Religion & Politics: USF Fall 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Interpretation

I came across this article through a blog on another website and it caught my attention for a few reasons. The article talks about the most recent decision made about a cross that is placed on publicly owned property in San Diego. I’m from San Diego and have seen this cross many, many times (it’s located on Mt. Soledad... which is known for its view) and remember hearing little bits of the controversy over the cross for over 10 years of my life. I had completely forgotten about this issue until I came across this article.

The article just tells about the most recent legal attempts made involving the cross. I’m not interested in whatever decisions have been made/are going to be made regarding the cross (because its been the cause of a 17 year legal battle and has yet to actually be moved), I’m interested in the debate over the cross. In the article I read, it says that supporters of the cross “argue that it is the centerpiece of a war memorial that salutes veterans, not religion”. Even if this is the case, why is it a Christian cross that was chosen to represent the veterans? Why is it still a Christian cross? What about everyone else... many of whom were probably veterans?

The main argument used against the cross is the separation of church and state deal, naturally. I was reminded of part of an essay by Barbara McGraw that was published in the book Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously in which she stated, “the Constitution is a document that should be interpreted by reference to its underlying framework, principles, and purpose and not by reference to whatever majoritarian interests hold sway at any one time, whether religious or secular”. I feel that McGraw’s opinion really shows itself in action within this cross controversy. The “correct” solution to this problem seems obvious to me, yet the fact that the public has yet to come to an agreement shows us that there is no clear-cut right and wrong. This 17 year battle over this religious/political/social issue has been and will be a difficult one to end. McGraw feels that their needs to be this interpretation of our political framework, an interpretation that is left to many... many who don’t agree.

Check out the history of this controversy and the different arguments (any one of us could have written this so take it with a grain of salt)

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