by Edd Doerr
The Washington Post on Seprtember 14 devoted 5 columns and 2 photos to the ruckus over the veterans memorial 40-foot, 80-year old "peace cross" on public land in Bladensburg, Maryland, and the AHA's publicized request that be removed from public property. The AHA is described as a group that represents "atheists and others".
While this religious symbol on public land does raise religious freedom and church-state separation questions, many who would prefer to see the cross somehow relocated regard the AHA complaint as ill-timed. Couldn't it have waited until after November 6? More importantly, many strong supporters of church-state separation regard the AHA complaint as trivial, as a distraction from the really serious challenges to church-state separation that face voters nationwide on November 6, as a case of misplaced priorities.
Let us note that Romney, Ryan, the GOP national platform, GOP candidates for federal, state and local office, and powerful Religious Right and extremist groups are dead set on tearing down the constitutional wall of separation between church and state. They make no secret of wanting to -- 1. Wipe out or seriously restrict women's religious freedom and rights of conscience on reproductive matters, to impose on all women the malicious medieval minority misogynist morality of the Old Boys Club on the Tiber and the fundamentalist Religious Right; and 2. Force all taxpayers to support divisive faith-based private schools through school voucher or tuition tax credit (tax code voucher) schemes, to privatize education and wreck teacher unions, to change education to special indoctrination, to downgrade teaching to something resembling field labor.
Wasting time and energy squawking about highway crosses and similar trivia undermines the struggle to defend religious freedom and church-state separation that brimgs together humanists and enlightened Catholics, mainstream Protestants, Jews and others.