Foisting a Cross on Others is a Freedom and a Right in America

… according to some.

The Veteran’s Administration (hospitals) maintains chapels in their facility. In 1953, the VA initiated a policy regarding chapels that states: “Chapels will be appointed and maintained as places for meditation and prayer for members of any faith group or denomination.” Apparently, this policy has been widely ignored, but is now being addresses, to the consternation of some.

In Beckley, West Virginia, there is a cross hanging in the VA chapel. Other religious iconography has been removed from this chapel, but the cross is kind of built-in, and even if it wasn’t, it would be kind of a pain in the keester to keep taking it down and putting it up. So they are working on solutions such as putting up a shade that can be pulled down to cover it.

But at least one Vet objects.

“I don’t think they should try to change it or take it out or cover it up,” he said. “I spent my time in the military fighting for the freedoms of our country. I don’t mind someone from another country coming here and living, but I don’t want them to try to take away our freedoms and rights that we have.”

An attitude that is, sadly, all to common, not only for its bigotry and blind adherence to absurd philosophy but also, simply, because it is not very logical.

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0 thoughts on “Foisting a Cross on Others is a Freedom and a Right in America

  1. You expect logic from these folks? I’m not slamming Christians in particular, but most religion isn’t logical at all. And most of those who use the “freedom of religion” argument are, in truth, only speaking about freedom to practice their religion and wave it in everyone’s face. And they don’t want freedom for everyone–just the majority. The rest are out of luck. And then they get hyped up over any news report about persecuted Christian minority groups in other countries. For logic or reason, we need to look elsewhere.

  2. The majority of Vets will object to this ludicrous idea as will most Americans. Our nation was based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and this is the true source of America’s strength. This is like the push to take “In God We Trust” off of our currency and the removal of “one nation under GOD” from our Pledge of Allegiance.
    These are the questions – Who cooks these schemes up? Why do they wish to undermine the very fabric of our nation?When will we wake up, folks? We cannot, must not allow this to continue.

  3. I grew up just a few miles from Beckley, and spent quite a lot of time visiting my grandmother at the Beckley VA when she was ill. Truth be told, in the weeks and months we spent at her bedside, I never heard mention of a chapel and can’t for the life of me think of where it would have been (my grandmother was quietly non-religious–she was polite to the chaplains but would never have gone out of her way to find them).

    However, the reaction of the man quoted in the article does not surprise me. Southern WV is one of the least religiously diverse places I’ve ever been (to put that in perspective, I now live in Oklahoma). An interfaith meeting meant someone had invited the the 10 or so Protestant denominations in town to a meeting. If you were really progressive, you’d maybe get one of the rare Catholics to attend (or even, gasp, the Mormons). The closest synagogue was an hour away, and I don’t recall ever meeting someone who was open about being Jewish until I left the state. (I had to go to Europe to meet a Muslim.) Growing up, it was very easy to believe that just about everyone was Christian. I’m sure that there were other religions being practiced in the area, but it wasn’t something you would talk about in polite society. Atheism was unheard of and met with sincere incomprehension. My own mother, social liberal that she is, still has trouble when I make atheistic statements, insisting that I must be at least agnostic. When you only meet people with crosses around their necks, it’s very easy to think this is a Christian nation.

  4. Riverwalk, you err when you state that these fanatics “don’t want freedom for everyone–just the majority”
    they are NOT the majority, even amongst the religious–they are just so damn loud and in yer face that their noise seems major, but the movement is smaller than we might think…I am assuming that those who want government and religion to interbreed eternally are actually from several different groups,and the trick is to make them appear the same, and major so that even they are appalled at the affiliation with each other…..numbers anyone?

  5. Cathy: Our nation was based on Judeo-Christian beliefs…

    According to my dictionary, the term “Judeo-Christian” wasn’t even coined until 1899. The founders may have been remarkably prescient, but I doubt they were working on the basis of a concept left undescribed until a century after the Constitution was written.

  6. Our nation was based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and this is the true source of America’s strength

    Interesting thought. But seriously…Judeo-Christian? Then why force Jews to worship (or meditate) before a symbol of their oppression and murder?

    “Judeo-Christian beliefs”? Christianity represents the final stage in the Hellenisation of Judaism. Come on – if Moses came down from Mount Sinai and saw Christianity, he’d probably react much the same as he did in the Golden Calf story. Judaism has much more in common with Islam than Christianity.

    The US government is based on the Greek idea of democracy, and the Roman Republic. Add to that a legal system of common law which derives from pagan Germanic tribes… Judeo-Christian? Nah, Greco-German seems more appropriate to me.

  7. Judeo-Christian beliefs”

    So that’s the belief system in which Jesus Christ is simultaneously the Son of God and a Satanically-inspired false prophet who got what he deserved?

  8. Cathy – I hope you’ll look at this piece by Martha Nussbaum – “Instead of Separation, How About Fair Play,” which ran in the Philly Inquirer over the weekend, and discusses these issues.

    Honestly, no one involved in this sort of thing wishes to undermine the fabric of the nation, nor are we doing so. It’s about some of our most cherished values – including the bit about how this isn’t a Christian Nation (that would be a theocracy, and something very far removed both from the ideals of our founders, and those most Americans), but a nation of Christians (who have, and continue to, shape our shared history in innumerable ways) – and of Baha’is,and of Buddhists, and of Hindus, and of Jews, and of Muslims, and of (various kinds of) Pagans, and of Sikhs, and of all variety of traditional belief, and of Zoroastrians, and yes, and of agnostics, atheists, and folks who simply live their lives (and anyone I left out!). One where – in law and ideal, and sometimes even striven for in practice – we’re all equal, where none of us are second-class citizens, subjects of some Christian-style dhimma, outsiders permitted in on forbearance. That’s not what our country is about! It is our home, our America.

    Again, nobody wishes to undermine the fabric of our nation. But those who wish – with the best of intentions, fed with revisionist history a la Barton – to bring it back to what they imagine to be its proper Judeo*-Christian roots – without realizing risk ripping this slowly, even painfully pieced together and beautiful tapestry to shreds.

    And no, this isn’t some scheme foisted upon an unsuspecting public by nefarious ACLU types. It’s part of our shared heritage, our birthright, tracing to people like (Quaker) William Penn, (Baptist) Roger Williams, (Deist) Thomas Jefferson, (?) George Washington, (Episcopalian) James Madison, and so on. This is one of the true sources of our nation’s strength: a fierce dedication to freedom of conscience and religious liberty.

    It may well be that some First Amendment issues have, perhaps, more passion than wisdom. But Cathy, they aren’t attempts to push you out, or make you unwelcome – it’s about striving to make sure instead that all are equally welcome.

    * incidentally, Jews couldn’t hold any elected position in Maryland until 1826, thanks to a provision in the State Constitution which required a Christian religious test for public office. This was finally changed thanks in large part to the Scottish Presbyterian legislator Thomas Kennedy, who spent years fighting for what was known as the “Jew Bill”, and seems to have lost an election over it.
    A part of one speech he gave readsThis bill ought to pass even if it was only to do justice to the long oppressed Hebrew; but it is not for their benefit alone; it is establishing a general principle … sanctioned by reason, by religion and by common sense … approved by the patriots of the revolution, sanctioned by wisdom and virtue and tested by experience … Let us pass this bill … even on a dying pillow it will comfort us to think that we have done at least one good act in our lives … establishing religious freedom in Maryland …

    See also George Washington’s famous letter to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island, which reads in part
    The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens. . . . . May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.

    Now, that’s America.

  9. Hmmm… Careful about feeding the trolls, please.
    You might catch something Icky.

    “Judeo-Christian? Sounds nasty, is it Catching?!”

  10. Judeo-Christian is a code word for “we’re not anti-Semitic, honestly: we pray that the Jews will be saved”.

    Clearly the answer for this chapel is just to put up all the symbols all the time.

  11. Ridger, and IanR, re: “Judeo-Christian? Nah”…

    No, Judeo-Christian is not a code word for anti-semitism any more than saying ” Jews in Israel need to stop slaughtering their neighbors” or saying that Israeli policy has HUGE influence on US policies that lead to the ongoing genocide called Iraq, et al.

    If it is a coded word at all, it seems to me to be a very modern word that describes the above-mentioned collusion of powers. It is not anti semitic to state the facts. as in ” Large amounts of human labor, and United States military power has been used to create and maintain the state of Israel.”

    It also seems to be a word that implies accountability from Jews and Goyim alike for these little half decades long genocides in the middle east.

    It is a word that implicates the Jerry Falwells, and the Menachim Begins alike.

    So, whereas it seems tantalizing to imagine that America was actually based on democratic ideals, democracy, and the so-called Germanic influence. it is hyperbole that doesn’t ‘follow the money’, and avoids simple inconvenient facts like the fact that the Treasurer of the Confederate States of America, Judah P. Benjamin was Jewish, or this one about finacing the Revolutionary war:

    “The small Jewish community in colonial America gave more than their share toward the United States’ revolutionary cause. One such patriot was indeed Hyam Salomon, who gave $300,000, an immense fortune for those days.”

    discussion can be found here (which coincides with a news story from today about the mystery symbols on US currency):

    the link to ask the Rabbi is broken so here is that link:

  12. Thank-you for this discussion.
    No matter how good the intentions, the results are the true measure. This being said, I am greatly concerned about actions performed in the cause of what is deemed politically correct. I am concerned that in the pursuit of what appears right and appears to generously imbue freedom, actually is the taking away of American rights. I am concerned about the subtle changes that are foisted on the majority of us by the few. I am concerned about how brainwashed we have become that we accept all change as good without clearly thinking through the consequences on the future.
    Change is a given. Change is necessary for growth. But is this growth in the right direction? Why are these changes necessary? We need to examine each change that is introduced for the “sake of the whole” for undertones of undermining what America was initially brought into being for . . .
    Look at the memorials at Arlington Cemetery. They represent a wide range of religions. This is as it should be. These soldiers died for our country and they and their religious beliefs should be honored. However, if someone cooks up the scheme that the head stones should be exchanged for generic memorials, embracing all of the religions or excluding all beliefs – this is a problem. This scenario seems far-fetched, but so much of what we now allow in our country would have been considered ridiculous twenty years ago.
    I am concerned about the quality of spirituality and lack of consciousness, not religion. Meditate on the Spirit that created and has held America. It is one of Light. What I see is darkness and since the majority of Americans are asleep, already trapped in the dark – unknowingly trapped in mediocre lives – not the American dream, they cannot see what is happening in our country. These changes are made for the sake of someone’s feelings. It doesn’t matter what the motivation is or how good the intentions are, the proof is in the results and the future consequences.

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