CROSS BELONGS ON PUBLIC LAND
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today on the constitutionality of a seven-foot cross placed on public land in the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California. Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the case:
In 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “this is a Christian nation.” Ever since, radical secularists have tried to stamp out that reality, holding that it excludes non-Christians. It does, and that is because this country’s founding was not the work of non-Christians: to be precise, it was the work of Protestant, white, heterosexual men. Not Catholics or Jews, not blacks, not homosexuals, not females. As the New York Times likes to say, “That’s All the News Fit to Print.”
Yet it is the New York Times that is today carping over the cross. Defensively, its editorial begins by saying that this case leads to such overheated charges as, “There is a war against Christianity under way; or civil liberties groups are trying to turn this into a secular nation.” Both accusations are accurate. Consider who is bringing suit against the World War I veterans who first erected the cross in 1934—about a generation after the high court proclaimed we are a Christian country—the ACLU. In two books, I have documented the anti-Christian animus that has marked the ACLU from its founding in 1920. And in Secular Sabotage, published last month, I document the multi-group effort to turn this country into a secular nation. Thus, the Times is twice wrong.
One reason the Times is wrong is its faulty sense of history: it is simply not true to insist that the founders said “there must be a wall of separation between church and state.” That metaphor was broached by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 in a letter to Baptists, and two days later he went to church services in a government building, the Capitol, thus making mince meat of the argument that he wanted a wall between church and state. So if Mr. Church and State thought it okay to have Christian services in a taxpayer-funded building, does the Times or the ACLU really think that Jefferson, or any of the founding fathers, would object to a cross—privately funded—on public lands honoring veterans, almost all of whom were Christians?