Crosses challenged

A group advocating the separation of church and state is protesting a pair of crosses displayed for Easter on a tiny eastern Ohio village’s municipal building.
Associated Press
Apr 18, 2014
The Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation challenged the claim by the mayor of Stratton that it’s constitutional to display the crosses during holidays.

Mayor John Abdalla temporarily removed the crosses in January after the foundation threatened to sue, but he returned them to celebrate the Easter season. One is Latin, the other Eastern Orthodox.

Abdalla told the Steubenville Herald-Star such seasonal displays were allowed. The mayor declined to comment when contacted Wednesday by The Associated Press. He told the newspaper he planned to remove them at the end of April. Easter is this Sunday.

In an April 8 letter, the foundation said religious displays on public buildings represent a violation of the First Amendment, regardless of what time of year it is.

“While the permanent display of these crosses by the Village is indisputably unconstitutional, the seasonal display of the crosses in recognition of Easter, the Christian celebration of Jesus’s resurrection, is no less illegal,” staff attorney Rebecca Markert wrote. “The display of these crosses is illegal because it represents government endorsement of the Christian religion”

The foundation said this week the village hasn’t replied to its letter, which requested the village remove the display.

Abdalla said he didn’t want to discuss the matter nor could he suggest anyone who would. “No one’s going to talk about this” he said. It’s not the first debate over religious freedom in the village.

Comments

From the Grave

Jesus...

holysee

Yes. We at the Holy See see it as necessary, even if we do know it's unconstitutional. Christians deserve special consideration above the heathen non-believers.
The displays should be federally funded as well!

SamAdams

I don't have a problem with the village displaying crosses at Easter and/or Christmas. But will the village ALSO display a star and crescent on Muslim holidays? Will they honor Wicca on Samhain or the solstices? How about a Star of David at the appropriate time(s) of year?

The problem with government and religion isn't that government prohibits freedom of worship, but rather that it tends to show a clear preference for one religion over another. Some officials apparently forget that government isn't merely prohibited from infringing freedom of worship but is ALSO not to engage in favoritism. The only real certainty is that the vast majority of government entities will categorically refuse when the time comes to honor a religion that might be "controversial," or which they themselves don't find acceptable. Thus the only way to ensure NO religion is favored, and ALL are treated equally, is to stop the government-sanctioned displays entirely.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

You reminded me, have any Beltane plans? 'Tis fast approaching.

Informed

Exactly!!!

44846GWP

+1

Huron_1969

What ever happened to "majority rule" ? It's impossible to please everyone, yet we continue to try anyway and in the process, we are sterilizing everything our society stands for.

ladydye_5

Majority rule does not apply. It shows favoritism. Just because it is a majority does not make it appropriate to be the only one displayed. Like the other post, what about Wiccan holidays? Jewish? If they all cannot be celebrated, then maybe none should be. Why is it that only the "majority" ....aka CHRISTIAN holidays are the ones that are accepted?

Huron_1969

.... If they all cannot be celebrated, then maybe none should be

That seems to be the direction we are headed, thus my sterization comment. I am a proud Catholic but also appreciate many other religions. We need to celebrate our spirituality and in the USA the major religion is Christianity. If we as a society want to publicly celebrate other religious holidays, I say go for it. But to stop celebrating would be a tragedy

The part I find to be the most hypocritical involves money and benefits. Many non-Christians receive holiday pay for Christian holidays, and a good percentage of that are federal employees. They oppose the public displays supporting Chritianity, yet they take the monetary benefits for the same thing.

Nemesis

No one is saying not to celebrate, just to not drag the government into your celebration.

Employers are free to set any paid holidays they wish, for whatever reason they wish. It simply makes economic sense for a businesses both private and public to close on a day when 90% of their employees would take the day off anyway, and they'd have to turn on the lights for the other 10% to come in and be completely ineffective.

Huron_1969

The government is elected by the majority, and the majority of our citizens are Christians. What is wrong with a cross being displayed on a government building that represents the beliefs of the majority? How is that a threat to a non-Christian?

Nemesis

Maybe you should study history more. Talk to a Jewish person over the age of 55 who was forced to recite Christian prayers in public schools.

The majority does not rule in this country - the Constitution does, and it limits what can be done by government REGARDLESS of majority mandate.

When the government gets in bed with one religion, ALL religions suffer. Christianity was most corrupt when Europe consisted of Catholic theocracies.

Huron_1969

Maybe you should focus on current affairs.... using events from decades ago that are no longer practiced does not validate your point. I agree it was wrong to force non-Christians to participate in Christian practices, but that is no longer the case. That ship has been righted.

I'm asking again, what is so wrong with a government building displaying a cross ? (maybe you could try to answer without the sarcasm)

Nemesis

It's an endorsement of a particular religion, and the slope is slippery. History is precedent, and those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. The events from decades ago were justified by the same blind majoritarianism you're pushing. It's all fun and games until you're in the minority.

But really, why do you WANT the government displaying it? Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's, and unto God what is God's. Christianity has flourished when persecuted, and rotted with corruption when it dominated a society.

dorothy gale

And you already received an answer --- because the Constitution forbids it.

SamAdams

There has NEVER been "majority rule" in this country, and that's by design. In fact, the Bill of Rights was crafted and passed to ensure that, in the words of John Adams, the minority would never have to endure the "tyranny of the majority." To demand some sort of a consensus, or a majority vote, on things like religion, speech, and etc. means there's no question whatsoever that some will be deprived of their unalienable rights. What happens when it's YOUR rights voted infringed or even illegal, eh?

On the other hand, the majority opposes Obamacare and favors the legalization of marijuana. At least until it's my own ox being gored, maybe you could talk me into majority rule after all!

P.S. The government isn't in "business" to "please everyone." It's supposed to GOVERN everyone, and part and parcel of that government is equality of treatment. If I'm not any more special than you are (and I'm not), what on earth possesses you to think YOU're any more special than ME?

huronguy2

what's funny is all these people always bashing Christian beliefs and Jesus will be out buying their Christmas trees and presents. If you don't believe In Jesus why celebrate the Holidays, Go make your own. Good Point Huron 1969, I know a jehova witness that is quick to expect his Christmas bonus when I called him out on accepting a gift for a holiday it turned into I worked for this, so tired of people just making things up as they go a long. Jesus bashers will be celebrating Christmas which makes them HYPOCRITES

Nemesis

There's nothing hypocritical about accepting the same compensation package as other employees. He DID work for it, just like everybody else there - it's part of their pay.

ladydye_5

Christmas was a PAGAN holiday before it was hijacked by Christians. Pagans celebrated a holiday in December without Jesus even being around. Heck, Jesus wasn't even born in DECEMBER. It is said he was born late summer, early fall. The best scholars guess around September.

Nemesis

Did you have a point there?

ladydye_5

Yes, huronguy was complaining how NON-Christians celebrating Christmas and buying Christmas trees was hypocritical. I was pointing out that Christmas was a holiday to Pagans before the Christians hijacked it for their own purposes. Also making the point that Jesus wasn't even BORN ON CHRISTMAS or in December....they are guessing it was closer to September. That was the point. Christmas can really be celebrated by ANYONE...it is not really a Christian holiday if you want to be technical about it.

Nemesis

None of the people to whom he refers make ny claim to be druids celebrating the solstice, so it's just irrelevant trivia. It has no bearing on his position regarding their lack of sincerity or understanding. He's making a fallacious argument, but it helps nothing to respond with tangents that have no rebuttal effect. You might as well say "Oh yeah? well, wheat bread has more fiber!"

ladydye_5

I was making the point of him calling people hypocrites for celebrating Christmas and then complaining about the Christian aspects of it. You can't really call people hypocrites for celebrating something that has roots from OTHER religions. I can buy a Christmas tree without it having ANYTHING to do with Jesus or Christians.

Babo

Your example makes no sense. Christmas derives from Christ Mass.

ladydye_5

You should do some research....Christmas started as a Pagan holiday. Christ wasn't even born in December. Christians used it as a way to try and "win" over the Pagans to Christianity. I will not bore you with a bunch of links, I am sure you are smart enough to do your own research, but here is one to start. The website references YOUR book so it should be pretty accurate for you to use as research.
http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-bel....
(makes you wonder when the NON Christians know more about YOUR religion than you do)

Babo

I know all about the pagan holidays at the Winter Solstice. The fact that the early Church adopted that time of year as Christ Mass for marketing purposes doesn't change the fact that Christmas is a Christian holiday and a Christmas tree is part of the traditional celebration of Christmas.

Informed

Christmas is also a cultural holiday.

Babo

So is that an admission that the United States is culturally a Christian nation given that it recognizes Christmas?

puddin95

+1

thinkagain

Jesus said IF we deny him then HE will deny us before the Father.

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