Last Friday, I had the opportunity to listen to the Michael Medved show on the radio. He was talking to a guy who is an atheist I believe is named Edwin Kagan. That might be wrong, but who cares? The point is what was being discussed and the position this guy was taking. He runs a camp for atheist kids and is some level of legal guy trying to mess with the decision of the 9/11 museum to feature a cross still standing after the towers came down. I’m fuzzy on the details, but it is my understanding that this cross was merely an assembly of twisted remains of the building that was in the shape of the Christian cross. It was taken by some as a sign of some kind, and felt by some worthy of preserving as a symbol of some kind relevant to the event. I haven’t seen it myself and don’t know if I would agree with what it means, even if I couldn’t see anything but a Christian-style cross in its shape. That doesn’t matter, either. What matters is that another atheist feels compelled to assert the stupid notion that this “thing” in a publicly funded museum is some kind of constitutional assault.
What’s with these people? Like homosexuals, atheists are a very small segment of our population. Like homosexual activists, atheist activists are an even smaller, but annoyingly cloying percentage of them. Worse yet, their arguments almost make those of the homosexual seem legitimate.
As usual, I was driving when I heard this conversation and did not hear it in its entirety. But I heard the gist of it several times. It was that allowing this cross to stand alone suggests to the objective observer that the government endorses the Christian religion over others. I don’t know what constitutes an “objective observer” to this guy, but “brain dead atheist” has to be part of its definition. I mean, who else thinks like that?
I believe, but cannot swear, that this guy was described as a “constitutional” lawyer. In any case, I’m sure I was right in understanding him to be well versed in constitutional matters. But his argument belies that claim. As we all (should) know perfectly well, the 1st Amendment reads as follows:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
So the first issue is, since when is “endorse” synonymous with “establish”? Let’s assume that the United States government fully endorsed Christianity as a good and beneficial lifestyle for its citizens to adopt. That’s merely an opinion and an opinion does not equal establishing Christianity as the state religion. It is the difference between saying, “We think our nation would benefit if everyone lived like Christians.” versus “We mandate that only the Christian religion is acceptable in this country.” The 1st prohibits the latter, but makes no reference to the former in any way.
Throughout our history, I think one would be hard-pressed to find any president that did not endorse to some degree religious faith and adherence, mostly Christian. Doubtless, it would be more difficult to find a case where any president spoke against it. To publicly speak in either direction is not denied the president constitutionally.
There is also a vast difference between establishing a religion and acknowledging the faith of 80% or more of the population. By that number, we are a Christian nation. This acknowledgement, even by our government or any representative of it, is nothing at all like establishing a religion and demanding that no other religion be practiced.
Likewise, there is also a vast difference between the government establishing a religion, and members of a government body recognizing religious holidays with appropriate decorations, including religious decorations. The people who work for the government and within government buildings are still citizens with the absolute right to express their religious convictions and to celebrate their holidays. Doing so is NOT an establishment of religion.
Those who insist that “separation of church and state” prohibits any of the above practices have bastardized the intention of Jefferson and those who ratified the Constitution. What’s more, I believe they know full well that they are distorting the meaning of the 1st and are doing so purposely. Pushing aside religion from the public square allows for pretending arguments against secular positions are faith based only, and thus illegitimate. When logic and reason overwhelm them, they merely state the opposition is a Christian (or religious) and the argument is over.
But the position of the atheist activist has always been so weak that the fact anyone gives them the time of day is more victory than their arguments have ever deserved.