August 29, 2006 at 5:57 PM #7374
I move this topic here at powayseller’s request.
It’s better to keep the threats on topic.
"We don’t have to assume itSubmitted by DrChaos on August 29, 2006 – 2:29pm."We don’t have to assume it is the one true faith to demand that
the cross stay where it is. This country was founded on
Judeo-Christian beliefs and they are a part of our history."
No, and yes.
"This monument is a historical treasure." A bit of an
"These same people would have us remove all references to
Christianity out of the Constuitution."
That’s a good thing, because there aren’t any, and there were
The text of the Constitution is here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/index.html
There are exactly two places in the Constitution which
One: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a
Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United
Two: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
It is plainly obvious how the adopters of the Constitution in
1791 considered the suitable interaction between the government
and religion: keep away.
"I’m sure we’ve all heard that we should choose our battles
carefully. Well, when it comes to the ACLU why is it that their
lawsuits always seem to target those things that most American
hold dear? Like Christmas, Christian historic monuments, the Boy
Scouts etc and other fringe issues."
The ACLU also upholds what many people hold dear: The Bill of
Rights. You only hear about a certain fraction of the ACLU
I personally think the Mt Soledad cross is not an important
But if it were an entirely secular monument as some
proponents purport, why are there no atheists who really want to
keep it? Suppose, for instance, the cross were turned into a
white rectangle? Clearly secular and still a veterans memorial.
I bet that would make people mad. Why?Submitted by barnaby33 on August 29, 2006 – 2:48pm.Because a rectangle is clearly not representative of the one true
Its not a war memorial, its a cross, and its on public
land. Nobody I know of wants to remove the memorial portion. I too
have not that much interest in its removal, except for the
vociferous objections of those that want to keep it, namely
The sooner the defenders of the cross own up to their true
motives, the sooner we can have a more civil discussion of the place
of religious symbols in public life.
Mostly I veer away from the more inflamatory subjects ie
immigration politics. Not this time. I wonder why? At the base of my
soul I really don’t care whether a cross sits on Soledad. I do care
that those wanting to defend it have been so disingenuous about it.
JoshSubmitted by jg on August 29, 2006 – 4:25pm.It’s in a third place, too, Dr. Chaos; see "Signers" under your link:
"Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the
seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven
hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of
America the twelfth."
I’m just a graduate of government (public)
schools, but I think that means that there was some deference to
Christianity by the signers of the U.S. Constitution, or, at at the very
least, no aversion to its presence in the public life of the newly-found
country.August 29, 2006 at 7:41 PM #33907JESParticipant
At the time of the writting of the constitution was the calendar in widespread use by non-Christians? There is a wealth of other evidence that this country was created on Christian principles and that there was no intention to abolish Christianity from public life.
There’s not even a very convincing seperation of church and state argument to be made. The phrase “separation of church and state” does not even appear in the Constitution, but rather is derived from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a group identifying themselves as the Danbury Baptists.
We can argue that all day long, but what is really disturbing are groups who want to go back and revise history, eliminate references to Christianity and tear down everything from city crosses to city seals. Let’s open our arms widely to other religions who were not present at our founding, but let’s not destroy our own traditions and history in the process.
Addl evidence from our founding:
-The English colonists in 1607 did, in fact, plant the Cross of Jesus Christ in the sand. Quote: “The nine and twentieth day we set up a cross at Chesupioc Bay, and named the place Cape Henry.”
-Englishmen who founded Jamestown were organized under the Virginia Charter, which called for the “propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God.”
-The U.S. Constitution is the product of a constitution-making tradition that can be traced to colonial charters and which is modeled on the biblical covenant—a solemn agreement between God and man.
-George Washington, who served as president of the Constitutional Convention, ordered that that every delegate have a copy of Connecticut’s Constitution. He did so “because it was so powerfully done, so rooted in Holy Scripture, in the Word of God, such an effective document, that he wanted that to be a reference work for the federal Constitution work they were about to get into.”
-The First Continental Congress, 1774. Their first official act was a call to prayer at 9:00am. Ever since the First Continental Congress each session of Congress is still started with an opening prayer.August 29, 2006 at 9:37 PM #33912AnonymousGuest
Great citations, JES. I’m glad that I’m on your side!August 29, 2006 at 9:50 PM #33915ybcParticipant
JES and JG: would you have problems with religious symbols from other religions being displayed in public places?August 29, 2006 at 10:33 PM #33922
The US Constitution is based on biblical covenants? The Bible had nothing to do with the Constitution. And there was never any agreement between man and god.
The constitution was influenced by classical antiquity, the English form of government, the writings for French philosophers, the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights.
The nation was founded by Christians but that doesn’t give the Christian religion any place in government.
Interpretation of the Constitution is ever evolving. I won’t argue this any further here and I’ll let the courts interpret the law of the land. In the end, I’m confident that the Soledad cross will be removed.August 29, 2006 at 10:55 PM #33924barnaby33Participant
Thanks for moving this off the RE board where we, myself included, started it.
JoshAugust 29, 2006 at 11:18 PM #33928contramanParticipant
We have people downtown who live on the streets and don't have food to eat, we have a city council that takes our future away from us by not handling pension funds properly, we have people who are in need of housing assistance in San Diego and we spend tons of tax dollars arguing over the removal of a stone cross. I mean the guy who brought the lawsuit needs to think about the bigger picture here.
I don't see or hear of people that became a CHRISTIAN because they drove up to Soledad and saw a cross signifying sacrifice.
We need to address the real issues here. I wonder if the guy that wants to take it down has spent as much time and effort helping people in need of real help…
Who cares….keep it up or take it down…it is what lies in a person's heart my friends…it's what lies beneath….
Sincerely, ContramanAugust 29, 2006 at 11:39 PM #33931sdrebearParticipant
I just wish people would take a seriously honest look at the motivations behind their actions.
Exactly why are the Christians asking the government to specifically and exclusively endorse their religion above all others?
Why are the atheists trying to remove references to even the most Deist version of “God” from everything?
I’ve done plenty of research on our founders and while quite religious, they understood (from some very fresh experiences we thankfully don’t have the misfortune of knowing in our lifetime) that a secular government was both proper and absolutely key to protecting the very religion they love so deeply. No, they never wished to completely remove reference to “God” or religion in general from all public arenas, but they absolutely meant to set limits on its use by the government in order to prevent the probable theocracy that would entail.
The founders certainly did not want Christians to take their reference to “God” as their own and use it as some sort of national mandate to push Christianity onto everyone else with public funds and manpower. I think Washington and John Adams (not to mention the entire Senate) were pretty clear about that with the Treaty of Tripoli where they specifically spelled out that this country [United States of America] was not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. Treaty of Peace and Friendship “Treaty of Tripoli”
This Treaty did not “establish” America as being a non-Christian country, but certainly showed the true mind-set of our founders. We can assume they were of the same mind when drafting the constitution. Despite being Christian, they did not want the government “founded” on that, or any other religion.
I certainly can’t speak any better on it than Mr. Jon Meacham, currently a managing editor for Newsweek. He has quite the background in religion to be sure and it would be just as important to read where he’s been as it is to read his thoughts on religion in our country today.
It would be helpful to open our minds a bit (from both sides of the issue) and understand better where we came from and how our founders have kept extremism in check (again, from both sides) for all these years.
Here is a summary of his latest book: American Gospel. There are three pages, and I hope you’ll read them all. Quite a clear explanation for both sides I feel.
Here is a quick Bio on Jon Meacham. I think it will help in believing he has the background to understand both sides of this issue better than most of us.
My frustration is mostly when people make arguments for their “side” without even a basic understanding of the real issues at hand. In the case of the Mt. Soledad Cross, when you state that you want that cross to stand on government land, then you are literally telling the government that you want them to help control your religion. As I’ve said, be careful what you wish for.
Forget for a second that it is an atheist leading the action against the cross’ location (I’m not saying he has the best intentions). Think only of the issue. The cross is on government land. When you take the emotion out of it and just look at the facts of the case, it’s actually a pretty easy call. That’s why the atheist won over 40 times in a row in court. He didn’t even have a lawyer the first few times, or the ACLU for that matter (he didn’t really need them).August 30, 2006 at 12:17 AM #33934theplayersParticipant
Contraman, in response to your statement “…the guy who brought the lawsuit needs to think about the bigger picture here…”
He IS thinking about the bigger picture…August 30, 2006 at 7:30 AM #33945PDParticipant
I would have a problem if government funds and land were going to be used to put up a cross today. But folks, it was already there and had become a landmark. That said, there should be no government money going to upkeep. If it became unstable or unsafe do to the fact it was not being maintained, then tear it down at that point. Or if the land was needed for a government building, tear it down. But we ended up spending tons of money over the whole thing because a few people did not like it. There are much better fights for civil liberties than this one.August 30, 2006 at 7:45 AM #33946barnaby33Participant
PD, if that were so, wouldn’t the defenders of the cross quietly said, yeah you know, you’re right and taken it down 17 years ago? Obviously both groups feel its important. Religion in America seems to be both very important, and very public. Symbols are important to everyone. Which symbols are important to a person helps define their identity. This symbol in particular is of massive importance to a certain group in society. Any attempt to remove a symbol translates into a personal attack on that persons belief set.
That still doesn’t make the symbol appropriate.
Contraman, I appreciate your perspective. What you have said is true, there are alot more important fiscal issues we have to deal with and still. Somehow we keep coming back to the issue of religion and public life and it stirs such passion. I don’t know what the answer is, but I doubt it will be a compromise anyone will like.
JoshAugust 30, 2006 at 8:35 AM #33955PDParticipant
The cross was already a landmark. I really do not see any harm in letting it stand until or unless it becomes unsafe or the land is needed for some other public use.
I was very upset when the Taliban blew up the two colossal statues of Buddha in Bamiyan Province. It was a spectacular piece of religious intolerance. This cross issue is not really about of the separation of church and state, in my mind. Rather, it is really one of religious intolerance in the guise of civil liberties.
Like I said before, I would have a problem with a new religious oriented structure on government land but IT WAS ALREADY THERE. It is a landmark. There is a minority of people who do not like it and are forcing their views on the masses. I would like to see the people vote on it. Perhaps the land can be leased or sold to a private group, thereby removing the government from the equation.August 30, 2006 at 8:49 AM #33956JESParticipant
“Great citations, JES. I’m glad that I’m on your side!”
-Semper Fi! I did 6 years as a Marine officer to answer your earlier question brother!
“Would you have problems with religious symbols from other religions being displayed in public?
-No, I don’t have an issue with other religious symbols being displayed in public. If Muslims, Jews or atheists want to organize a parade in December organize it and find a way to make it happen. Just don’t take away my Christmas parade because you are offended by my religion and wrongly believe that separation of church and state applies right down to the city level as it was never intended to.
“The Bible had nothing to do with the Constitution”
-There are very good arguments against this we have presented, and if we look beyond the constitution to other historical documents, events and monuments the case is solid that Christianity was deeply rooted in our founding. Why is it that congress has opened with a prayer for 230+ years?
“We have people downtown who live on the streets and don’t have food…we spend tons of tax dollars arguing over the removal of a stone cross…the guy who brought the lawsuit needs to think about the bigger picture…”
-Christian groups fighting the cross removal do more to help the needy than the city could ever hope to do. 2000+ years ago the issue was the erection of a cross and the outcome changed the world forever. Do you honesty think that the money spent by the city to defend the cross would have gone to the homeless anyway?
“Exactly why are the Christians asking the government to specifically and exclusively endorse their religion above all others?”
-We are not. I’m simply saying that this cross is an important part of San Diego history and should be preserved.
SDREBear – Thanks for the links, I plan to look them over today!August 30, 2006 at 11:18 AM #33985
sdrebear, thanks for the links. I learned about the Treaty of Tripoli years ago and it’s all coming back to me now.
Yes, be carefully for what we wish for. The expedient solution today could easily become the tool for oppression tomorrow.August 30, 2006 at 11:39 AM #33988ybcParticipant
sdrebear, well said.
The one article/speech that I like the most regarding the connection between religion and politics is this:
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