In our opinion: Supreme Court ruling on Bladensburg memorial cross shows religious symbols don't have to be a source of division

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  • Traveller Farmington, UT
    June 24, 2019 4:30 p.m.

    You have one scripture in common with all other Atheists - it is that "God does not exist."

    The corollary to is that in order to be an atheist you must believe that any person who professes belief in God that you come across is either deluded, ignorant, or insincere. You must believe that they are wrong about one of their most deeply held beliefs.

    On the face of it it this is not a very tolerant scripture.

    Both of us must believe the other is wrong on this point, because we are on opposing sides of this issue, so there is no point in saying "you're beliefs are intolerant of my beliefs." Of course they are. That is where our disagreement lies. It doesn't mean we can't listen to the other person's beliefs with sincere interest and invite the other to listen to ours.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    June 24, 2019 2:37 p.m.

    Traveller,

    "So let's each make a commitment to do better the next time and continue to politely accept or reject the overtures of a believer or non-believer without taking offense where none was intended."

    Great. I agree.

    Except one problem: the intolerance of religion is built into its doctrine and scriptures.

    Intolerance is not built into my "scriptures" (I don't have any)!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 24, 2019 2:25 p.m.

    @Atheist
    RE: "Because of my care for you, as a person, I am warning you that your foolish superstitious belief is robbing you of life's enjoyment"...
    ---
    Then how do you explain the studies showing people of faith are happier?

    Google "Are religious people happier"...

    Found these:

    "Does Being Religious Make Us Happy? | Psychology Today"
    "Why Religion Makes People Happier - Live Science"
    "Religious people are happier, study finds"
    "Does Spirituality Make You Happy? | Time.com"
    "Religious people happier, healthier? | Pew Research Center"...

    You seem kinda bitter. Is that proof Atheism brings happiness?

    ===

    Multiple studies show faith makes you healthier too.

    Google "Are Religious People Healthier | Psychology Today"...
    ---
    "Some researchers are so confident in the health benefits of religion they argue it should be dispensed as a medicine"...

    ===

    RE: "It's robbing you of your prosperity"...
    ---
    Wealth isn't everything... is it?

    I don't worry about $. Prosperity seems unrelated to religion to me.

    ===

    RE: "Robs you of peace of mind."...
    ---
    How do you explain the studies that show people of faith have more peace of mind?

    Google "Does religion bring peace of mind"...

  • Traveller Farmington, UT
    June 24, 2019 1:48 p.m.

    @The Atheist
    "But if you refuse, you will be shunned, excluded, left on your own, unfriended, marginalized, and treated as a second class citizen.(isn't that they way religion works?)"

    No, it certainly isn't.
    In theory.

    In practice, we are all imperfect in our devotion to what we believe is right, so no doubt you have encountered some people who were intolerant of your non-belief. If you are honest with yourself, I'm certain you will find that you have not always been a model of tolerance, kindness, and politeness either, perhaps on this very forum.

    So let's each make a commitment to do better the next time and continue to politely accept or reject the overtures of a believer or non-believer without taking offense where none was intended. Like with this monument, which obviously wasn't intended to coerce anyone into being a Christian, or even a believer.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    June 24, 2019 1:07 p.m.

    Traveller,

    OK, then. Because of my care for you, as a person, I am warning you that your foolish superstitious belief is robbing you of life's enjoyment, prosperity, and peace of mind. They are filling your head with lies and fiction and taking your money in return. Your intelligence is lessened every day you bow your knee to these religious cults. Please, please turn away from this ignorant nonsense and join the reasonable people. Once you do, you join a group that will watch out for you, help you find work when you are unemployed, support you socially, and let their kids play with, date and marry your kids. But if you refuse, you will be shunned, excluded, left on your own, unfriended, marginalized, and treated as a second class citizen.

    (isn't that they way religion works?)

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 24, 2019 12:01 p.m.

    To me everything that exists in nature is a reminder that God exists, and therefore a "Religious" symbol.

    The stars, the trees and flowers, the animals, the people, the ocean, everything makes me think of God. Should they be banned? Or outlawed?

    I think symbols are OK. And I don't care if people of other faiths have their symbols too. It's not a problem. Even atheists have their symbols. Not a problem.

    I think we should be tolerant. Even if your are an atheist you should be tolerant. Be tolerant of people of faith and their symbols. They are just a good a person as you are, and no better. Prohibiting people from having their symbols (as some atheists do) is wrong IMO.

    Everybody should be allowed to have their symbols, and not have their beliefs or their symbols banned. We need to be a MORE tolerant society, not LESS tolerant.

    Banning things... is a sure sign of "Intolerance".

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2019 10:21 a.m.

    Tempest in a tea pot. This does not make the top ten list of important issues, maybe not even the top 25. Nothing to see here, folks, move on.

  • Traveller Farmington, UT
    June 24, 2019 9:58 a.m.

    @The Atheist
    Yes, non-believer's lives matter. That is precisely why the scriptures contain warnings for them, and precisely why we believers will continue to make attempts to invite you to see how a change in what you believe could lead to better things for you.

    A "Wet Paint" sign is a warning. You are perfectly free to say that the person who put up the sign is demeaning your judgement and marginalizing you by telling you what you should and shouldn't touch, but the truth is that the sign is there for good reasons, and there will be consequences if you ignore it's warning.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 24, 2019 8:08 a.m.

    Even in Europe (where most have abandoned the faith) they keep the symbols. The churches (there are tons of them) the symbols in the cemetery's, the symbols and memorials around the country. It's not offensive to them. Why should it be offensive to us? Or divide us?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 24, 2019 8:04 a.m.

    I've see religious symbols in my neighborhood all the time, especially in cemeteries. None of them offend me, or upset me, or divide the community. I don't see why reporters Assume they would divide us.

    They only divide us if you decide to become offended or divided because you saw a religious symbol.

    I saw lots of religious symbols when living in Japan, most homes have them. None of these religious symbols offended me in the least.

    I really don't get what all the fuss is about.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    June 22, 2019 5:52 a.m.

    unrepentant progressive - "For many of us the Christian cross prominently displayed on public property sends us a message that the majority tolerates (in the negative sense) our presence in the country. It is not just a religious symbol, but a message of supremacy and a threat."

    This is particularly true when the official doctrines of Christianity proclaim such totalitarian oaths as: "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ", and in a scripture called "a voice of warning" (threat) it is declared that the day is coming when those who will not hear and obey LDS Church officials will be "cut off".

    Your scriptures threaten us and demean us, your comments on these articles condemn us and devalue us, your treatment of us in everyday life and professional work marginalizes us, and you seek to grind our faces with your religion and hegemony at every opportunity.

    Non-believers' lives matter!

  • BYURUGGER Fulshear, TX
    June 21, 2019 2:50 p.m.

    Well, if you read the amendment it says that the State cannot establish a State religion and that the State cannot interfere with the way people worship. How does a war memorial establish a State religion OR interfere with someone's religious practice. It was the right decision.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 21, 2019 2:21 p.m.

    @ Freitheit

    I didn't follow this case for the reason noted earlier, so was unaware of the cross supporter's argument. But I learned from scotusblog ("Symposium: Decision does not support new Christian-only monuments," 6/21/19) that the position they took so alarmed some believers that they filed a brief on behalf of the Humanists!

    "The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) was particularly concerned about arguments that would desacralize the pre-eminent symbol of Christianity in order to justify its display on government land. In a brief written by church-state scholar Douglas Laycock and joined by Christian and Jewish organizations, BJC urged the court to reject the radical arguments of the government and its allies. Simply put, 'The cross is not a secular symbol, and neither the Commission nor the Court can make it so.'"

    The author of this piece is General Counsel for BJC. She seems to convince herself that this isn't what the decision did, but I think she's fooling herself. The court turned that cross into a vaguely religious community landmark recognizing fallen soldiers. I don't hear "pre-eminent symbol of Christianity" in that.

  • tahnl Francis, UT
    June 21, 2019 2:18 p.m.

    I can't understand why the christians aren't absolutely outraged. The SCOTUS just said that your holy symbol isn't holy, isn't religious, and doesn't represent you or your religion. Wow, just WOW!

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    June 21, 2019 2:13 p.m.

    originally the land that this cross sits on was privately held.. the cross was put on the land when it was in private hands.. later on the land was transferred to the public and it became a public park... never seemed to be an issue until someone decided it offended them.... in the real world there are things that are actually offensive and infringe on an individual's rights.. this is certainly not one of them.

    let's give the court kudos on not kowtowing to fake outrage...

  • Traveller Farmington, UT
    June 21, 2019 1:48 p.m.

    Justice Thomas had the best concurring opinion, pointing out that:
    1) The 1st Amendment forbids Congress from making a law establishing religion, but this cross was on Maryland public lands, therefore it should be Maryland's laws that deal with it, not Federal laws.
    2) Even if the 1st Amendment applied to the case, a simple monument can't be said to be trying to legally coerce anyone's religious beliefs, and therefore isn't "establishing" anything in the sense the Founders were trying to prohibit with the 1st Amendment. Having some of your state taxes go to maintain a monument is not enough to cry "coercion" and is not an establishment of religion.
    3) The "Lemon" test that has been used before doesn't have a constitutional basis, has been manipulated to give whatever result the supreme court favored any time it has been used, hasn't been helpful in deciding cases in lower courts, and it should therefore be discarded completely.
    It's a much more solid opinion than the majority opinion that the monument is allowed to stay basically because it's been there for a long time and therefore isn't just a religious symbol anymore.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 21, 2019 12:23 p.m.

    It is a religious symbol of Christianity paramount to the Catholic faith and others. The government should sale the property to a private group who want it and approve of it and will pay for its maintenance and the cost to build the road way out and around the monument park.

  • I.M. Fletch Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2019 12:22 p.m.

    Is the beehive sufficiently secular?
    What about the five pointed stars on our national flag?
    What about an evergreen tree?
    What about Pythagoreanism triangles?

    Where is the line?

    Some minimal restrictions on standing would help us balance the establishment clause with history and free speech.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2019 12:19 p.m.

    @Karen R. -

    "But like you I was struck again at how the Court chose to REMOVE meaning from the symbol as part of its reasoning. "

    i am struck by how some people can't

    Technically Santa Claus is a christian symbol, but i would not place it in the same category as a picture of (supposed) Jesus, nor do i feel compelled to attend a specific church when i see him in a department store

    A cross can be a christian symbol - or a grave marker or jewelry fashion statement or a Celtic tattoo, or something. When i see a cross in a cemetery, a field or along a highway, i usually don't think of any specific denomination (because many christian denominations don't inherently use the cross as symbol) - i merely note that somebody is probably buried, or died, or is being honored, there.

    But then, when i see a rainbow i don't always think gay thoughts either (although the politicization of the rainbow is getting me there)

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 21, 2019 10:36 a.m.

    @ Freitheit

    "Interesting that one of the main arguments for keeping the memorial, and doubtless many to come, is that it really isn't a religious symbol at all, but symply a visual commemoration of death."

    I didn't have an issue with this cross. The back story just didn't give me the impression of that heavy-handed, "This IS a Christian nation and we'll plant our stuff wherever we want!"

    But like you I was struck again at how the Court chose to REMOVE meaning from the symbol as part of its reasoning. They did something similar in Town of Greece v. Galloway, when they kind of neutered the "Christian" from Christian prayer. It's like they're saying, "Meh, what does it really mean anyway?" Reminds me of what has happened with the Church of England.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2019 10:35 a.m.

    @unrepentant progressive
    "For many of us the Christian cross prominently displayed on public property sends us a message that the majority tolerates (in the negative sense) our presence in the country. It is not just a religious symbol, but a message of supremacy and a threat."

    Your attempts to silence or suppress any and all religious speech or images in the public sphere sends a message that atheism is the official government religion: how convenient for you.

    To the rest of us; it is a message of supremacy and a threat.

    I have no devotion to conservative politics, however, your projections are the primary reason i do not identify as "progressive"

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 21, 2019 10:21 a.m.

    No Names

    Comparing the public display of a Christian cross on public property and maintaining said symbol with public moneys with burning a Rainbow flag is an engagement in the politics of false comparisons. Ditto to bakers and florists in the public sector who produce a product, not engage in any celebrations. And probably any other social wedge issue you might drag out.

    And you know it, so why throw brickbats?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 21, 2019 9:39 a.m.

    @Thomas Jefferson: "religious symbol downgraded."

    Now whose playing both sides? If we declare this a sacred religious symbol you demand it be removed. If we admit the cross has long since moved beyond a purely religious symbol into a cultural symbol of ultimate sacrfice you mock?

    Here is the irony.

    This cross was never about religious worship. It was about honoring the lives and values of those who died in The Great War. It is similar to Stars of David on Holocaust Memorials. In all memorials, it is natural to remember and include symbols that capture the values in the lives of those who died. Hence, LDS temples or an Angel Moroni common on Mormon headstones.

    But the attack was brought based on horribly misguided animosity toward religion, by those who want to erase all public recognitions of the nation's history, majority culture, and values.

    Some feel oppressed by merely seeing a symbol. "Triggered" I guess. And yet that symbol requires NOTHING of them at all. Most all who are offended by its existence will never see it in person, but feel compelled to impose their values on a small community in Maryland even as they have demanded the right their lives as they see fit.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2019 8:28 a.m.

    Sure, when its YOUR symbol it 'doesnt have to be a source of division' but had they ruled against your position then we would be reading about 'the persecution of xians' till the cows came home.

    Congrats on having your religious symbol downgraded to just a grave marker while you play both sides.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 21, 2019 7:33 a.m.

    Belief is only what you can count on or depend on. Religion is only what you do religiously.
    The thing is, in the end, He is all you have.

  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2019 6:41 a.m.

    Interesting that one of the main arguments for keeping the memorial, and doubtless many to come, is that it really isn't a religious symbol at all, but symply a visual commemoration of death. Like aspirin and Levis, the Christian cross has evolved from signifying something specific to representing a generalized category. In the process it has moved from a joyous proclamation of enduring life to a reminder of its absence.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 21, 2019 6:25 a.m.

    Since the majority of the Country don't or can't put themselves in the shoes of someone different than themselves, I doubt you might get my point.

    For many of us the Christian cross prominently displayed on public property sends us a message that the majority tolerates (in the negative sense) our presence in the country. It is not just a religious symbol, but a message of supremacy and a threat.

    It is all well and good to place symbols of religiosity on your person and your place of worship. However, on publicly owned and maintained property, it becomes a cudgel meant to remind a minority.

  • RedShirtUSouthernNDakotaatHoople Bismarck, ND
    June 20, 2019 5:26 p.m.

    “In our opinion: Supreme Court ruling on Bladensburg memorial cross shows religious symbols don't have to be a source of division”

    Wish the same could be said of many who hold that symbol in such high esteem.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 20, 2019 4:17 p.m.

    "A nation does not have to ignore the religious devotion that motivates so many of its people in order to prevent the establishment of an official church."

    Well stated.

    Further, a nation certainly should not become overtly hostile to religion, religious symbolism or motiviation, nor those of religious faith in order to prevent the establishment of an official church. Indeed, hostility to Christianity and other traditional theistic religions would have the de facto effect of establishing as an official religion, secularism and atheism.

    While the Maryland Cross does not hold the same national significance for the US that Notre Dame does for France, it may well hold a very similar significance for the modest-sized community where it is located. And as we are semi-sovereign States united, we should appreciate and embrace diversity of local cultures. One step to do that would be to much more narrowly define legal "standing" in these kinds of cases. Out of State, radical, anti-thesists should not even be allowed to bring these kinds of suits over local monuments or practices. If a member of the local community is offended, let him/her bring suit.