Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Move Is On to Wipe Out Religious Symbols

Still the Cross: A Move to Wipe Out Religious Symbols
By Sarah Pollak
CBN News Reporter
September 23, 2004 – (CBN News) - There is something missing in Redlands, California. It is missing from the doors of the local government buildings. It has been covered over with masking tape on the sides of government vehicles, drilled out of fireman's badges, and colored over with magic marker on official city patches. It is the cross; a symbol that the ACLU says is so offensive, it must be removed from the city seal. And the ACLU threatened to sue Redlands unless the city government voted it off the city seal.
A staff attorney for the ACLU of southern California said, "By putting a Latin cross on its official seal, Redlands was effectively telling people of other faiths, and people of no faith, that they were second class citizens."
The removal of the cross angered many in Redlands, including pastor Don Wallace. Wallace, of Redlands Christian Center, said, "For me, personally, it was very offensive because I was born in this city, and that cross represents to me the love of God and the cooperation in our city between the churches and the government."
The Redlands City Council decided its town could not afford to fight a big legal battle to keep the cross on the seal, and voted to remove the cross. But the ACLU was not finished; there was a bigger city to challenge next.
Wallace said, "Just a few weeks after the city decided to remove the cross from our seal, a letter was sent to L.A. County."
The ACLU demanded that a very small cross be removed from the Los Angeles County seal. The cross was historical, there to represent the many Spanish missions that founded California.
Michael Antonovich, the L.A. County supervisor, said, "The county of Los Angeles was founded when the missions were created in San Gabriel by the missionaries from Spain. Their intent was to come to the new world and create the good news carrying out the great commission of Jesus Christ."
Regardless of the historical significance, the board of supervisors voted 3-2 to nix the cross. But while the ACLU had a problem with the tiny cross, it said nothing of the large Roman goddess dominating the seal.
Pomona is the goddess of fruit. She is still worshipped today by those who practice Numinism.
Many conservatives say the ACLU specifically wants to wipe out Christian symbols, while leaving pagan symbols alone.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, remarked, "The ACLU clearly has in its agenda the view that, what they call majority religions, Judaism and Christianity in the United States, are the two most likely to be censored and should be censored, in their view."
Antonovich said, "For the ACLU to use the stormtrooper tactics of the Gestapo or the KGB to irradicate this historical fact, is doing an injustice to the next generation, and an injustice to the history of the United States of America."
CBN News made repeated phone calls to and visited the offices of the ACLU of Southern California, but the group declined to give us an interview to answer any of these allegations.
As for what the people of L.A. County think, an unscientific online poll conducted by Los Angeles NBC affiliate KNBC showed that 92 percent are unhappy with the removal of the cross from the seal.
Thousands in both Redlands and Los Angeles have already signed petitions to get the cross back on their seals, and many have come to rallies in support of the symbol.
The assault against the cross in both seals have many Californians wondering where to draw the line, and what new religious symbol or reference the ACLU will go after next.
Pastor Wallace commented, "Are they going to have to change the name of Los Angeles?"