Okay....a few years ago I would have been on the extreme side of this issue, but now I can see the grey in it.
So there is an athiest group who says that not only are memorial crosses set up by states a violation, but by allowing family members/friends put up the crosses on public property...such as along highways where their family member died...it is also a violation.
Okay I can see this point for when a group takes a presumption move to do a cross for all/everyone who died on that stretch--after all, they would take offense if some one put up, say, a cresant&star or star's of David or pentacles for a friend/family member of theirs.
I still remember the contriversy, and rightly so, about Mormon groups who were performing "baptisms" over graves without permission or regards for the families.
Now like I said--if the groups were to ask the families if they minded a cross to go up I think it would be different--although I also think they need to be willing to put up a different religious symbol if the family so desires it.
Oh an in case anyone is wondering--yes there is an accepted symbol for Athiests. According to the Pentagon...at least the symbols they use on headstones...the symbol looks like a representation of an atom (see below, oh and that's a letter A in the center).
Now some of you might be going "cool peice of trivia" but really its more than that....it means that the military--who just went thru 0ver 20yrs of court fighting the wiccans over their symbol under the basis that there was no national representation--recognizes Athiests as an orginized group of people with a like belief system...to me that sounds like, um, a religion!!!!
But this issue while interesting will have a bigger impact for the taxpayer---
IF the courts find that putting crosses, and therefore any symbol is a kin to the government promoting a religion, and therefore can not happen....then the taxpayer will have to pay to replace every military headstone across the US and any that are located in other countries.
So we will be talking every headstone that was produced since at least the Civil War if not before that. We are talking millions, if not a billion, headstones....each-if we chose to be conservative-costing round $300.
Now I know that in the grand scheme of the national budget....it doesn't seem like much...but in Fort Snelling alone there were 172,000 graves in 2006--@ $200 each, that would be $34,400,000!
In Arlington Cemetery--possibly the best known military cemetery--the only number I can find for there is "over 300,000" with average of 28 new graves added everyday--so we are talking at the very least $60,000,000!
Now you have to remember that there are National Cemetaries in the 48 continental states + Hawaii & Alaska...but there are also cemeteries in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Phillippine Islands---139 in all....and that does not include the State military cemeteries, because they are ran by the states the VA doesn't keep records for them.
So you see....it is a very conveluted but relavent discussion we should all pay attention too.
So where do you stand on the issue? Would love to have some comments...I just ask that we kee the evangelical responses to a minimum--we are discussing not "witnessing" here.
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