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Tearing Down The Supreme Court

06/02/2005

In the vast expanse of California's Mojave Desert, a memorial honoring veterans of World War I has stood since about 1934. The courts have ordered that memorial torn down. Natural progression of this ruling could ultimately lead the destruction of dozens of other national sites, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

Originally, private citizens placed a cross atop Sunrise Rock in the Mojave Desert to honor fallen soldiers. More than half a century later, the Clinton administration federalized thousands of acres of land for preservation, including that portion of the Mojave. A few years ago, the memorial became the target of an ACLU lawsuit, which deemed it a "religious fixture" on federal land.

William Becker, Jr., a civil rights lawyer, asks, "Who really believes that a cross in the desert… establishes a government-endorsed religion?"

Apparently U.S. District Court Judge Robert Timlin believes so. He ordered the removal of the cross, then blocked an effort to swap that small section of land for private land so that private citizens could once again maintain the monument. He said in his ruling that "the government may not promote or affiliate itself with any religious doctrine or organization."

The First Amendment, the root of the so-called "establishment clause," simply states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"

By allowing the cross to stand, Congress passed no laws, nor was a religion established. The intellectual contortions displayed by some judges and lawyers defy logic. The First Amendment clearly prevents Congress from either legally sanctioning a specific religion or outlawing the expression of religious beliefs. Nowhere does it forbid government and religion from peaceful cohabitation. To assert that the Constitution prevents the government from affiliating itself with anything religious requires some serious twisting of the truth.

The lonely war memorial is by no stretch of the imagination a legal requirement to believe in Jesus Christ. So why litigate its existence? One reason: legal precedent.

Court cases build upon one another. Judgments are justified by previous decisions. Through a series of seemingly small rulings, the path to purging religion is paved. 

The Sunrise Rock case is not the first, nor will it be the last. The soldiers of secularism have been strategically striking at symbols across the States: a nativity scene here, a Ten Commandments monument there, and now a War Memorial in the remote desert.

Many people scoff at the notion that other religious symbols will be targeted. But one cannot ignore the fact that government is "affiliated" with many religious symbols and organizations.

The ACLU claims that federal cemeteries will be exempt from their attacks because "personal gravestones are the choice of the family members, not the choice of the government." But then, the cross on Sunrise Rock was a memorial chosen and erected by private citizens, not the government. An atheistic serviceman has the legal precedent to file a lawsuit ordering the removal of every cross in Arlington National Cemetery, citing the government's association with religious imagery.

The National Park Service, a division of the Department of Interior, manages countless historical churches, including St. Paul's Church in New York, which was used as a hospital following the important Revolutionary War Battle at Pell's Point in 1776, the famous Dunker Church at the site of the Civil War's Battle of Antietam, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which served as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights springboard. What is more religious than a church? 

As far as I know, the Bible is a religious book. Yet scripture is chiseled into countless government monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. Until recently, such reflections of faith were not equated with Congress passing a law establishing a religion.

Last time I checked, Moses and the Ten Commandments were right out of the Old Testament and Torah. Does that mean that all images of Moses and his tablets must be removed from government property? If so, orders will soon go out to renovate the rotunda of the Library of Congress, the floor of the entrance to the National Archives, and several sections of the U.S. Capitol.

As for the Supreme Court building, there are so many religious references and images that it makes the desert cross seem insignificant. But the strident secularists now have the legal precedent to shoot at bigger and better targets. When they finally make their way to highest court in the land, they may find it's much easier to just tear it down.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 753

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, randy.robison at loi.org

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.