January 23, 2016
By Bob Cox
Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.
Recently, while attempting to compile a comprehensive overview of my family history, I came across a document that confirmed the application my grandmother made to have a veteran’s headstone shipped to Cripple Creek to mark the grave of her husband, William R. Cox. The discovery of the document caused me to further research the process of obtaining such a headstone and what can be included such a marker.
On the top center of the headstone is a simple cross. The cross is known as a Latin cross and shows that the deceased veteran was a Christian. I wrongly assumed that the Latin cross and the Star of David were probably the only choices for markings on the headstones. In fact, there are several other crosses, among which are Presbyterian, Russian Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Greek. There are several other versions.
Even the Star of David is not the only star available. The Bahai Star and the Muslim crescent and star are also choices, and while it certainly was not available when my grandfather died in 1954, one can even choose the Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer) to grace the top of a veteran’s headstone.
What brought all this to mind recently was a news story about a group of atheists in Belle Plaine, Minnesota who demanded that a large cross be removed from a local memorial. The memorial depicted a soldier kneeling at the grave of a fallen comrade, whose grave was marked with a cross.
The local veteran’s groups and the city gave in, and removed the large cross, replacing it with several smaller crosses that everyone agreed were “more appropriate.” That evidently did not satisfy some of the atheists who chose to rip the small crosses from the ground. Not only was that act a desecration of a venerated object it also defies logic.
That cross, like the cross on my grandfather’s grave, is just a symbol of what a person believes in, or believed in during his or her life. The memorial simply depicted a soldier recognizing his dead brother in arms. It was not an attempt by any government to “establish” a religion, which brings me to another point:
A surprising number of Americans believe that the words, “separation of church and state” are part of the First Amendment; they are not. In fact, if those people would take the time to read a little American History (a subject once taught in all schools) they would find out that the origin of that phrase is likely attributed to Thomas Jefferson, when he answered a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut; a letter that he wrote to bolster the First Amendment, not modify it.
Another symbol that certainly was not available fore etching on the headstone of an American hero at the time of my grandfather’s death is that the atomic symbol adopted by atheists. It is number 16 on the list of about 60 symbols on today’s application.
I have to wonder if a group of Christians would be all that upset if the Minnesota atheists were to have some sort of memorial built that showed a man standing at the grave of a friend, that grave being marked with the atomic symbol of atheism. I also have to wonder why these people that do not believe in God are so afraid of seeing any reference to him. After all, if I am wrong in my belief and God does not exist, I suffer no consequence. On the other hand, if they are wrong…
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© Robert R. Cox 2017