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War Memorial a Cross??

Why does the Mojave desert cross have so much reverence attached to it since it is supposed to be a memorial for WW1 veterans. How does a cross somehow represent this idea with a singular religious iconography? Didn’t Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics etc. serve in the same war? Also, in protection of a separation of church and state? Doesn’t it seem to be very insensitive of all so-called Christian soldiers that would ignore the respect of other dogmas to elevate their own under the guise of memorializing the fallen in a tragic war?

Veterans groups representing four million former service members and women have come out voicing their concerns over the ACLU’s relentless attempts to tear down the Mojave Desert memorial cross. I guess they all think they are Christian and need a voice.

Shackelford and veterans present at Thursday’s press briefing made it clear that the Mojave Desert memorial was not erected as a religious symbol or with the intent of conveying a religious message. It, along with thousands of other war memorials, was simply put up to honor those who had spilled their blood and given their lives for their country. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20090522/veterans-appeal-to-americans-to-protect-mojave-desert-cross/index.html
How can a cross not are erected as a religious symbol. This is a perversion and travesty mocking the very people he states they were honoring.

I say the cross must go to preserve the very essence this cross-meant to convey, albeit in a misplaced manner.


23 comments to War Memorial a Cross??

  • Jim Weber

    Chill my brother – In a Christian dominated Nation, this is not the battle we want to fight. Picture Rand Paul coming out in favor of removing the cross. Would that help his effort? I agree with you on this topic but we do not have to jam a stick in the eye of the VAST MAJORITY of voters. Pick your battles. …… JimW

  • lptbruce

    wasn’t it a private donation?

  • DarrenA

    Bruce,

    It may have been a private donation, it was placed in the Mojave National Preserve, a Federal park.

    respectfully,

  • Darren,

    Would you like to knock down the Washington Memorial as well? What about the Lincoln Memorial?

    If you answer yes then you are being consistent in your thinking, if you answer no then you are picking and choosing your principles. Why would you knock down or remove a historical monument? You cannot say just because it has a cross on it.

    It has been there for decades. Not until recently, when all of a sudden, you have these atheists up in arms over the monument. They say it is not a separation of church and state. To all of that I say, poppy cock. It has been there since its inception, there was never a problem with it before therefore there shouldn’t be a problem with it now.

    Show me what the physical problems of its location and I might reconsider the idea. The proposal that it should be dismantled or moved simply because someone gets an ideological hair up his arse is obscene to say the least. If I took that for what it was I guess we should go get rid of ALL the crosses on every single grave site in every single government cemetery. Good luck with that. I will watch as the families of the fallen loved ones to everything they can to stop you.

  • DarrenA

    JimK,

    Thank you for your response. What religious overtones, or undertones for that matter, do they display? Neither one of them display any kind of religious iconography on the buildings.

    The Mojave Desert cross is simply that, a cross, supposedly representing fallen war veterans. This is a direct establishment of a Christian theocracy with regards to the religious nature of our veterans.

    Also, the fact that something has been done for ages does not give it a pass if it is incorrect. Various States of our Union have carried over English Common Laws and incorporated them into various State laws, such as sodomy laws etc., but that doesn’t mean they are out of the realm of attack simply because no one decided it was important enough at the time. Or left them on the books for years.

    An ideological hair up one ARSE is the very reason arguments are made and brought to discussion instead of the unwashed masses accepting things the way there are. Maybe people were afraid up until this point. What about the laws about burning the flag, which were on the books in States for hundreds of years. This argument hadn’t been made prior for at least 275 years until some got the preverbal hair. Marriage laws have been the same way for hundreds of years, yet there is a whole round of arguments about the Constitutionality of these laws with regards to our view of marriage. Would you dismiss these claims as the same Ideological hair you reference?

    I think it obscene that someone would dismiss the argument simply because “that’s the way it has been” for a long time. Shame shame!!

    respectfully,

  • Darren,

    You did not read what I wrote and understand what you read.

    1. I did not say I would dismiss it.
    2. I did say if you gave me some proof it was hurting something other then your damn feelings I would consider it
    3. all your examples in your response are based on REAL things not some ideology

    Laws changed because they are PROVED to be wrong and a fix is known to be better.
    People do things for ages until they learn better and it is proven there is something more efficient.

    You want to argue about the statute from an ideological point of view – prove to me god does not exist. Prove to me someone is being physically harmed by it being there. Prove to me there is irreparable damage to property somewhere as a direct result of such a monument and again I say to you I would reconsider it.

    There is no infringement on someone’s rights for this monument to be there. Prove otherwise.

    I am as atheistic as you are, maybe more so since I am unwilling to concede lptBruce’s argument. Your argument does not hold any water here. At least not yet, so pull that hair out, find some real basis for your argument other your on feelings and let’s discuss it.

  • DarrenA

    JimK,

    Your response is noted and yes I did read your post, did you read me response closely?

    You state above “You cannot say just because it has a cross on it.” That is precisely what I am saying. If it was anything OTHER than an obvious religious symbol, I would concede your point, but the very fact that it IS a religious symbol makes the argument Germaine. It is NOT a monument, it is NOT historic, and it does NOT represent any war. Only someone’s word is used to identify with a war. Can a large cross be anything other than a Christian symbol? Justice John Paul Stevens said: “The cross is not a universal symbol of sacrifice. It is the symbol of one particular sacrifice, and that sacrifice carries deeply significant meaning for those who adhere to the christian faith.”The fact that someone did not call objection to this symbol for over 75 years gives it a pass as an historic relic. Weak premise at best. In addition, the original cross has been replaced at least 3 times in the last 75 years. It would make a better argument if they were at least talking about the original cross-built 75 years ago, most recently in 1998.

    Did you read my comments regarding your comparison of the Washington Monument, or Lincolns Memorial? There is nothing religious about these structures so the comparison is moot.

    You state above “Prove to me someone is being physically harmed by it being there. Prove to me there is irreparable damage to property somewhere as a direct result of such a monument and again I say to you I would reconsider it.” These are not the only criteria for a challenge of any law. The burden of proof does not rest with me that someone was hurt, or it is causing irreparable damage to property.

    The irony that someone would put their life on the line during a war, to uphold a constitutional principle that is designed to separate church and state, then memorialize them with a direct symbol of Christianity is , well how shall I say, perverse at best.

    There is nothing at all designating this as a war memorial. Someone walking along in the federal Mojave desert preserve would simple see a large freaking cross with no inscription, or memorial placard to identify the reason for this cross being where it is placed. Could their assumption be anything other than a Christian representation?

    I would love you to make the case that anyone, and I mean anyone, looking at this symbol would extract anything but a religious idea.

    respectfully,

  • Darren,

    What makes it germane? What is your real argument? I used the case of all the different religions in the judges article and you gaffed at it….now you are using it here. Sounds a little flip-flopish if you ask me.

    If you want to argue that they are forcing their religion on you then I argue you are forcing your non-religion on them. How is it any different?

    From an idealistic point of view, anything you can come up with for your side of the argument I can come up with an equal but opposite one for their side. How does that solve the problem?

    I am NOT giving it a pass. You are NOT making your case.

    You state: “the burden of proof does not lie with you” to which I state, yes it does. You are making the charge therefore the burden of proof DOES lie with you. If you walked into a court of law YES you would have to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt in order to win – so yes – the burden of proof is upon you. If you cannot prove anything then why bother making the charge. If it aint broke don’t fix it. Prove that it is broke and I will take the charge with you to try and fix it.

    I don’t care if it is a war memorial or not. You stated it as a memorial and I took the challenge that you recognized it as such. Changing your side of the argument in the middle is a little flip flopish if you ask me.

    I don’t need to make a case that it is anything other then a religious symbol. I don’t care if it’s a religious symbol or not. I don’t care if every single person person looking at it finds it a religious symbol. The fact is, it is already in place. There is no rational reason proposed to take it down yet so why should it be dismantled? We went through a whole bunch of arguing over rational or irrational. Now you are being irrational.

    Give me a rational reason to remove it and I will change my view to your side. So far you have not done so. All you have done is make an ideological case – and – as stated before, I can come up with a similar argument of equal but opposite strength for the other side. Give me something different besides ideology.

    You wrote the post, you bought up the issue. I am only looking at what you wrote and evaluating it. In my other comments I have been consistent with you in saying that your premise must be valid in every case in which it applies. The same holds true here. You say atheist are rational, so as an atheist who bought up the issue you can give me a rational reason to have it removed. I am asking you to provide that rational issue. Thus far you have been avoiding doing so. Why?

  • Jim Weber

    The United States has a very rich and substantial Judeo-Christian heritage. The nation’s Founding Fathers believed the Bible to be the Word of God, and it shows…. Almost EVERY federal building has a reference to God somewhere on it or within it. When I said to JimK that this is not a battle we should fight it was simply because it is, and will continue to be in our lifetime, a losing effort. This is not to say that the Federal government should have a role in religion. It should not. But that is entirely different from stretching the intent of separation of church and state. That Jefferson reference applied ONLY to the Federal government, the States were free to establish their “official religion” and many States still have their choice in law TODAY.

    These are some of the inscriptions found within the Jefferson Memorial:
    “Almighty God hath created the mind free…All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens…are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion…No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.”

    “God who gave us life gave us liberty.[ This is where our rights come from according to TJ. ed.] Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan.”

    On the East face of the Washington Memorial is this inscription:
    “Laus Deo” (Latin) – Praise be to God.

    Almost 200 carved plaques, donated by the states, hang in the stairway. Many of them display scripture verses from the Bible and quotes such as, “Search the Scriptures” and “Holiness to the Lord.

    Just walk into the Rotunda (of the U.S. Capitol) there are four paintings hanging on the wall. In those four paintings, you have two prayer meetings, a Bible study, and a baptism. That’s just while walking into the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. There are too many others to list here.

    At the U.S. Supreme Court Building, The Ten Commandments are located in several different places including on the carved stone frieze on the front of the building. The statue shows Moses leaning his arm on The Ten Commandments. The commandments are also on the wall above the judge’s courtroom bench.

    The ACLU and other groups may try to remove God from the public square, like the cross in question, but what they can’t remove is the undeniable fact that the U.S. was born on the principles of Almighty God and the pictures and inscriptions are there to prove it. You may believe it all to be mythical, but it takes more Faith to not believe than to believe.

    So what do we do – tear them all down? Do you see why the Cross in the desert will stand, or be replaced and rebuilt as often as it takes?

    In Liberty, … JimW

  • DarrenA

    Gentlemen,

    Your comments are appreciated, but it appears that you may not have read my latest posting if you are asking “What makes it germane? What is your real argument?”. I made it abundantly clear in my latest posted comments above. I even quote Justice Stevens in a clear repudiation with regards to using a cross as something other the Christian symbol that it is, which you apparently skipped over.

    Frankly, I am making this claim now as I was not even aware of a large cross in the middle of a federal preserve. My clear intent is to attack the placement of this cross as a violation of the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment. I have made my point clearly and precisely. The fact that you dismiss the postings point with an intellectually neutered comment such as “I don’t care if it is a war memorial or not.” Doesn’t dismiss my argument, but for the sake of clarity I will list below and give support.

    Claim:
    1) The Mojave Cross is a violation of the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment
    2) It has no meaning other than to thrust a Christian ideology under the guise of war veterans memorial
    3) Congress erred when they tried to transfer the land to a private interest to circumvent the intent of the “Establishment Clause”

    By having a singular Christian cross as a supposed representation of a war memorial is a bold naked attempt to establish a Christian viewpoint with regards to war veterans. Even the Supreme Court (in earlier rulings) acknowledged this to wit: “Additionally, the Court has allowed the inclusion of religious symbols in public displays so long as those symbols are part of a larger work that serves a secular purpose (Lynch v. Donnelly, 1991).” There is no larger work here, there is no tangential connection to the cross displayed and the war it supposedly memorialized. To state otherwise is being dishonest, and evasive.

    Now, the ultimate proof of my point; would this cross be allowed to stand, in the middle of the Mojave Federal Preserve, if it was simply placed there by Christians with no attachment to a war memorial, but to elevate the Christian idea on public land? Would it?

    Before you answer this question I will respond to Jim Weber’s fallacious connection to Moses and the 10 Commandments with regards to supporting a Christian nation: “Moses and the 10 Commandments are not prominently featured in the Supreme Court building. Rather, most of the artistic embellishment in the building involves symbolic and allegorical representations of such legal themes as justice, authority, fairness and the like. Most of these representations involve human figures representing the civilizations of Greece and Rome (the building itself was designed to invoke the feeling of the classical Greek temple). If quantity is the measure of importance, the architecture of the Supreme Court favors the classical over the Mosaic tradition of law. Moreover, where Moses and the 10 Commandments are depicted, they are never given positions of exclusive prominence, as we would expect if the intention of the architecture was to establish a connection between the Bible and American law.” http://candst.tripod.com/tnppage/arg8.htm

    What I find truly ironic, in Jims use of all the biblical or spiritual messages built into these buildings early in our history, is the fact that he is using these exact examples as justification for moving us towards a “Christian” idea of government. They certainly have an historical context, but the more we allow symbols to grow and proliferate is the exact argument they will use to nudge us towards this precipice all the while showing us the same myriad examples of this iconography. (See, look at all the imagery, it must mean that we are meant to be a Christian government). Seems a tad self fulfilling.

    Respectfully,

  • Jim Weber

    DarrenA

    Oh this is rich: You quoted “Moreover, where Moses and the 10 Commandments are depicted, they are never given positions of exclusive prominence, as we would expect if the intention of the architecture was to establish a connection between the Bible and American law.”

    So Size matters – - lol – Okay. (But they are still there)

    And no retraction of your earlier “falacious” statement that the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial have on overtones? You wrote in a reply to JimK: “What religious overtones, or undertones for that matter, do they display? Neither one of them display any kind of religious iconography on the buildings.” I gave you the facts on both and more, or is a cross different from the printed word “Prise be to God” – the icon is offensive but the words are not??? I simply posted to correct the record.

    But you make a good point: The Federal Government has a right, indeed an obligation, to restrict the freedom of religion. Screw the constitution. We have a freedom of religion, even yours, NOT a freedom from religion, even yours.

    But Wait! The government owns nothing, by a definition of their own making. They say “We”, the people, own all the land and rivers and public buildings (eventhough they will not allow me to sell my part)and they only administer it, ….for us. So “we” the people wanted to put a cross in the desert and the government would administer to it.

    I’m confused! Either the people are the masters of the government or the other way around. There exists a tyranny of the minority as well as of the majority and you seam to be exposing the former. Our elected representatives make the call. Change them to achieve your goal. Don’t applaud when someone destroys the icon – unless it really worries you.

    I am not trying to move anyone anywhere or to anything, I state the facts only. I have not claimed what Faith I have on this blog. You assume only. Do you really take the position that this country has no Judeo-Christian heritage? Heritage is important, we must know where we came from to know how we arrived here, and where we may want to go. We should not ignore our history, or try to rewrite it. It is what it is. Try to avoid forcing our heritage to the back of the bus, it only pisses people off.

    I was the first to reply to this article and I wrote :” I agree with you on this topic but we do not have to jam a stick in the eye of the VAST MAJORITY of voters.” So how am I trying to, in your words, “is the fact that he is using these exact examples as justification for moving us towards a “Christian” idea of government”….. Well? The government is not trying to move us anywhere on this specific topic, it only recognizes the reality.

    In Liberty, ….JimW

  • DarrenA,

    On April 28, 2010, the US Supreme Court ruled on Salazar v. Buono in a 5-4 decision that the cross may stay. The high court ruled there was no violation of the separation of church and state when Congress transferred the land surrounding the cross to a veteran’s group. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “The goal of avoiding governmental endorsement [of religion] does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm.” DONE! End of discussion as far as I, and supreme court are concerned. In order for you to win your argument, Darren, you have to rebut Kennedy’s point above.

    The only decent argument you presented was not your own, but Justice John Paul Stevens, when he says “The cross is not a universal symbol of sacrifice. It is the symbol of one particular sacrifice, and that sacrifice carries deeply significant meaning for those who adhere to the christian faith.” However, this is not enough for you to win. Why? Because Stevens sat on the majority win, as Kennedy’s argument above makes Steven’s a moot point.

    FYI (You should have reported on this in your post): As of May 10, 2010, the cross is no longer in place atop Sunrise Rock. It was stolen by vandals on the night of May 9–10, 2010. National Park Service spokeswoman Linda Slater said a $125,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves. The VFW promised that the memorial will be rebuilt.”This was a legal fight that a vandal just made personal to 50 million veterans, military personnel and their families,” National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell said. On May 20, 2010, park rangers discovered that a replica of the cross stolen 10 days earlier was now bolted to the base of the original. Park personnel removed it and placed it into evidence. Mojave National Park spokesperson, Linda Slater, said that since the replica is not the original disputed cross, it had to come down. “The park service has regulations about people putting up memorials. You can’t just go to a park and put up a memorial to a family member.”

    Darren, Religious topics such as this one, and others you wrote here on Libertarian Viewpoint, are becoming redundant and boring. We get your an atheist, and we get you are in favor of separation of church and state, so let’s move on. Besides, the whole separation of church and state thing is so apparent in supreme court precedents, I’m surprised you are so reluctant to sleep easier at night. Libertarians believe what they believe, and as this thread demonstrates, Libertarians really don’t give a damn about the Mojave Memorial Cross (or lack thereof).

  • DarrenA

    Mr. Raof,

    So sorry to bore you, it is nice that you wear your emotions on your sleeve so there is no guesswork regarding your interest level.

    Your review of the holding in Salazar v. Buono is incorrect. to wit: The Court is asked to consider a challenge, not to the first placement of the cross or its continued presence on federal land, but to a statute that would transfer the cross and the land on which it stands to a private party. Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2004, Pub. L. 108-87, §8121(a), 117 Stat. 1100. The District Court permanently enjoined the Government from implementing the statute. The Court of Appeals affirmed. We conclude that its judgment was in error.

    Noting the possibility of specific remedies, however, is not an indication of agreement about the continued necessity for injunctive relief. The land-transfer statute’s bearing on this dispute must first be determined. To date, this Court’s jurisprudence in this area has refrained from making sweeping pronouncements, and this case is ill suited for announcing categorical rules. In light of the finding of unconstitutionality in Buono I, and the highly fact-specific nature of the inquiry, it is best left to the District Court to undertake the analysis in the first instance.

    The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

    They did not address the cross issue yet.

    I am a Libertarian and I give a dam. It is an essential protection that needs to be defended at all turns not unlike speech, liberty, or gun rights etc. They all have meaning and they all have importance. The fact that there is still continual rulings on this point as early as last month shows how relevant these religious arguments can be.

  • DarrenA

    JimW,

    I realize that it appears I have shown an inordinate amount of verbiage to the topic of atheism. The prohibition of establishing religion was so important to these supposed Judeo-Christian founders that they installed this protection in the first amendment of the Constitution. Defending a Constitutional point is fundamentally Libertarian and consistent to these ideals no matter how boring this topic may seem.

    Continuing to try to prove a connection between the founder’s Christian heritage and the attempt to run our government in a Christian manner is fallacious. It would be no different from men trying to impose a masculine form of government over women because our heritage was of men running the country, not women. History and heritage are nice coffee table talk topics, but are not fundamental reasons for enacting or justifying rules and laws.

    As to your point about the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. These are not religious symbols, they are not a cross. They may have sayings on them, but the building in of itself is not a religious facade so the point would be moot.

    When is imposing nothing imposing something???? I am an atheist and I do not want any religious symbols, Christian or otherwise mounted on federal land. I am advocating neutrality and nothingness. You and all your Christian friends want and need to mount and impose all relics to proclaim your beliefs on federal land. You want to impose something on something. If anyone were jamming something, it would be you.

    If this topic gets me banned because of everyone’s apathy towards this freedom then so be it. I will at least go down fighting to the end for this concept. Thanks for listening.

    respectfully,

  • I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve, DarrenA; you do – as you reveal to the world your religion: atheism – you write your articles accordingly so there is no guesswork regarding your level of critical analysis. Me calling your articles not only boring, but also redundant, is not emotion, its opinion (and as more people agree, fact). Perhaps you need to go back and read the definition of the word emotion. Here is a link that could help you:

    http://www.dictionary.com

    The congress gave the land and the land alone to the veterans group; not the cross and the land; to do with it what the Veterans group wanted. The reasoning behind the congress to give the land to the veterans group was due to the controversy of having a cross on federal land. The congress wanted to disconnect itself from the cross in promoting separation of church and state. How again is my summary of Salazar v. Buono wrong? And, what does the Department of Defense Appropriations Act have to do with anything again (is this you bringing up new information later in the thread as you accused JimK of doing in your other religion article)?

    Your third paragraph on can be answered very easily: On April 28, 2010, the US Supreme Court ruled on Salazar v. Buono in a 5-4 decision that the cross, and the cross specifically, may stay. Here is the source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/28/AR2010042801949.html

    There are NO further proceedings and the cross issue has been addressed.

    I sure am glad that you give a damn, however, majority rules.

  • Jim Weber

    When Dr. Jon enters the room we can bet he will have both barrels a’blazin….. lol… Don’t piss off the sheriff!

    Jonathan: Sidebar: – The reference to “how much does JimK weigh” was crude, and I think out of place. I did not think we had the same standards as Democratic Underground. (But it sure was funny, I’ll be laughing all the way to work) But let’s try to be a little more civil, if you please…. JimW

  • Darren,

    I have not dismissed your claims, you never made any that I could see. All you presented was ideological argument which boils down to nothing more then he said she said. Any point, counterpoint argument that is based SOLELY on ideology is meaningless. You hinted that it was wrong but give no proof that it is wrong. You hinted it was bad but give no proof it was bad.

    Now, in this comment, you finally give some meat behind your thoughts – so let me see if I can address them in some fashion.

    1. Your argument for the “establishment clause” is weak to say the least. In order for the government to “establish” a religion they must do exactly that through legislation. Just like any other theocracy in the world that does it. Such actions have not been taken by any of the Congress’s in any session since this country began. So the “establishment clause” argument does not hold water. Nice try but way off the mark

    2. It has no meaning other then Christianity – so what – you want to erect memorials for the other religions also – go ahead – I don’t care. I am an atheist, erect as many as you want, such irrational actions have no meaning to me unless you are infringing upon my rights when you do it. I do not yet see where erecting something like this infringes upon any of my negative rights. If you have proof of such I might be willing to change my position. I have constantly asked you for such and you have not yet provided it.

    3. The only error Congress made in trying to make the move is in fact, trying to make the move. They listened to irrational argument and rather then sticking to their guns, gave credence to the flawed argument by attempting the move. They should have argued that it doesn’t establish any religion and allow all religious groups to erect memorials there as well.

    Having a singular cross no more “establishes” a religion. There is no law that establishes it and forces you to practice it. Government did not create Christianity; it did not force such on people, nor did it institutionalize any such religion. So just how are you saying this violates the “establishment clause”.

    I don’t want to argue BS religion examples from history or anything like that. I want to see/hear solid valuable argument of harm being done that give reason to removal other than someone’s whim. Two wrongs do not make it right. If it was wrong to put it up with a whim and its already been in place and being used, it would be just as wrong to remove it so as to stop the use that is currently in play.

    Let me ask you something and see if we could put this into perspective from a different point of view. Who owns the land? If you owned it, would I have the right to tell you whether or not you can put up a cross on your property? If you answered yes you are an idiot, if you answered no, then what is the difference here?

    You dont own the land where it stands so why all the fuss? From a Libertarian perspective we do not like the initiation of force or fraud to get what one wants. I realize it is hard to be a true Libertarian. Principles must be applied everywhere they take hold. If you are against the use of force or fraud to get what you want, why would you use force here to get what you want? Doesn’t sound like you would be living up the principles you espouse when putting it in that frame work now does it.

    Evaluate your principles, apply them to this situation and see what you come with. Be truthful to your self and your principles. Did it change your position? If not, you are acting irrationally. Let me know what happens once you take the time and effort to see the flaws in your point as you apply your principles.

  • Darren,

    Our forefathers did not want the government to tell people what religion they could practice. They did not want the government to FORCE a specific religion upon a populace. That does not mean that the government cannot observe a religious symbol or holiday etc.

    Until now, the government still has not FORCED its citizenry to follow a specific religion. The only reason you even see this in the news is because people want their 15 minutes of fame. Lawyers want money. And most importantly, it fools people into believing there is a real issue and hides the facts of what is really going on elsewhere in the country.

    I agree that running the government in a Christian manner is absurd. I think running it in any religious manner is irrational at best. However, as a Libertarian and you claim yourself to be one; I am a little more tolerant about it. While I think people are irrational in their actions and thought processes, I still don’t think my being as irrational as they are solves any issues.

    In this argument, you present yourself in the same manner as the other side you are fighting against. Exactly how to justify initiating force against their will to stop no force against your will? Yes, I said “no force”. Granted you and all the other atheists may take the symbol to be religious, ok, so what?

    How does that harm you and infringe upon your negative right? Did the government say you must kowtow to the memorial? Did they say you must pray there or else. Hell, if you didn’t read about the memorial to begin with you probably wouldn’t even have an opinion because it did not affect you. It still does not; you don’t live in the Mojave do you? You don’t own the property do you?

    You state: “I am an atheist and I do not want any religious symbols, Christian or otherwise mounted on federal land.” From this I deduce that you recognize the fact you do not own the land. You do not presume to tell your neighbor what he can put on his property, what makes you think you have the right to do so here?

    You also state “If this topic gets me banned because of everyone’s apathy towards this freedom then so be it.” I am not sure anyone said anything like that. It surely will not happen from me. I think the topic should be discussed. I just happen to think it should be done with logic not ideology. I still ask of you some prove of your claims. Something solid not just something in your head produced at a whim that can be changed from time to time depending on how you feel.

    You argue its against the “establishment clause”. To which I respond, prove it. Damn, now we are back to the prove its again. Sheesh, why don’t you present some real evidence that it is a violation? You mentioned court cases but then you also show that they haven’t ruled on the cross so the decision is still out on that subject. So, where is the proof?

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
    If it is broke, show me the evidence so it can be fixed.

  • Jonathan, Darren,

    If the veterans group is now the rightful owner of the land, who has the authority to control what they do with the land?

    Darren,
    If that person is not you, what is all the fuss about?
    If it is you, show me the evidence that gives you such authoirty over someone else’s property.

  • JimK! I know the answer! Pick me! Pick me! LOL

    THE VETERANS GROUP!!!!!!!

    JimW,

    Indeed, you are right, I will control myself next time. Glad you found it funny though. LOL.

  • DarrenA

    JimK,

    It is interesting to note that you seem to judge the prevailing argument based on whether it is an ideological vs. a practical one. This seems quite rudimentary. For example, one can say that all arguments based on the belief of Liberty are grouped as the same ideological bent and therefore don’t come a knocking until you have been hurt retort.

    This is the fundamental difference between a Deontological (the act itself has meaning) position vs. a Consequentionlist (the judgment is on the outcome) position, which by the way leads directly to the maxim “the ends justify the means”. The mere impropriety of an act is and should be considered as the primary position on whether it should be confronted.

    I asked a question in an earlier post that you failed to respond. This question is essential to the concepts put forth. I would like to reiterate the question to see where you land on the answer. What would your position be if Congress decided to put a big cross out in the desert for no reason, oh and by the way not allow other religions to display theirs? As a side bar, the park service denied Buddhists the ability to put a Stupa on the same plot of land next to the cross. In addition, if the cross on federal land wasn’t so problematic, why did they go ahead and transfer the land to a private group?

    When the government starts to interfere with individual liberties, they do not do this in such an overt gesture as to proclaim a national religion. They do it by inches and feet. Subtle and insidious and before you know it you can’t make the counter argument anymore. It is not a big leap from allowing Christian crosses everywhere, on federal land, to creation of a national Christian church. Just look at Jim Webbers continued proof of our Judeo-Christian heritage due of all the historic iconography left on our federal buildings in our past.

    Lastly, the negative position, such as there should be NO religious symboligoy is as universal as anyone can put forth. You have stated on numerous occasions that words have meaning. “A Wall of Separation between Church & State” should have meaning. I certainly understand that this phrase is not in the Constitution, but it was stated by the very person who crafted the document, i.e. Jefferson and was later re-iterated in a Supreme Court ruling, giving it meaning and status. Madison wrote, “Practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

    Granted, I may be a bit more sensitive to the practical distinction then most, given my atheistic bent, but It is clear that it is a religious symbol and in most cases it would be better to err on the side of caution with regards to these safeguards, ideological or not. The “wall” analogy is a solid metaphor.

    Last point, you mentioned a damaged party. Exactly who would be the damaged party if Congress were to sanitize our federal lands of all religious symbology? This does not prevent any private citizen from erecting whatever they want on their property stated earlier by you and full agreed upon by me.

    respectfully,

  • Darren,

    I am not basing the argument on ideology vs. practical. I am basing it a rationale. If you don’t see that simple fact you will never be able to persuade me in anything. It is the one fundamental aspects of my reasoning ability. I cannot come to any conclusions without it. Neither can you.

    Of course you already know this since you are an atheist and all atheists are rational thinkers all the time. They do not have their minds cluttered with all the irrational make believe stuff that cannot be proven. As such, I ask for rational proof of your argument – to date – you have evaded providing the proof. LOL – and you say I don’t provide answers – LOL.

    In answering your question, I thought I made it clear enough. I already said I don’t care if it is a religious symbol or not. If Congress owns the land Congress can do what ever the hell they want with it. I don’t have the authority to tell people what to do with their property any more then they have to tell me what to do with mine.

    I have consistently told you that whatever premise you use it must be the same across the board. The same holds true here. If you decide to pick a different reason to achieve your goal and deny your own principles they you are lying to yourself and you are denying the existence of the principles you claim to uphold.

    You have steadfastly said that you are a Libertarian. What part of the Libertarian philosophy says that you can force someone to change things on their property?

    If this does not make it plain enough for you then let me put it in simple words. I don’t care if Congress puts a cross on their property, in the middle of a dessert and doesn’t allow any other religious symbols there. It is their property, who am I to tell them what to do with it. Did that answer the question for you?

    You asked about the cross being problematic. I again already answered that question. My response was – they should not have moved the cross; they should have fought the issue because it does not violate any establishment clause as you claim it does. They made the transfer simply because it was easier and less costly then the fight.

    Now, since I answered your questions you asked, please do the same for me. You made your claim and I asked for proof. I have consistently asked for proof throughout this whole conversation and you still have not provided any for me. Seems like the kettle is calling the pot black here. When will you provide the proof?

    You said it wasn’t on you to prove anything and I countered with the fact that you wrote the article and bought this to bare. You did it with no proof. You still have not provided any proof. All you have made is an ideological argument, one that I would expect from those irrational believers. You claim you are a rational person. All rational people making claims can substantiate those claims. Where is the proof to substantiate those claims?

    You state “When the government starts to interfere with individual liberties, they do not do this in such an overt gesture as to proclaim a national religion.” I ask one simple question. What individual liberty is interfered with here? I do not see how having a cross erected on their property has any effect on my negative rights. Please explain your reasoning with concrete evidence.

    You ask ”Exactly who would be the damaged party if Congress were to sanitize our federal lands of all religious symbology?” Why would you ask such a weird question? There are only two possible answers. From your point of view it will either be the taxpayers or no one. Not sure which answer you want, since the answer is the same for both sides of the argument, thus making it useless to do anything because there is no gain.

    If the answer you want is the taxpayers, then who do you think will pay for the removal if not the taxpayer? Again, I have said before, two wrongs do not make it right. If they were wrong for putting it up as you claim, then we already paid for that mistake, why would you make us pay for it again?

    If you want the answer no one, then no one will be hurt and since it’s the same answer for leaving it. You may as well just leave it. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

    If you recognize that private citizens can erect whatever they want on their property – AND – it is in full agreement by you – why would you not allow the same for the government? Again, as a Libertarian, your principles must apply equally across the board in every situation where they exist. Replace private person with government ownership. There should be no difference. Why do you insist on making a difference for them?

    You could go down the track of making an argument against the use of taxpayer money for such an item but that would open up a whole different argument. Being consistent, you would then have to apply that same principle to every single expenditure made by the government and I am sure that will lead us way off track.

    This really should not be about money so lets not go down that road. Let’s stick with your claim that it is a violation of rights. Once again, I ask for you to show me some proof of such. I will give you the benefit of the doubt even. When was the last time you went to the Mojave Dessert and saw the monument? Since you are making the argument I presume you went and were so distraught that you had to see a doctor for whatever pain and stress it caused you.

    Heck, show me those doctor’s bills and I might believe it was a problem for you. Show me anything other then your whims and desires. Show me what ever evidence you have that is driving you to make this argument so that I, as a rational person, can see first hand exactly what it means.