Monday, August 28, 2006

Crossed Up

This was Friday's news. I had a busy weekend, though, and so I'm just now getting to it.
Jewish veterans, local ACLU latest to sue over cross

By Greg Moran
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

August 25, 2006

The local chapter of The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit yesterday to force the Mount Soledad cross to be moved in the latest challenge over the La Jolla landmark's constitutionality.

The suit, filed in San Diego federal court on behalf of a national Jewish war veterans organization and three San Diego residents, is the newest development in an increasingly high-profile, 17-year legal battle over the cross.

On Aug. 14, President Bush signed a bill that transferred the ownership of the cross and war memorial site to the federal government, specifically the Department of Defense.
The story continues at some length, with the legal details and the who-says-what. But it's pretty much the standard story: "public" spaces of whatever flavor -- federal, state, or local -- needing to be disinfected from Christian symbols ... outrage-bait for evangelicals ... and so on and so on. Same tune, almost the same words.

Back in the day, I'd have joined in with the outraged evangelicals. Now, I find that I hope the get-the-cross-out-of-our-war-memorial lawsuit is successful. In fact, I hope most all such suits are successful.

Why? Am I ashamed of the Gospel? Am I no longer willing to acknowledge Jesus before men (Matthew 10:38)? On the contrary: the Gospel is lovelier than ever to me. It's the red-white-and-blue, and the Jezebel spirit for which it increasingly stands, that I'm ashamed of. H.L. Mencken put it (as usual) much better than I could have: "Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under."

Let me clarify by analogy. Let's say it's time for the annual Skull and Bones reunion. This year, it's being held in the White House, in honor of our currently-famous Bonesman alumnus, Dubya. Somehow, it leaks out in the press that the famous "adult" film starlet Fifi La Vroom has been invited to do a little interpretive dance for the boys. In Fifi's dance, it turns out, she doesn't use the simple, traditional brass pole; instead, she does the bump 'n' grind with a life-size brass crucifix. In due course, the ACLU sues for an injunction to prevent Dubya from showing undue partiality toward Christianity with this display of a crucifix on public property. Well, O Fellow Believer, I don't know about you ... but I'm pretty sure I'd hope for the ACLU to prevail. Not for their reason, of course, which would be to prevent this noble public proceeding from being sullied by contact with a Christian symbol. But couldn't we agree, in that hypothetical case, that it would be desirable -- fairly urgent, in fact -- to open up a little separation between church and state?

Not a good analogy, you say? Well, analogies are never really exact ... but they can be illustrative. Our creepy old Uncle (Sam, that is) does enjoy setting up shrines to commemorate his frequent homicidal rages, carried out with the cooperative opposition of his foreign counterparts. As he does so, he usually finds it convenient to suggest to the boobs that God Is On Our Side. And so, as distasteful as I would find the abuse of a symbol of my faith by a stripper in the pursuit if her livelihood, I find it even more distasteful when such a symbol is co-opted by mass murderers to put a favorable spin on their activities. So: go get 'em, litigious Jewish veterans. Go, you ACLU, go!

2 comments:

Pam said...

Great post!

Have you read "The Hijacking of Jesus" by Dan Wakefield?

Bartleby said...

Why, thank you!

I have not read Mr. Wakefield's book, although I have heard of it. Is it recommended?