A federal court ruled that Utah must remove crosses planted alongside highways to remember state troopers killed in the line of duty. They concluded that the crosses violated the law by implying that “the state prefers or otherwise endorses a certain religion.” Many Christians are, predictably, outraged.
I addressed this issue back when the Christmas-vs.-holiday debate was raging. I referred to Steven Waldman, author of Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religion, who pointed out that the cross-defenders are destroying the meaning of the very symbol they’re trying to save:
In order for religious symbols to pass Constitutional muster, they often must have some “secular” purpose, so advocates of religious displays spend much time trying strip the item of its religious meaning.
So, in order to preserve its place in the cemetary, [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia secularized the cross. It became not an emblem of Christ’s love or sacrifice but instead a “common symbol of the resting place of the dead.”
In other words, the more you want Christian symbols in the public square, the more you have to prove they’re lacking religious meaning. A question for devout Christians: Do you really want the cross and the creche to become akin to the Christmas tree — or the Easter Bunny?