News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Analysis: Crosses logo and Las Cruces simpatico
I definitely favor the separation of church and state. Contrary to what naysayers would have us believe, the United States was founded as a secular nation despite the Christian beliefs of most of the founders. They had no intention of creating a theocracy. Of more importance, there is no rational reason to allow the country to become officially Christian (no one ever suggests Jewish, Buddhist or animist) today. Still, there are issues involving the First Amendment and religion that challenge even someone as steadfast as I am.
The opening phrase is interpreted to include any government, not only Congress, by application of the Fourteenth Amendment. That is the only way to prevent other forms of government from supporting establishment of religion. Issues involving the Establishment Clause usually arise at the local, usually county or city, level. That is what has occurred in one of America's most historically intriguing cities.
Fox News reports.
If this scenario were proposed, I would have no problem saying that it is forbidden by the First Amendment. I would say Las Cruces needs to choose another municipal symbol, one without religious connotations. I would be suspicious that the Christian Right is behind a plan to create a city logo featuring crosses. But the situation is not proposed, instead it is grounded in history. What became Las Cruces was explored by Spanish conquistadors in 1548. It was one of the mission towns that are common in New Mexico, Colorado, California and Texas. The name in itself, The Crosses, is religious. The specific reason for it has been lost to time, but there are anecdotes.
The city and its history are inseparable. Unless there is evidence that the logo influences how Las Cruces treats citizens or how it is perceived, I am inclined to leave the logo alone. Supporting the separation of church and state does not require ignoring the influence of religion on some aspects of American history.posted by J. | 6:40 PM