I want to warn my readers beforehand, this post will be a tad offensive. If you are politically correct, or liberal, then stop reading right now. In this post we will be discussing this country’s seemingly insatiable need to not offend anyone. People, the freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and the separation of Church and State does not mean we must avoid offending everyone. First, this is impossible. Second, that is clearly not what our Founding Fathers intended.
Let us take the case of the cross which has been erected at Ground Zero. Atheists are claiming the cross offends them. I will not here argue that it doesn’t offend them (although I have serious doubts about that). My argument is that it doesn’t matter. No matter what one does they will inevitably offend someone.
Are we really to remove a cross from a nationally hallowed place just because some cranky, hateful, self-absorbed Atheists want it removed? What harm is it causing? The government did not erect the cross. So the claim that allowing a cross at Ground Zero is a violation of the separation of Church and State is null and void.
It may be argued that the property is government owned. I don’t know that it is; but even if it is so what? People in this country want the cross there, not the government. The majority of this country is Christian. Why shouldn’t the cross be there?
I understand the image of a cross offends many, but at Ground Zero the cross isn’t meant as a Christian symbol. It’s meant as a remembrance of the lives we lost on 9/11. The cross is an ancient instrument of torture. What is the harm?
Our Founding Fathers were almost all Christian. Even those that weren’t had no objections to Christianity playing a public role. This is true of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Neither of these men were really Christian, but both encouraged it’s presence in public life. Thomas Jefferson actually encouraged religious services to be held in the Capitol!
We were never intended to avoid offending everyone. As I said earlier, this is impossible. No matter what you do you can find someone who will be offended by it. We were never meant to avoid all discrimination. This, too, is impossible. Discrimination is simply a part of life.
You wouldn’t hire a devout Christian to work for the American Atheist Association. That would be counter-productive. Discrimination is necessary in such a case. Similarly, you can’t just accept everything as true. Something is either true, or it is not. You can’t have it both ways. Here again, discrimination is necessary.
When you discriminate against someone they will probably be offended. That, however, is just a part of life. What needs to be determined is whose rights supersede the others’. In circumstances where two different groups are arguing over whose rights are being infringed upon, it must be decided which group’s rights are truly being infringed upon. In that circumstance, which group’s rights supersede the other.
In the case of the cross at Ground Zero, the atheists must lose. They want no symbols (even unintentional) of any religion in the public domain. As we have seen, however, this was not the intention of our Founding Fathers. They supported Christianity’s existence in the public domain. Furthermore, we can not allow the families of the victims at Ground Zero be denied their right to post a symbol of their choosing on the site where their loved ones died.
So let us give up this nonsense of avoiding offending everyone. It is impossible to avoid it. Instead, let us use our common sense, and allow a little bit of healthy discrimination. When you try to not offend anyone, you will eventually offend everyone.
Peace in Christ,
David J. Pollard
American Catholic Solidarity