Perpetually aggrieved "Freedom from Religion Foundation" notches another surrender
BELLE PLAINE, Minn. - As the sun disappeared over Belle Plaine Wednesday evening, it’s what disappeared at the Veterans Park that had people talking.
"There are a lot of upset people,” said Joe Burmeister, a local resident and veteran. "It was probably one of the hardest things I had to do in a long time was come up and cut this thing off.”
Burmeister held the cross that used to be connected to a silhouette statue of a veteran kneeling at a grave of a fallen comrade.
It all started several months ago when city officials say someone filed a police report and complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin. The foundation told the city the cross had to go since it was on public property.
"This isn't just a constitutional violation. It sends a message of exclusion to non-Christians as if only Christian veterans are important,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor with Freedom From Religion Foundation.
There's a video that talks about it too:
I'm not going to go too far into the legal niceties of this one. The city could have fought, it would have cost millions, and winning was unlikely. But this case isn't altogether different from the Mohave Cross case, and there is a passage in there from Justice Kennedy that I wanted to quote, because it sums up exactly how I feel every time one of thoese groups forces some small town to bend to it's demands.
From SALAZAR, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL. v. BUONO:
By dismissing Congress’s motives as illicit, the District Court took insufficient account of the context in which the statute was enacted and the reasons for its passage.Private citizens put the cross on Sunrise Rock to commemorate American servicemen who had died in World War I. Although certainly a Christian symbol, the cross was not emplaced on Sunrise Rock to promote a Christian message. Placement of the cross on Government-owned land was not an attempt to set the imprimatur of the state on a particular creed. Rather, those who erected the cross intended simply to honor our Nation’s fallen soldiers.
Now, reading that you might think that the city had a better shot at winning, but unfortunately the deciding factor was how long the cross had stood, unmolested by legal turmoil.
I didn't see the cross in the memorial as somehow trying to proselytize me to the Christian Faith, nor did I see it as an attack on the Buddhists, Spaghetti Monster adherents or members of the Church of the First Jedi. But I guess mileage may vary on that one.
I just wish that if these groups were going to do this stuff, they'd go whole hog. How can we live in a world with a "City of Angels" when these people need to be "Free from Religion." How can we have a San Diego? Or the Padres? If you are going to be so perpetually unhappy with everyone shoving religion down your throat, like this poor town in Minnesota, at least have the temerity to fight up to your weight class. And while we're at it, can we please take a red pen to the Declaration of Independwnce
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Kindly take out the reference to Creator and add at the end that we are free from the obligation of just being hospitable to those who might have another theological viewpoint. That is after all what the Freedom From Religion and Military Religious Freedom folks really want. At least Ranger Up and admit it.