Hard core Christian religionists in America never miss an opportunity to use the people’s government to infuse their dogma into every important public issue or secular event, all the while asserting that God or Jesus Christ has something to do with it. They think the United States of America is their own Christian nation.
Naturally, this infuriates a minority of non-Christians who simply want to keep religion and government separate as provided by the First Amendment Establishment Clause of the Constitution. In short, there are many who don’t like the possibility of being governed by Christianity at the expense of liberty and constitutional right to a secular government.
A secular government doesn’t threaten or conflict with a Christian’s constitutional right to free expression of religion. The government’s constitutional obligation is merely to remain neutral in matters of religion, i.e., to stay out of it; not take sides. Government is public. Religion is private. Government in America is not supposed to promote religion – any religion – including Christianity.
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City had nothing to do with Christianity. The Trade Center was not a Christian church. The business activity going on inside those buildings on 9/11 was entirely secular. Never mind that, insist the hard core Christians; they want to use the 9/11 event to have government promote their religion anyway.
Within a few days after the disaster, some Christians “discovered” amid the mountain of twisted and tangled rubble two intersecting steel I-beams which appeared to them as a 17-foot Christian cross, the foremost symbol of their religion. They removed it to St. Peter's Church where it stood for almost 10 years. They prayed to it; ceremonially blessed it; and eventually deified it as the "World Trade Center Cross."
Now, it’s not exactly as though finding this “cross” of intersecting I-beams was a miracle or anything close to it. There is nothing spiritual or sacred about intersecting I-beams. The entire structure of both towers was built with a skeleton of thousands of intersecting steel I-beams – thousands of steel crosses – so this particular one really represents nothing more than a large piece of the wreckage.
One has to imagine it as a Christian cross; otherwise, it’s just another hunk of junk. Maybe I’m stupid, but I don’t get the connection. Surely these Christians don’t believe that Jesus Christ had something to do with the attack and then left this “cross” in the rubble as a reminder. Surely, they don’t believe that this “cross” represents God’s doing. And surely it has no religious significance at all unless the significance is manufactured.
Anyway, all well and good so far. The church is a perfect place for it. Christian crosses belong in private settings such as homes and churches. But last week, with the full blessing and cooperation of the United States government, they moved this now sacred Christian “cross” back to the disaster site to become a massive permanent exhibit and religious icon promoting Christianity at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.
In the interest of fairness, I suppose, the museum is going to exhibit also a Star of David cut from WTC steel along with a Bible fused to a piece of steel that someone found at the site. Again, I don’t get any connection between these items and the significance of the 9/11 terror attack. Would a first edition copy of Moby Dick fused to a piece of steel have any similar relevance?
Oh, they’ll no doubt rationalize their religious symbols in a government museum as a memorial to all the Christians and Jews who died in the attack. Of course they will, but remember, there were a number of innocent Muslims who died there too.
Can you just imagine the national uproar if Islamic religious icons – 17 feet tall WTC cut steel Islamic objects -- were displayed in a memorial museum at ground zero? No; the poor innocent Muslims, who had nothing to do with the attack, are having enough trouble building an Islamic outreach center three city blocks away.
In other similar news, a Texas lawmaker is calling for a congressional investigation of the Houston National Cemetery after he “went undercover” and determined that cemetery officials are preventing Christian prayers at the funerals of military veterans.
“The Obama administration continues to try to prevent the word God from being used at the funerals of our heroes,” whined Texas Rep. John Culberson. He claims he witnessed volunteer members of the honor guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars being prohibited by the Veterans Administration from using any references to God.
Well, yeah, but in fact, however, the Christian religious group was only advised that they must first obtain permission from the deceased veteran’s family before performing Christian religious rituals at their private funerals. "Out of respect for the families, VA’s policy exists to prevent anyone from disrespecting or interfering with a veteran’s private committal service,” explained a VA official.
How about that? The hard core Christians want to hijack the funerals of every deceased military war veteran as an opportunity to spread their gospel at a government sponsored service, whether the family wants it or not; whether the deceased was religious or not, Christian or not; and if anyone objects, they cry out for a congressional investigation.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, using the platform of his high office, is calling upon every governor in the United States to come together for a national day of fasting and prayer to his Christian God. The federal judiciary held recently that no average John Q. Citizen has standing to complain. By that reasoning, Congress could establish by law the National Evangelical Church of Jesus Christ, and no one would have standing to complain.
I realize that all this seemingly innocuous mixing of the Christian religion with American government seems petty and insignificant to the average American, especially to the majority of Christian Americans who welcome a government God on currency and in pledges – just so long as that God is Christian.
But these small constitutional violations can add up one atop the other until we find ourselves one day living in a Christian theocracy. There are several candidates running for president right now who would love that.
Liberty is at stake.
Hard core religionists have no respect for the Establishment Clause.