I have to confess I do not understand what the fuss is about religious symbols on municipal property. First we had the Cranston school prayer, and now the cross on town land in front of a fire station. Over a thousand people rallied to demand that it stay. I just don’t get it.
Is it such a big deal? The law about such things is pretty settled. No matter how many people want the cross to stay, when it goes to court, it will almost definitely be ordered removed. There has been case after case. There is little doubt. And it is really not a big deal to me.
But having said that, I was watching Lively Experiment today on PBS, and listening to the moderator say she couldn’t see why anyone would have a problem with a cross displayed on town land. I have to take exception.
I fully understand why someone would be offended when it appears that a town, any town, is taking a position of one religion over any other. In a public middle school I had a teacher who thought that it was his mission to convert me to Christianity. He told me every afternoon I left school that he was praying for me to find Jesus (Now that offended me.)
But while I am only mildly offended by the cross, (and I am much more offended by the menorah on the town lawn at Hanukah) there are many things in the world that offend me much more!
There is much more for me to worry about. IE: Budgets, taxes, poverty, DCYF, welfare abusers, etc. Why should I care about a cross on a monument?
It offends me more that politicians in Woonsocket will stir up all kinds of anger to support keeping it. They are willing to fight a court case (which the city will lose) to divert attention from such gross mismanagement that the city of Woonsocket either had to file bankruptcy or charge a 13+% supplement tax on everyone in the city! And then they want to fight and have the city pay a no-win lawsuit? That is nuts!
Now that offends me! You know what else? The comments on TV that the group in Wisconsin made a mistake going after the cross because it meant taking on the
veterans! Well I have a lot of respect for our veterans of all denominations, but whether it is the veterans, or the teachers, or widows, or pretzel salesmen, the cross needs to be right or wrong on its own merits, not because one special group supports it.
The veterans do not get their own constitution. The veterans fought for our constitution. What is good for us, is good for them, and that includes following a judges’ ruling.
But the most offensive thing I saw or read was Bob Kerr’s column in the Providence Journal last week. He was indignant the person (or persons) did release their names to complain. He all but demanded they come forward. I am a big fan of people coming forward. I have called people out for refusing to do so. And if it were me I would probably come forward.
But really Mr. Kerr, can you blame these people for not coming forward? Look at what happened to Jessica Alquist in Cranston. She was bullied and tormented by “so-called” Christian zealots! There were death threats, police protection, there no flower shop in the state willing to deliver her flowers. These angry religious God-loving people made her life a living hell.
Is this the message of Christianity that the prayer on the wall intended? Not from what I have read. Mr. Kerr, what do you think would happen to these people if they came forward about the cross? Would their lives be safe? Over 1,000 people came out to defend the cross, and the next day only 400 showed at a rally to stop bullying. What do you think would happen if someone got hold of their names and put it on the internet?
Like I said it is not a big deal to me. I have plenty of windmills to tilt at without this one. But maybe when the founders put in the separation of church state, after seeing centuries of religious wars in Europe, they understood how religion, anyone’s religion, can make good people do things they would not do otherwise.
And maybe it would be better to keep it out of the public square.