the Supreme Court has long interpreted the First Amendment's prohibition on the establishment of a religion.