Letters to the editor
Re “The many meanings of a cross,” Opinion, Oct. 19
I do agree that the purpose of the controversial cross in the desert is to be a secular marker for a memorial to the war dead of all nations and faiths.
The ACLU is wasting time, energy and dollars for a meaningless struggle against common sense.
Beyond that, the great threat to the California desert is not a cross but rather the huge energy projects that would destroy valuable and irreplaceable desert habitat.
Thanks to Gregory Rodriguez for a logical Op-Ed column.
Charles W. Jenner
I would like to say, with all due respect, that Rodriguez just doesn’t get it.
While the predominant faith in this country may see the cross as “a generalized symbol of memorial,” you can check with any person of any other religion than the predominant faith and see how we all interpret the cross. I assure you, it is not a generalized symbol of memorial.
Let’s just call the whole thing for what it really is -- a mistake that was made 75 years ago, in a time when people didn’t stand up and say that it was wrong.
By trying to justify its existence, Rodriguez and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia not only look foolish, they are showing the lack of tolerance and insensitivity that still exists here with respect to religions outside the predominant faith.
Rodriguez and the other people involved in this endless controversy are all missing the point:
A war memorial is meant to honor those who gave their lives defending their country, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. Cemeteries handle the religious issue on an individual basis.
War memorials should be free of any religious references; they should honor the fallen equally for their sacrifices. In this context, religion is irrelevant.
We should have a national contest to design the most appropriate war memorial honoring members of all the armed services who have given their lives for our country. This could then be the official design to be used wherever needed.
Let’s end this divisive bickering and concentrate on more important things.
Rodriguez’s claim that the cross has become more than a symbol of Christianity is outrageous. Moses did not die on a cross; Muhammad did not die on a cross. Only Jesus did, and the symbolism of the cross is very specifically Christian. It only seems to have lost its theological specificity because of its ubiquity. But its presence in a public memorial to war veterans is an offense to those who gave their lives for their country and were not Christian.
The ACLU’s approach to religious symbols and separation of church and state is “old school” indeed, and is in dire need of protection. The religious right is making strong inroads into secular society by arguing, for instance, that the traditional symbols of Christmas are really just “seasonal” symbols. God help us -- we need the ACLU more than ever. Not only to protect nonbelievers and people of other faiths but to protect Christians themselves from the “corrosive effect” of the state.
I must object to Rodriguez’s Op-Ed article.
He carefully parses the words offered by the ACLU’s Peter Eliasberg to define the cross at the Mojave Desert World War I veterans memorial, and misses the forest for the trees. The important point is that the cross signifies the Christian religion and not any other religion.
Furthermore, Scalia’s assertion that the “cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of the dead” shows a lack of perspective.
I am certain that there are no crosses at any non-Christian burial sites and memorials, whether they be Bahai, Buddhist, Confucian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto or Zoroastrian. It is disingenuous to pretend otherwise and an insult to our intelligence.
Why not honestly admit that the Christian symbol is being favored for demographic reasons?