Anglican Samizdat

October 10, 2009

Expunging the Cross from our civilisation

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 1:04 pm

For once I agree with the ACLU – sort of:

Perched high above the ground in the middle of California’s Mojave National Preserve is a two-metre-tall structure known simply as the cross in the desert.

The white cross, erected 75 years ago by veterans to honour soldiers killed in the First World War, has plunged the U. S. Supreme Court once again into a debate on the separation of church and state.

In trying to defend the cross that sits atop Sunrise Rock, Justice Antonin Scalia has raised a far thornier issue: What does the cross represent? Is it a religious symbol of Christianity, and therefore an affront to other religions? Or is it simply a common symbol marking the place of the dead, which therefore transcends religiosity?

For now, the cross — made out of metal pipes — is covered with plywood to hide its significance.

The Supreme Court case, which is actually over complex land transfer rules, has prompted a fascinating philosophical exchange.

Peter Eliasberg, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, told the Supreme Court many Jewish war veterans would not wish to be honoured by “the predominant symbol of Christianity” and that the cross “signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind.”

The lawyer is right: of course the cross “signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind.” To pretend otherwise in an effort to surreptitiously slip Christian symbolism into public life is less than honest. The real problem is, the Cross and what Jesus bought for us when he died on it, is the foundation upon which Western civilisation was built: remove it and our concepts of good, evil, justice, charity, fairness, the sanctity of life and human dignity will all be blown away by the first puff of wind.

It has already begun: scientist, Peter Singer advocates infanticide for “defective” babies; situational ethicist Joseph Fletcher advocated decontaminating our gene pool by weeding out “idiots” and the “diseased” through compulsory abortions; Linus Pauling proposed a policy of segregating genetic “inferiors” by branding them with indelible marks; transhumanists like Lee Silver wish to develop human chimera (something that has already been done in the UK) by combining human and animal DNA to “improve” the species. These ideas have infiltrated today’s society, unfettered as it is by the restraints once imposed by the morality of the Cross. What a nightmare.


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