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's picture
thinkagain

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

Stop It

"Your" god is not everyone else's god. The sooner you get used to it, the happier you'll be. Your preaching in here has gathered you zero xtra parishioners as far as I can tell.

If ANYONE that comments on this site has turned toward thinkagain's god because of him, please speak up. I find his god too unforgiving. Especially if he created us.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

If the Pharisees, who studied the Scriptures day and night could not recognize their Savior, I don’t expect you to be able to either. That is because the truths of God can be known only by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

Maybe like myself, one day you’ll be looking up at a night sky, pondering in awe the wonder of our universe. What would you do if the Creator of all that infinity, made His presence known to you? And knowing that Jesus made that reunion possible, do you think you would still be in support of others not finding what you had found?

The night of my new birth, I remember the blinders coming off of my eyes in a dramatic and instantaneous regeneration of heart and mind. God became real and alive to me, not just off sitting on a cloud somewhere looking down… but next to me. God became as real to me as any person could be.

We are all born into this world, but there is a spiritual birth that awaits those that seek Him.

How can they understand before they are born again? Seekers must simply receive Him as their Lord and Savior. Even if the Bible didn't exist, I would still be a Christian.

Stop It
Fri, 12/27/2013 - 5:05am
“The gov't stole my home and my job. I’m old, unemployed and living with my mom. Been through catholicism , protestant, baptist , fundamentalist, evangelicalism, and pentecostalism.”

The truth is, life tested your faith, and unlike Job, who refused to curse God, you blame Him for all your shortcomings.

Now, you’re just a bitter old Christaphobe, who spends his days trolling and lashing out after the comments of Christians. Mocking, ridiculing and blaming God and Christians to shore up your low self-esteem after failing at life.

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

Stop It

Again....your god is not my god. My god does not damn it's creation to eternal hell. It forgives.

santown419

Haha miss stop it your god forgives but you know nothing but hate. Your god you are full of sh!+. Santan doesn't know forgiveness.

Stop It

And I thank you for the compliment, santown. May your day be as bright and shiny as mine is.

santown419

Your welcome I hate when someone lies just to see themselves or hear themselves.

puddin95

+1 for think again.

Dwight K.

People can have their religions and what not, but Why does everything have to have god/Jesus included into it? If someone has a surgery people say oh this is gods plan or gift...uh where's the credit to the surgeons? After all they did do the surgery.

From the Grave

...Christ

norcalbuckeye

What if all the people in that town, or that county dont mind, or like the crosses ? I dont think someone from 1000 miles away , or uncle sam should dictate what happens there. Seperation of church and state has 0 to do with this type of senario. That government is not dictating to you what to practice. Israel has the Star of David on their countries flag, and people are allowed to worship other ways there.

Nemesis

Israel was EXPLICITLY founded as a Jewish nation.

What if all the people in that town decide that women have to wear burkhas? This is the USA, and the Bill of Rights applies everywhere in the country.

Informed

The government is not allowed to endorse a religion. That is in the constitution. Period.

Bleeding Turnips

I was born and raised catholic and attended St. Mary's. I remember that we were taught not to judge others, yet I see a lot of "judgement" from Christians. Whether crosses are displayed on government buildings or nativity scenes are in town squares at Christmas, these have no bearing on how I celebrate Christian Holidays.
This ridiculous notion that my religion is right therefore your religion is wrong needs to end. That's the mentality of the terrorists, only they take it to the extreme and kill those who choose to worship differently.
Let's leave the governments out of religion totally, all religions. Worship how you choose to, and allow others to do the same. I'm pretty sure that the message of Christ that I was taught, was to love others no matter who they are and to worry about my own affairs. Jesus showed tolerance and compassion, shouldn't we at least do the same? Especially at this most holy time of our Christian faith... Let it go

Nemesis

"This ridiculous notion that my religion is right therefore your religion is wrong needs to end."

If you stop and think about that for a minute, you should realize that it's a call for the end of religion.

If you say the sky is red, I cannot say it is blue without asserting that you are wrong.

But, hey, I understand.....logic is hard.

Nemesis

double

Tsu Dho Nimh

Why does a group in Wisconsin need to question what is going on in Steubenville, OH? Are the fine folks in Steubenville bothered by what ITS city has chosen to display? Has Steubenville refused to display symbols of other holidays associated with Jewish or Muslim faiths? This is a bunch of nonsense. Worry about your own community and let Steubenville take care of itself.

Nemesis

There must be a local resident acting as the named plaintiff or they wouldn't be able to establish standing.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Not necessarily. Many of these groups go around trying to find/create a controversy.

Kottage Kat

He is Risen
The Tomb is empty
Praise GOD
May each of you have a blessed " holiday"
How many of those here will have Easter baskets, and decorations for their children?
Just curious.

SamAdams

I'll be spending the day working in my garden. No bunnies out there! At least that I've found yet, LOL! And indoors, there's nary a colored egg or a cartoon chick to be seen. No Peeps in the cupboard, either!

I'm going to assume you're going to church. And I honestly don't care! That's not disparaging of your choices, but rather making the point that it's none of my business. As long as you're not hurting anybody else in your own pursuit of happiness, why on earth should anybody else make an issue of it? The town displaying the crosses has already made an issue of it, and it would just add insult to injury if the town then refused to treat other religions with equal recognition and respect.

As for those who've commented on the attitude some have that "I'm right, you're wrong!" or "Mine is the one TRUE religion!" I'd just like to say: We're ALL going to hell by SOMEbody's definition!

Stop It

Amen, Samantha.

Kottage Kat

Son Rise service.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Hallelujah, He is risen!

Kottage Kat

*

pntbutterandjelly

Keep all religious symbols off tax-payer buildings. That portion of the problem is solved easily.

Truth or Dare

Hey, it's as simple as Google, if you want to find the true origins of Easter and Christmas, which are both based in ancient pagan worship of Gods and Goddesses. Heck, every day of the week of our Roman Calendar is named after a God, ancient Roman Gods. Christ rode that donkey into town to observe the Passover Feast, just 1 of 7 He was raised to observe. They can be found by researching the Old Testament. The compromising of Christ's Christianity happened a long time ago, and yep, in Rome.

Remember the story of Christ getting angry and throwing the money-changers out of the Temple? There was a reason for that! There is no place for a cross on a government building, or any other religious symbol. The only symbol that should be on the side of any government building is a huge $$$$ sign.