Don't Get Cross With Me
Date Added: Feb. 3, 2004
Separation of church and state, the result of a U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution's First Amendment, has been a hotly contested issue for decades. How that separation should be interpreted and enforced has been at the heart of such issues as the Pledge of Allegiance in schools and the Ten Commandments in state courthouses. But does the separation mean that war dead buried in government-owned cemeteries must be interred only with secular headstones? Not quite.
Did you see in the news last week where the A C L U doesn't want any crosses on any Federal property.
Let them try and remove these!! What are these people thinking?? At what point do we say, enough is enough? Please pass this on to as many people possible as quickly as you can even if you normally don't do this type of thing. Some messages just need to be forwarded and this is most certainly one of them. Please take the time.
This chain letter has changed a good bit since it first surfaced in 2002. In its current form, it appears to be warning conscientious Christians that the ACLU is out to remove crosses from government cemeteries. This is not true, nor was it probably the intent of the chain's original author.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Over the years, that provision has been interpreted to say that government must consider all religions or none at all in its policies. To include one faith's beliefs, icons or traditions in government-sponsored activities or facilities, to the exclusion of others, has been ruled in many high court cases to violate the first amendment, hence the court's requirement of a "separation of church and state."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) frequently draws criticism from Christian interests and others because it advocates for absolutely no government-sanctioned religion. It is the ACLU that backed lawsuits regarding the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and the propriety of the Ten Commandments in an Alabama Courthouse. What rankles most is the ACLU's insistence that the First Amendment guarantee of free religion includes the choice to follow no religion, thus any tolerance by the government of any one religion is seen as a violation.
In its original form, the letter above was a patriotically charged and good-hearted jab at the ACLU. As it has circulated, the irony it originally played up has slid away as many forwarders take the message literally and assume the ACLU really is going after crosses in military cemeteries. In a statement, the ACLU denies such actions:
"The ACLU is not pursuing, nor has it ever pursued, the removal of religious symbols from personal gravestones. Personal gravestones are the choice of the family members, not the choice of the government. The ACLU celebrates this freedom to choose the religious symbol of your choice."
Some versions have identified the cemetery in the picture as Arlington National Cemetery and went as far as to assert that the ACLU was, indeed, going after that revered institution. It is not. In fact, the picture depicts a cemetery in Europe. Break this Chain.
References: ACLU Religious Liberty, Snopes.com