I read the recent debate about the Mount Soledad cross with considerable pleasure. It's comforting to see that the contributors to the American Thinker are independent enough to have some issues they disagree about and that they can do so with civility and good humor.
I was therefore encouraged to add a few footnotes:
1. The cross became a traditional symbol of military deaths largely because, in the days before political correctness, makeshift graves at battle sites were usually marked with wooden crosses, simply because they were easy to construct and erect.
2. But there is a much deeper connection, one which is not religious at all. Any non—Christian who reads the story of Jesus Christ, assuming the story to be fiction and the Gospels mere myths, would nonetheless be deeply impressed by the story of a man who, foreseeing his death and having the option of refusing it, voluntarily sacrificed his life for the sake of his people. This powerful image makes Jesus the perfect icon of the soldier who gives "the last full measure of devotion." And thus the cross has become a universal symbol of self—sacrifice and a frequent figure of speech ("a heavy cross to bear") even among non—believers.
3. I think we all should listen carefully to Joseph Crowley. All religion in America is under attack by secularists. The focus for the moment is on Christianity, simply because it is traditionally the predominant religion, but all public expression of religion is in danger. if you don't believe this, spend an hour going through the archives of the Catholic League website; the virulence of these attacks will astonish you.
Those of you who are Jewish should note that the ACLU has also, with some success, sued to have public displays of the Ten Commandments removed from courthouse grounds. Other targets of attack include the existence of congressional and military chaplains, the exemption of churches and synagogues from taxation, the motto "in God we trust" on our coins, and the use of the Bible for swearing in witnesses. It therefore behooves all religious people to support rather than snipe at each other. Perhaps Mount Soledad is as good a place as any to make a stand.
Paul Shlichta 8 29 06