A sculpture to honor World War II vets is set to be placed in an Indiana State park but the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants it know that creating a sculpture including the shape of a cross within it isn’t very inclusive to the faiths (and lack) of all soldiers who died for the country. Govorner Mike Pence will, of course, fight for its right to be there.
The Wisconsin-based atheist group last month sent a letter to Clark telling him that a cross attached to a new war veterans memorial statue has no place at the park. The park, about 80 miles east of Indianapolis, was formed in 1949 and dedicated to World War II veterans from Union, Wayne, Fayette and Franklin counties in east Central Indiana.
The 14-inch, white-painted cross is at the bottom of an 8-foot-tall wooden chainsaw-carved statue. At the top of the statue is a bald eagle perched above lettering that says, “All gave some; Some gave all.” One side of the eagle’s perch is an Indiana state flag. On the other side is a soldier.
“No secular purpose, no matter how sincere, will detract from the overall message that the Latin cross stands for Christianity and the overall display promotes Christianity,” Markert wrote.
That being Rebecca Markert, the FFRF’s attorney who couldn’t be reached for comment at the time. There’s rumor that the FFRF was considering serious legal action.
The debate over the cross erupted earlier this summer when a Liberty man sent a letter to the DNR after he saw the statue on display at the park because he thought the cross amounted to a government-sponsored “religious shrine.”
Veterans’ groups and other residents donated money to pay for the carved memorial. No taxpayer funds were used for the carving, which was donated to the park.
And it does look like a religious shrine to my eyes. The religious patriotism is well evident within the design.
The sculpture could honour everyone if the cross was removed. This way it really looks like it’s sponsoring the very incorrect notion that only Christians fought in the war. The only way this would be fair is if every other faith got to put up a statue honouring their fallen soldiers, too. There were Jewish soldiers, Wikipedia mentions:
During World War II, approximately 500,000 American Jews served in the various branches of the United States armed services. Roughly 52,000 of these received U.S. military awards. The historian Solomon Grayzel, in A History of the Jews: From the Babylonian Exile to the Present, records that more than a million Jews were officially enrolled in the fighting forces of the Allies and that the largest number were Jewish Americans. Grayzel gives a number of 550,000 Jews in military service in the United States during World War II out of a total population of 4,770,000 American Jews.
Nobody would ever say a star of David is all inclusive, so how can a cross be?