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Freedom From Religion Foundation takes silliness to a whole new level

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose highly selective quotation of America’s Founding Fathers was exposed in a previous post of mine, is at it again: they’re threatening to sue over the display of a Star of David on a proposed Holocaust memorial outside the Ohio Statehouse. Readers can view the design here. When I first read about this, in a post by David Klinghoffer over at Evolution News (see here for an earlier one by Bruce Chapman), my reaction was one of incredulity. “Surely they can’t be serious,” I said to myself. But they are.

The state of Ohio will be contributing $300,000 for the preparation of the memorial site, in addition to $2,000,000 in private donations, which will cover most of the cost of the actual monument itself.

The basis of the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s complaint is that the proposed Holocaust memorial includes a Star of David, which (they allege) is a religious symbol. I think their complaint is wrong on two counts.

First, there’s no physical Star of David in the memorial itself. There’s just a star-shaped hole. This was pointed out by the Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, in a very fair-minded article on the memorial, who describes it as “two giant tablets… with a Star of David in the negative space between them.” So the state of Ohio could argue (justly) that its funds aren’t going towards the construction of a Star of David as such – just two tablets which leave a star-shaped gap between them, when they’re placed adjacent to one another.

Second, the Star of David isn’t a religious symbol. According to an article by Ariela Pelaia, a professional Jewish educator with masters degrees in Jewish Studies and Jewish Education, titled, Does the Star of David Have Religious Significance in Judaism?”, the Star of David has no religious significance whatsoever:

The Star of David is a six-pointed star made up of two triangles superimposed over each other. In Judaism it is often called the Magen David, which means the “shield of David” in Hebrew. It doesn’t have any religious significance in Judaism but it is one of the symbols most commonly associated with the Jewish people…

The origins of the Star of David are unclear. We do know that the symbol hasn’t always been associated exclusively with Judaism, but was used by Christians and Muslims at various points in history…

Tracey Rich provides further details about the Star of David in a carefully researched article over at Judaism 101:

The Magen David (shield of David, or as it is more commonly known, the Star of David) is the symbol most commonly associated with Judaism today, but it is actually a relatively new Jewish symbol. It is supposed to represent the shape of King David’s shield (or perhaps the emblem on it), but there is really no support for that claim in any early rabbinic literature. In fact, the symbol is so rare in early Jewish literature and artwork that art dealers suspect forgery if they find the symbol in early works.

Scholars such as Franz Rosenzweig have attributed deep theological significance to the symbol. For example, some note that the top triangle strives upward, toward G-d, while the lower triangle strives downward, toward the real world. Some note that the intertwining makes the triangles inseparable, like the Jewish people. Some say that the three sides represent the three types of Jews: Kohanim, Levites and Israel. While these theories are theologically interesting, they have little basis in historical fact.

The Magen David gained popularity as a symbol of Judaism when it was adopted as the emblem of the Zionist movement in 1897, but the symbol continued to be controversial for many years afterward. When the modern state of Israel was founded, there was much debate over whether this symbol should be used on the flag.

Today, the Magen David is a universally recognized symbol of Jewry. It appears on the flag of the state of Israel, and the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross is known as the Magen David Adom.

I was intrigued by Tracey Rich’s mention of the Zionist movement’s adoption of the Star of David in her article, so I did a little follow-up research. Theodor Herzl’s original design for the flag of Israel is described here. The flag of the First Zionist Congress, held in Basle, Switzerland, in 1897, looked like this:

The current design for the flag of Israel, which features two blue stripes and a large blue Star of David in the center, was accepted as the official Zionist flag at the Second Zionist Congress, which was held in Basle, Switzerland, in 1898.

The point I want to make is that both the First Zionist Congress, which adopted the original design in 1897, and the Second Zionist Congress, which adopted the current design in 1898, were convened and chaired by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement, who was – wait for it – an atheist, according to Amos Elon’s 1975 biography, Herzl, (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, ISBN 978-0-03-013126-4, p. 23). So much for the absurd claim that the Star of David is a religious symbol.

Here’s a question for the Freedom From Religion Foundation: if the Holocaust memorial which is planned to be built outside the Ohio Statehouse had featured an Israeli flag and not just the Star of David, would they have opposed it? One wonders.

The FFRF might argue that the Star of David was given a religious meaning by Kabbalists (Jewish mystics) in the Middle Ages. But that doesn’t suffice to make it a religious symbol. To prove that the Star of David is a religious symbol, one would have to show that the Star was originally a religious symbol (which is doubtful, given that its historical origins are murky) and that it has continued to be used as such, right down to the present day, or that at some point it came to acquire a religious significance, to such a degree that a particular religion (in this case, Judaism) came to own the symbol (which it clearly doesn’t).

Think of it this way: suppose you saw an atheist wearing a cross around their neck. This might (reasonably) strike you as a contradiction of their professed lack of belief in a Deity. Now suppose that the atheist were wearing a Star of David instead. Is there a contradiction here? I think not.

In its a letter to State Senator Richard Finan, the Freedom From Religion Foundation states that “Numerous federal courts have indicated an understanding that the Star of David is in fact a sectarian, sacred religious symbol.” It them proceeds to list several relevant cases. I’m no lawyer, but the question I would ask is: have they actually ruled on the matter? If so, what was the basis of their doing so? If not, then aren’t they open to challenge on this point?

I might add that the proposed Holocaust memorial at the Ohio Statehouse was designed by none other than Daniel Libeskind, the son of Holocaust survivors and the master architect behind the reconstruction of the World Trade Center. Libeskind also designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, whose shape is reminiscent of a warped Star of David (Betsky, Aaron, 1990, “Berlin’s new cutting edge: architect Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum rediscovers the city’s lost soul,”
in Metropolitan Home, December 12, 1990, pp. 60-61). Would the Freedom From Religion Foundation object to this too?

Or what about the Holocaust Memorial in Athens, Greece, which is made of yellow marble blocks depicting a broken up Star of David? Would the Freedom From Religion Foundation find this objectionable as well?

For that matter, how about the Zanis Lipke monument in Riga, Latvia. The prophet Isaiah’s words are carved on the left side of the monument: “… I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off” (56:5).

Or what about the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, Hungary, which includes an actual synagogue?

Compared with these, the proposed Holocaust memorial outside the Ohio Statehouse looks tame indeed.

A search of the Internet revealed that the use of the Star of David is very common, in Holocaust Memorials around the world.

For instance, there’s the Buenos Aires Shoah Museum in Argentina, which features the Star of David logo (see here and here).

And there’s the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, France with a very large Star of David over the front entrance.

In Canada, there’s the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, a non-profit organization incorporated under federal jurisdiction since 1991. The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre is a museum, dedicated to Holocaust education and awareness. Here’s the monument in front of the Museum, courtesy of Jean Gagnon and Wikipedia:

Notice the Star of David?

And here’s the Holocaust memorial in Klooga, Estonia, courtesy of Sander Sade and Wikipedia:

Finally, here’s the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia, courtesy of Raso and Wikipedia:

I have to ask: if having the Star of David in a Holocaust Memorial is good enough for these countries, why does the Freedom From Religion Foundation think it isn’t good enough for the United States of America?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation didn’t stop there. They wrote a letter to State Senator Richard Finan, alleging that the proposed Holocaust memorial ignored non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust:

Even if the symbol is viewed in the context of a memorial honoring victims of an atrocious genocide, it ignores the fact that there were other victims of the Holocaust. Thus, it gives the impression that only the Jewish victims of the Holocaust are being honored by the state… There were five million non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma Gypsies, resisters to the Nazi regime, Catholic priests and Christian pastors, homosexuals, the disabled, and Africans who were brought to Germany following World War I.

What this overlooks is that the wording on the proposed Holocaust memorial is set to say, “In remembrance of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust and millions more including prisoners of war, ethnic and religious minorities, homosexuals, the mentally ill, the disabled, and political dissidents who suffered under Nazi Germany.” So much for lack of inclusiveness.

The Friendly Atheist notes that “Yad Vashem, the ‘world center for Holocaust research,’ doesn’t have precise numbers but their estimate of non-Jewish victims is significantly smaller than the 5,000,000 cited by FFRF.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, in its bid to block the construction of the proposed Holocaust Memorial outside the Ohio Statehouse, has taken silliness and pettiness to a new level. It is to be hoped that the people of Ohio will fight back, with every legal means at their disposal.

17 Replies to “Freedom From Religion Foundation takes silliness to a whole new level

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    It is just wrong to ban any symbol of faith in a nation built on the reasonableness of liberality about religion.
    There is nothing to construe that religious symbols should be off public property. Its not pushing religion by the state but just allowing religion its place as a expression of the people.
    I don’t agree with this holocaust thing as its using the official government to recognize foreign history as important to America.
    They do this with the holocaust museum and others probably and I see it as a attempt to exalt and emphasize Jewish history as relevant to American history.
    Its morally wrong surely.
    They don’t parade other nations/peoples history as so relevant as holocaust history.
    The money should be used for Americans, perhaps better schools teaching one to defend ones own nation from foreign history, and not stamping American public land with death remembrance unless its ones own people.
    These things should be opposed and banned but the good American people wouldn’t have the nerve.
    No foreign history is worthy of recognition by a native population on its native government buildings and land and surely not about death .
    They are forcing people to identify their country with the history and misery of foreign peoples and nations.
    America for the Americans and no death memorials . Yuck.

  2. 2
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Isn’t it illegal in your country for the government to endorse or approve a religion by, for example, building a big monument with a symbol of that religion on it?

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    The Star of David is not a religious symbol. You didn’t read the OP.

  4. 4

    Isn’t it illegal in your country for the government to endorse or approve a religion by, for example, building a big monument with a symbol of that religion on it?

    Putting a symbol of religion on a public building is not always seen as a government endorsement of that religion, but is also interpreted as a secular depiction of historical and cultural significance.

    The founding forefathers put Christian iconography and quotes on just about everything they built and printed.

    More recently, the courts have been in disagreement on what kinds of public land/building displays of religion are acceptable, most notably having to do with public displays of the 10 Commandments.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    OT-

    A public school in Delaware is planning on having a Bible class- about the Bible:

    Delaware school district considers class about Bible

  6. 6
    humbled says:

    What I would like to know is why the religious community is even allowing these terrorists to walk all over them?

    They’ve basically declared war on religion and if left unchecked could threaten your religious freedoms.

  7. 7
    Barb says:

    Robert Byers writes,

    It is just wrong to ban any symbol of faith in a nation built on the reasonableness of liberality about religion.

    There is freedom of religion here, but…

    There is nothing to construe that religious symbols should be off public property. Its not pushing religion by the state but just allowing religion its place as a expression of the people.
    …there is also that “separation of church and state” thing the US has. Religion may be expressed by its adherents in places of worship as well as in their own private homes.

    If someone wants to express his or her religion publicly, they are also free to do so, by wearing clothing or symbols of their faith, or by proselytizing.

    I don’t agree with this holocaust thing as its using the official government to recognize foreign history as important to America.

    “This Holocaust thing”? Really, Robert?

    They do this with the holocaust museum and others probably and I see it as a attempt to exalt and emphasize Jewish history as relevant to American history.
    Its morally wrong surely.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    Sorry for the capslock of rage. But you really are one of the most illiterate people I have ever come across. It is most assuredly NOT morally wrong to show respect and remembrance for a group of people.

    Your attitude is reprehensible.

    How is it not relevant to American history, since the Americans were the ones liberating the camps at the end of WWII?

    They don’t parade other nations/peoples history as so relevant as holocaust history.

    Try visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC sometime. There’s an entire section devoted to Jehovah’s Witnesses, who were also placed in the camps.

    And I do agree that there have been other genocides (Rwanda in 1994 comes to mind) that should be properly memorialized. However, I do believe that the number killed by Hitler (6 million) dwarfs some of the other genocides throughout the 20th century.

    The money should be used for Americans, perhaps better schools teaching one to defend ones own nation from foreign history, and not stamping American public land with death remembrance unless its ones own people.

    Better education would help you considerably. I’ll say it again: your attitude is reprehensible.

    These things should be opposed and banned but the good American people wouldn’t have the nerve.

    Go right ahead and be the first to sign an online petition against this memorial. I dare you.

    No foreign history is worthy of recognition by a native population on its native government buildings and land and surely not about death .

    Says Robert, who is apparently confused about who the real Americans are. Have you ever seen where the Trail of Tears begins? How about the Crazy Horse monument?

    You might be interested in seeing a list of memorials devoted to death and destruction: http://weburbanist.com/2008/05.....aftermath/

    They are forcing people to identify their country with the history and misery of foreign peoples and nations.

    America fought during World War II, which occurred at the same time as the Holocaust. Can you really be this ignorant?

    America for the Americans and no death memorials . Yuck.

    “Yuck” is quite possibly the best response to your xenophobic, hateful post.

  8. 8
    Phinehas says:

    humbled:

    What I would like to know is why the religious community is even allowing these terrorists to walk all over them?

    They’ve basically declared war on religion and if left unchecked could threaten your religious freedoms.

    Neither politics nor conflict are ultimately sovereign in the affairs of men. Nero declared war on Christianity too, for all the good it did him.

  9. 9
    vjtorley says:

    Hi CLAVDIVS,

    I’m from Australia. For the sake of convenience, I’ll quote what Wikipedia says about the situation in Australia:

    The Constitution of Australia prevents the Commonwealth from establishing any religion or requiring a religious test for any office:—

    Ch 5 § 116 The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

    The language is derived from the United States’ constitution, but has been altered. Following the usual practice of the High Court, it has been interpreted far more narrowly than the equivalent US sections and no law has ever been struck down for contravening the section. Today, the Commonwealth Government provides broad-based funding to religious schools and also funds school chaplains for public and private schools. All Australian parliaments are opened with a Christian prayer, and the preamble to the Australian Constitution refers to a “humbl[e] rel[iance] on the blessing of Almighty God.”[18]

    Although the Australian monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, also British monarch and Governor of the Church of England, her Australian title is unrelated to her religious office and she has no role in the Anglican Church of Australia. The prohibition against religious tests has allowed former Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Peter Hollingworth to be appointed Governor-General of Australia, the highest domestic constitutional officer; however, this was criticized.[19]…

    The current situation, described as a “principle of state neutrality” rather than “separation of church and state”,[19] has been criticised by both secularists and religious groups. On the one hand, secularists have argued that government neutrality to religions leads to a “flawed democrac[y]”[24] or even a “pluralistic theocracy”[25] as the government cannot be neutral towards the religion of people who do not have one. On the other hand, religious groups and others have been concerned that state governments are restricting them from exercising their religion by preventing them from criticising other groups and forcing them to do unconscionable acts.[26]

    Refs.
    [18] Preamble to Commonwealth of Australian Constitution Act (Imp.) 1900.
    [19] Hogan, M. (2001, May 16). Separation of church and state? Australian Review of Public Affairs.
    [24] Wallace, M. (2005). Is there a separation of church and state in Australia and New Zealand? Australian Humanist, 77.
    [25] Secular Party of Australia. (nd). The Separation of Church and State.
    [26] Davidson, S. (2009, Oct 27). Victorian abortion law: Overriding the conscience of doctors. Crikey.

    As for Jewish memorials and museums in Australia: my understanding is that the Sydney Jewish Museum, which features a Star of David in its interior, and the Jewish Museum of Australia, which includes synagogue tours and classes on the Jewish Sabbath (see here), receive minimal funding from the government (see here and here) and rely predominantly on private and community donations. “Minimal,” however, is not the same thing as “none.” I hope that answers your question.

  10. 10
    Robert Byers says:

    Barb
    I notice we don’t agree about stuff.
    I insist that a nation in its public expressions of its nationhood must not ever allow foreign history or any exaltation of a foreign people/nation on public grounds.

    You are saying religion has no place on government property . Yet its the religion of the native people. Its important but many, I think you, demand a ban.
    Then a foreign people, a great deal, puts up its foreign stories that have no place in the natives story.
    Its not about recognizing important things in human history.
    Its recognizing and, this is the intention, a foreign history as very relevant to a natives nation.
    The holocaust stuff is a special attempt to make the holocaust as important to americans as american history. Otherwise its not that important as they see it.
    So its constantly pushed that National/state/etc property recognize this history.
    It doesn’t happen for the black plague, or any other genocides.
    The holocaust is a famous and constantly invoked story.
    This is rather an attempt to make a nation embrace the holocaust story as alomst its own.
    I say the whole point of a nation expressing things on public ground is to only express the native nation.
    Foreigners are not worthy of attention regardless of the events.
    A mans home is his castle and not anothers castle.
    The poor Americans are forced to treat foreigners history in the same way as their own history.
    It is immoral and should be illegal to allow such remembrances of foreign history especially when the intent is to magnify the importance of that foreign history.

    Its that its done with public money and on public ground that is the rub here.
    A nation should not have any reference to death much less foreign deaths as part of their collective spatial expression of ones national soul.

    By the way WW11 was fought to maintain boundaries. Holocaust stuff breaks boundaries very personally.
    They are highlighting foreigners from a century ago unrelated to a interest in dying mankind ever since.
    I think people are sick and tired of them but in their kindness and empathy don’t have the nerve to say anything.
    Yet thats when a free strong patriotic people should say NOT on my porch.
    I care but dont presume to be equal to my own homes story.
    Its not about respect but about disrespect of a natives own home.
    America should discuss it and have a vote.

    America for the Americans. Only american story and history can be recognized when its a part of American identity by way of public protery and public monies.
    I think this Canadian is right.

  11. 11
    CLAVDIVS says:

    vjtorley @ 9

    Yes, thank you, but I do understand the situation here in Australia. Whilst our constitution uses very similar language to the US establishment clause, the law has developed along completely different lines. In simple terms, in Australia, the courts have interpreted the constitution to mean the government can do nearly anything it likes to favour or disfavour a religion, so long as it does not attempt to establish an official state religion. We have all sorts of government spending on particular faiths (at the expense of others), but nobody really seems to mind. If we did mind, the solution, as we see it, would be to vote the government out rather than litigate.

    However, in the US things are quite different. I’ve now had a chance to review some of the case law* and it is clear that the US government may not publically display any symbol that conveys approval or endorsement of a religion to the ordinary, reasonable, informed citizen because

    “[t]he effect on minority religious groups, as well as on those who may reject religion, is to convey the message that their views are not similarly worthy of public recognition nor entitled to public support. It was precisely this sort of chauvinism that the Establishment Clause was intended forever to prohibit.” — Lynch 1984

    However, William J Murray is correct there is some confusion. For example, in Lynch the Supreme Court ruled, by a slim majority, that a nativity scene was ok because it was togther with a Santa house, a Xmas tree and a “Seasons Greetings” sign that had been displayed together since 1943 and thus had a “legitimate secular purpose”. But in Allegheny a nativity scene was found unconstitutional (5-4) whilst a menorah ok (6-3) in the context of display on or near public buildings with Xmas trees.

    What I will say is I think the two arguments in the OP are very silly, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the argument that no symbol is being built, just a symbol-shaped empty space, is simply fatuous and any attorney making such an argument to a court would be asking for trouble. Secondly, it doesn’t matter if a religion’s adherents regard the symbol as an “official” symbol of their religion; what matters is whether the symbol’s display conveys a message of endorsement (or disapproval) of a particular religion or religion in general to the ordinary citizen.

    And thirdly, if the law is unclear in this area then one should be grateful there are public interest groups willing to take legal action to clarify things one way or the other. Personally I can see arguments on both sides – it would be foolish to deny the Nazis focussed their genocidal hatred on Jews, but it is also important to remember that the Nazis persecuted many other groups. But overall, if it’s against the law for the government endorse religion, then why is Ohio pushing on with a monument that puts them at risk of litigation by prominently displaying a Star of David? Isn’t that just a potential waste of time and money, for no apparent purpose?

    * Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU (1989), Van Orden v. Perry (2005) and McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005)

  12. 12
    Barb says:

    Robert Byers:

    Barb
    I notice we don’t agree about stuff.

    Gee, ya think?

    I insist that a nation in its public expressions of its nationhood must not ever allow foreign history or any exaltation of a foreign people/nation on public grounds.

    You can insist all you want; if your opinion isn’t based on facts, then it’s worthless. I insist on that.

    You seem to forget a basic tenet of American history: this is a nation of immigrants. Any historical monuments will, by virtue of this simple fact, be a monument to a foreign people.

    You also forget that the event that is being memorialized occurred during World War II. Please take note of the word “World” in the title there; everyone was affected, not just Americans or Belgians or Germans. Everyone.

    You are saying religion has no place on government property . Yet its the religion of the native people. Its important but many, I think you, demand a ban.

    The religion of the native peoples of this nation is not Christianity, and there are no memorials to the various deities worshipped by the Indians. I don’t think a ban would work. The point is that there is a separation of church and state in this nation, and there are plenty of places that aren’t funded by taxpayer dollars for believers to place symbols of their faith.

    Then a foreign people, a great deal, puts up its foreign stories that have no place in the natives story.
    Its not about recognizing important things in human history.

    In the case of the Holocaust, it is human history.

    Its recognizing and, this is the intention, a foreign history as very relevant to a natives nation.
    The holocaust stuff is a special attempt to make the holocaust as important to americans as american history.

    The Holocaust should be important to anyone, American or not. It serves to show what happens under a totalitarian government that cares little for its citizens. The threat of genocide is very real in several nations right now. If anyone cares about human rights at all, he or she should consider the Holocaust important.
    Otherwise its not that important as they see it.
    Says who?

    So its constantly pushed that National/state/etc property recognize this history.
    It doesn’t happen for the black plague, or any other genocides.

    I don’t know how many Holocaust memorials there are worldwide. The black plague is a disease, not a genocide. Please learn the difference.

    There’s also a small memorial to the holocaust in Rwanda. It’s a dirt-floor church/chapel filled with bones and skulls. It serves as a grim reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.

    The holocaust is a famous and constantly invoked story.
    This is rather an attempt to make a nation embrace the holocaust story as alomst its own.

    Did it ever occur to you that people living here in the US, born here as citizens, might have had grandparents who were imprisoned in the camps?

    I say the whole point of a nation expressing things on public ground is to only express the native nation.

    Maybe, maybe not. Remember that the Holocaust and WWII affected every nation in the world.

    Foreigners are not worthy of attention regardless of the events.

    Xenophobic much?

    A mans home is his castle and not anothers castle.

    How does this apply to public ground? We’re not discussing someone’s private home.

    The poor Americans are forced to treat foreigners history in the same way as their own history.
    It is immoral and should be illegal to allow such remembrances of foreign history especially when the intent is to magnify the importance of that foreign history.

    There is nothing immoral nor illegal about Holocaust memorials. Your opinion of them, though, is repulsive.

    Its that its done with public money and on public ground that is the rub here.

    Did you read the OP? $2 million dollars in private donations is paying for the monument, not taxpayer funds.

    A nation should not have any reference to death much less foreign deaths as part of their collective spatial expression of ones national soul.

    No reference to death? Can we raze the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to the ground, then? How about the battlefields at Gettysburg?

    By the way WW11 was fought to maintain boundaries. Holocaust stuff breaks boundaries very personally.

    By the way, your knowledge of history is pathetic. It was fought because a power-mad dictator decided that he wanted to literally rule the world. As part of his plan, he committed gross human rights violations against his own citizens as well as others. The Holocaust isn’t about national boundaries; it’s about making sure this doesn’t happen again, ever.

    They are highlighting foreigners from a century ago unrelated to a interest in dying mankind ever since.

    A century ago? The end of the war was 1945. And don’t say it’s unrelated when there are living relatives of those in the camps today. They might want to memorialize their relatives.

    I think people are sick and tired of them but in their kindness and empathy don’t have the nerve to say anything.

    I think kindness and empathy are good qualities to have.

    Yet thats when a free strong patriotic people should say NOT on my porch.

    Or, they could (in empathy) say, “We respect the dead and what happened was wrong. We’ll build this to make sure that we remember what happened and we won’t let it happen again.”

    I care but dont presume to be equal to my own homes story.

    What?

    Its not about respect but about disrespect of a natives own home.
    America should discuss it and have a vote.

    You don’t get to vote when it’s built with private donations. There are already Holocaust museums in various states, and nobody but you has a problem with this.

    America for the Americans. Only american story and history can be recognized when its a part of American identity by way of public protery and public monies.
    I think this Canadian is right.

    You are a sad little xenophobic nationalist. And I pity you.

  13. 13
    tragic mishap says:

    Texas fought and won a Supreme Court case over displaying the Ten Commandments at the state capitol building.

    It hardly matters whether the Star of David is a religious symbol or not.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    Thank God for Texas!

  15. 15
    wallstreeter43 says:

    The holocaust is a reminder of Human tyranny at its worst. I think its something we should never ever forget, and I for one am not against any religious symbols being shown in this type of setting. What are they going to show, the rediculous symbols of atheism which is a worldview that has no meaning, purpose, love or hope?
    Im a Catholic myself and I Have no problem at all with this the star of David being used at this memorial.

  16. 16
    wallstreeter43 says:

    Amen Mung 🙂

  17. 17
    vjtorley says:

    Hi CLAVDIVS,

    Thanks for the update on American case law. I was especially interested in this comment of yours (emphasis mine):

    I’ve now had a chance to review some of the case law* and it is clear that the US government may not publicly display any symbol that conveys approval or endorsement of a religion to the ordinary, reasonable, informed citizen because

    “[t]he effect on minority religious groups, as well as on those who may reject religion, is to convey the message that their views are not similarly worthy of public recognition nor entitled to public support. It was precisely this sort of chauvinism that the Establishment Clause was intended forever to prohibit.” — Lynch 1984

    * Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU (1989), Van Orden v. Perry (2005) and McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005)

    That clarifies the matter admirably. I have no legal expertise whatsoever, but I cannot for the life of me see why an ordinary citizen, upon seeing a Star of David featured in a Holocaust memorial, would draw the conclusion that the United States government endorses or approves Judaism. That strikes me as an unwarranted inference. Still, it will be interesting to see how the case pans out (for I have no doubt that the FFRF will sue).

    There is an interesting article in The Columbus Dispatch about the selection of architect Daniel Libeskind’s design by the specially appointed Holocaust Memorial Artist Selection Committee, despite legal concerns voiced by former Ohio Senator Richard H. Finan. Finally, I take your point that that the Nazis persecuted many other groups, but as I noted above, Libeskind’s memorial is dedicated not only to Jews who perished in the Holocaust but also to “millions more including prisoners of war, ethnic and religious minorities, homosexuals, the mentally ill, the disabled, and political dissidents who suffered under Nazi Germany.”

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