Historical markers & Religion
For the past few years, our country has been inundated with special groups who have insisted that historical markers which have religious significance in public buildings (such as the removal of the Ten Commandments in the Oklahoma State Capitol) be removed due to separation of church and state. But, are we really endorsing any particular religion or denomination with these historical markers or are they simply reminders and memorials of history?
Two weeks ago, I visited Arlington National Cemetery. I saw crosses and religious symbols used on the memorials, and I wondered if these historical/memorial markers would be questioned by these same groups? It is, after all, a government cemetery.
Currently the high court has agreed to allow the World War I memorial in Bladensburg, MD to remain on the government land, even though it is in the shape of a giant cross. According to Richard Wolf of USA Today, “The question before the court was, Does the 93-year old ‘peace cross’..violate the First Amendment, which prohibits government establishment of religion?” The Court ruled in favor of the cross remaining as a symbol of significance; however, in the future, it is doubtful that any symbol associated with any religion will be erected under any circumstances for the use of a memorial.
In a country which was founded on religious freedom and “one nation under God,” are we going too far in protecting the few who are offended by these symbols which have long stood for peace and goodness?