SBLichtman at ship.edu
Thu Apr 22 13:49:35 PDT 2010
I don't mean to focus on semantics here, but Eugene's earlier comment is revealing:
"Rather, [Scalia's] assertion is that people who see a cross memorial for war veterans would understand is a memorial to all war veterans -- which uses the dominant gravesite symbol of the country -- rather than as a memorial to Christian veterans."
What is getting blurred here is that in this case, NOBODY can possibly "see" a cross memorial for war veterans.
The only thing that you can "see" is a cross. It stands unadorned, on a hill, viewable from a long distance away. It is only when you get close enough to it to actually read the plaque that you realize that what you are seeing is "not" a religious symbol, but a marker to the fallen.
There is not a single rational person walking this earth who, upon seeing this monument for the first time, from the distance that it is visible, would think, "Oh look, a monument to the dead of World War I." Anyone seeing it for the first time would think, "Oh look, Christianity."
I would gently suggest that there is a indeed blind spot here. The notion that a dominant symbol that is religious in nature can be secularly acceptable precisely because it is a dominant symbol ... that notion is blind to the very point of the religion clauses, which is that majoritarianism does not apply to faith. To defend religious displays based on majoritariam triumphalism destroys the entire rationale for the religion clauses, and demeans faith in the process.
Dr. Steven Lichtman
Assistant Professor and Pre-Law Advisor
Department of Political Science - 413 Grove Hall
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
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