Community to hold meeting on calls to remove cross

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LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — Officials in western Michigan will hold a meeting this month to get public feedback on calls for the removal of a large cross that’s stood along Lake Michigan for decades.

The Michigan Association of Civil Rights and the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation say the Father Marquette cross, which is maintained with public funding, is unconstitutional.

The Ludington Daily News reports the Pere Marquette Township Board will hold the special meeting Jan. 23 in Ludington.

The two groups say the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits Pere Marquette Township from displaying and maintaining such religious symbols. Others contend the legal issues aren’t that clear cut.

Marquette was among the first Europeans to explore the area in the 1600s. The cross was built in 1955 on the spot where he supposedly died.

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84 comments

    • トムソン ジョージ

      It would be a shame to impose a religious tax on citizens to repair iconography of a religion they might not practice. Using tax dollars to repair an obviously sectarian monument forces people to financially support that religion. James Madison opposed a religious tax like that in Virginia.

      Is there a reason why this has to be a cross? I’m sure a statue or plaque that wouldn’t violate The Establishment Clause could be purchased for the proposed $75,000.

      • Ramon

        why shouldn’t it be a cross?
        For those that don’t like it, get religion and a life. You people are the problem that we face today and my grandchildren will have to endure. Everything today offends someone, If I don’t like something I take myself away from it, if the shoe fits lace it up and wear it. This world is becoming a sad sad place. And while you are at it type in american english instead of that foreign BS.

        • Netizen_J

          So you wouldn’t care if your taxmoney was being used to promote Buddhism or Islam? You wouldn’t care if your kid’s public schoolteachers led your child in prayers to Ganesha every day? Is it the government’s place to promote reincarnation as the ‘officially correct’ necrodestination? Or do you think that it’s ok for government to promote YOUR religion as the ‘officially correct’ one, but not anyone ELSE’s religion?

          I think you would be HORRIBLY offended if your town decided to promote Hinduism rather than Christianity as the ‘officially correct’ religion. But I don’t think you’ve actually thought through just WHY the Founding Fathers intentionally and explicitly refused to include either the words ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ in the Constitution.

    • Netizen_J

      It’s not a matter of anyone being ‘hurt’. It’s a matter of the rule of law. Government is not allowed to promote religion. Period. Not your religion, not my religion, not anyone’s religion. We have a right to be free from government promotion of religion – that’s what the Establishment Clause is about. Government promotion of religion is an infringement of our right to religious liberty. Religious liberty necessarily includes the right to be free from Government Religion. The Founders left us with a godless Constitution on purpose. The right answer here is for the government to sell this tract of land to some religious group, and let them pay to maintain this religious display out of their own money, rather than taxpayer money. Easy peasy. That’s what’s going to happen to the Bayview Cross in Florida, and to the Bladensburg Cross in Maryland. Do you want your taxmoney going to maintain a statue of Buddha, Ganesha, or Baphomet? No? So do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Someone very famous once said something really close to that; sure would be nice if the people who claimed to follow Him would actually listen to Him…..

  • Roberta Aldrich

    We loved following father Marquette trails.. It’s historical. I fell onto it while on vacation with a friend. It’s like finding buried treasure. I enjoyed it so much. Why on earth would anyone want to take away local history that is truly Michigan. Our future children will find us crazy.

    • トムソン ジョージ

      Because it violates The Establishment Clause as is. For $75,000 I’m sure a nice statue, plaque, or religiously neutral monument could easily be installed instead. Using government authority to impose a religious tax on citizens is a violation of their religious rights. Would you be happy if you were forced, via taxes, to pay for a Satanic or Islamic monument?

      • BerkleyWelsh

        I agree with you, the Establishment Clause is against favouring one religion over another, while the cross may represent the majority of what the locals believe in, it is unfair to the other citizens and their practices. Your proposal to have a statue or plaque is more appropriate and does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

    • Netizen_J

      The traitorous losers who attempted a rebellion in order to preserve their ‘right’ to own other human beings as chattel were ‘historical’ too. Does that mean that the government is obligated to preserve and maintain statues to ‘honor’ the likes of Nathan Forrest or Robert Lee? Of course not. Neither ‘traditional’ nor ‘historical’ holds any legal weight whatsoever in the face of the clear constitutional condemnation of ‘Government Religion’.

  • Clucko

    Whether it’s this case or any of the other totally BS lawsuits in the past that say the government is promoting any religion here’s an answer that I believe is worth a try. Have the entity that owns the property sell it, including the land it occupies, to a private group or individual with the stipulation that the property will be maintained. Since the property would be privately owned and not the government’s, the message delivered is not controlled by the government. In fact, if the property is removed, the rights free speech of the owner, the protection guaranteed by the First Amendment would be violated. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer for sure, but I think it’d worth a try.

    • トムソン ジョージ

      Be careful when selling land. Sweetheart land sales for religiously motivated purposes also violate The Establishment Clause.

      It would invalidate the budgeted usage of $75,000 for renovations, putting that burden on a private entity instead of forcing all citizens to fund a religion via taxes.

      • Clucko

        The state auctions off land all the time for various reasons. The intent of the buyer is of no consequence. Stop with the pseudo-legalize crap and use common sense.. It’s impressing no one.

          • Clucko

            That’s why I said the intent of the buyer is of no consequence, and that ultimate intent is known to the buyer, not the seller. By the way, where did the $75,000 figure come from?

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “By the way, where did the $75,000 figure come from?”

            Government funds earmarked for *renovating* the cross monument. The “maintained with government funds” mentioned in the article. That’s what brought this attention to the monument in the first place.

    • Netizen_J

      That would be great, other than the ‘stipulation that the property will be maintained’ part. The government has no legitimate interest in the continued existence of this or any other religious display. If the folks that want to maintain the cross don’t have the money to win the land-auction, that’s their problem, not the government’s. This is capitalism, isn’t it? Them what’s got the gold, make the rules. Ever thus.

    • Netizen_J

      There is no ‘war on religion’. There is a desire for the government to obey the rules. Government’s aren’t allowed to promote religion. Period. Not anyone’s religion. Not even the religion of ‘the majority’.

      As the Supreme Court put it: “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion. ” (330 US 1)

      To those accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression. That’s the sum total of the whinging and moaning going on here. No citizen has anything close to a ‘right’ to have government promote and endorse their religion as superior to all the others. Government is not allowed to act as if any religion is the ‘officially correct’ one.

      • Kevin Rahe

        Except you are completely wrong. This is not a religious display with the purpose of promoting a religion. It is a memorial on the grave of a historical figure important to the region. It is no different than a grave marker in any government-owned cemetery that includes religious symbols. Are you saying that all such markers are unconstitutional and should be removed?

        • トムソン ジョージ

          Kevin, this is a religious display and a memorial at the same time… but nobody knows where Marquette died or was buried, so it’s not a grave marker.

          The difference between this and a grave marker in Arlington National Cemetery is the representation of multiple religions on grave markers in that cemetery. Only displaying a symbol of one religion, that doesn’t even do a good job of identifying the person it’s meant to represent, violates The Establishment Clause as it’s an unnecessary entanglement of government and religion.

          A better solution would be a religiously neutral statue, monument, or informative marker that doesn’t invite legal action.

          • Kevin Rahe

            Actually, michigan.gov claims his remains are buried in St. Ignace. The two articles contain multiple facts that led me off track. One article merely says he died on the site in Ludington. This one says he was originally buried there but his remains were moved to St. Ignace. The fact that there are MULTIPLE religions represented on grave markers in Arlington is not what makes such displays Constitutional, though. If there were only a single grave there and it included a latin cross or a star of david, it still wouldn’t be unconstitutional.

            So this is neither a grave marker nor a mere sectarian display sponsored by the government, but rather a memorial to a particular individual. I’m not sure what you mean by “doesn’t even do a good job of identifying the person it’s meant to represent.” Do you mean that it’s a cross instead of a crucifix even though Fr. Marquette was Catholic? That is no issue – the Catholic church I attend has a cross – not a crucifix – on its steeple. So are you saying that there are limits to how a community can memorialize a historical figure who is important to them? (At least if they’re Christian. Unless you would impose similar restrictions on a memorial to someone who was an atheist?)

          • トムソン ジョージ

            Kevin, other articles and sources indicate that Marquette’s remains might’ve been taken or moved by other parties, like local Native Americans.

            “The fact that there are MULTIPLE religions represented on grave markers in Arlington is not what makes such displays Constitutional, though.”

            Incorrect. Giving equal treatment to multiple religions is not endorsing or establishing a religion. It is the reason that Arlington National Cemetery isn’t a constitutional violation.

            “If there were only a single grave there and it included a latin cross or a star of david, it still wouldn’t be unconstitutional.”

            Incorrect. That would be preferential treatment of one religion, which violates The Establishment Clause as it’s a way of establishing one religion as preferred by our government.

            “I’m not sure what you mean by “doesn’t even do a good job of identifying the person it’s meant to represent.””

            I mean that a person not familiar with Father Marquette wouldn’t look at the monument and draw a conclusion that it’s representing this explorer. They would see the internationally recognized symbol of a religion installed on government property, which is a violation of The Establishment Clause.

            “Unless you would impose similar restrictions on a memorial to someone who was an atheist?”

            If there were a memorial using only atheist iconography, I would object to that as well. Same for Islamic, Hindu, Satanic, Scientologist, Norse, or any other religion getting preferential treatment by our government. …especially when it results in a $75,000 tithe that citizens have no option for avoiding. That maligns the freedom of conscience that is the heart of our religious rights.

          • Kevin Rahe

            Essentially you’re saying that if the government sets aside a plot of land for the burial of an important person, that the memorial placed there couldn’t include the same religious symbols that it could if they were buried in a cemetery along with people of other faiths. I don’t think that the Constitution splits such hairs. If your sentiment reigns it might even call into question a municipal cemetery in a small community, where everyone buried there happens to be Christian, which probably do exist. Do you really think that going after such things is what the founders who signed off on the First Amendment intended?

            “a person not familiar with Father Marquette wouldn’t look at the monument and draw a conclusion that it’s representing this explorer”

            You could say the same about the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials on first glance. There are lots of monuments to individuals, groups of people and events that require closer inspection in order to understand their true meaning and/or who they are meant to honor.

            This display is unconstitutional only if you can say that its effect in promoting a religion outweighs its intended effect of honoring an individual. I think that once they understand the memorial’s purpose, no reasonable person would be concerned that it represents an endorsement of a particular religion or something negative about another.

          • Kevin Rahe

            If the same memorial were used to mark the place where someone who was only NOMINALLY Christian died, I think you would have a point. Or if the same memorial were erected in a place that had no particular attachment to Fr. Marquette, such as some small town in Michigan that he never visited, you might also have a point. But when a memorial to an important historical figure is put in a place significant to the person it honors, and accurately represents a key accomplishment or primary factor that motivated and guided their activities, whatever else someone might take it to mean – especially before they fully understand its purpose – is secondary at best.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            Kevin: “Essentially you’re saying that if the government sets aside a plot of land for the burial of an important person,”

            I’m saying that government burial sites that I’m aware of, and related court rulings, have addressed religious iconography in the way I’ve explained. If you know of important people buried on government land with religious iconography on their grave, I’d like to know so I could read more about the justification.

            “Do you really think that going after such things is what the founders who signed off on the First Amendment intended?”

            I think many of our founders opposed a government imposing on any citizens freedom of conscience regarding their religion. Forcing citizens to pay a religious tax was addressed by Madison, and Jefferson’s *Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom* which directly addressed citizens being forced by government power and authority to support, fund, or carry the burden of any religion. They separated from European nations that did impose with the goal of avoiding such mistakes.

            “You could say the same about the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials on first glance.”

            Neither memorial looks like an internationally recognized symbol of a religion at first glance. They also have statues of the people, which I’ve suggested multiple times as a replacement for this cross. There are several existing statues and pictures available as inspiration.

            “This display is unconstitutional only if you can say that its effect in promoting a religion outweighs its intended effect of honoring an individual.”

            It does, as it’s defining physical quality is an internationally recognized symbol of a religion. It is an unnecessary entanglement of religion with government and it advances a religion. That’s two of three prongs of The Lemon Test that it fails.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “government burial sites that I’m aware of, and related court rulings, have addressed religious iconography in the way I’ve explained”

            I cannot find a court ruling on a case similar to this one. Even the statement from the ACLU titled “Myths and Realities: Gravestones and Markers are Not In Danger,” contrasts gravestones containing religious symbols (which it defends as “entirely constitutional”) with cases where religious symbols were erected on public land without any stated purpose or where the group they were intended to honor may have included people who didn’t share the faith represented by the memorial (e.g. Buono v. Norton). I’ve read quite a bit about what the ACLU says about public displays that reflect religion but cannot find where it has ever addressed memorials on public land to individuals or even groups of people that ARE accurate with regard to the faith they possessed.

            “They also have statues of the people, which I’ve suggested multiple times as a replacement for this cross. There are several existing statues and pictures available as inspiration.”

            So while complaining about public funds being used for the memorial of a religious person you suggest that perhaps if even MORE money were spent (e.g. to construct a sculpture), the situation would be acceptable. (In fact, for all we know, the likely greater cost of such a memorial might be the reason it was constructed as it is in the first place.) But even if they did that, I question whether you would accept depicting Fr. Marquette accompanied by objects that reflect what drove him to do the things he is memorialized for, which may have even been part of his everyday appearance. Given the present attack, if I were part of the government body that has jurisdiction over this matter I would be concerned that any statue that makes him look more religious than Joseph Stalin might still not pass muster with the plaintiffs.

            “It is an unnecessary entanglement of religion with government and it advances a religion.”

            ALL memorials are unnecessary, so that is not a factor. The question is whether this memorial represents more of a government entanglement with religion than a headstone in Arlington cemetery does. I’m sure there are a range of opinions on that, but it’s certainly reasonable to find that it does not. If we cannot allow all memorials to depict with equal accuracy what was important about the person, group or event they are dedicated to, perhaps they should all be banned. (And the “Lemon Test” applies to statutes. This is not a statute.)

          • Kevin Rahe

            My reply needs attention by the powers that be. Here is the first part of it, which will hopefully go through without that service:

            “government burial sites that I’m aware of, and related court rulings, have addressed religious iconography in the way I’ve explained”

            I cannot find a court ruling on a case similar to this one. Even the statement from the ACLU titled “Myths and Realities: Gravestones and Markers are Not In Danger,” contrasts gravestones containing religious symbols (which it defends as “entirely constitutional”) with cases where religious symbols were erected on public land without any stated purpose or where the group they were intended to honor may have included people who didn’t share the faith represented by the memorial (e.g. Buono v. Norton). I’ve read quite a bit about what the ACLU says about public displays that reflect religion but cannot find where it has ever addressed memorials on public land to individuals or even groups of people that ARE accurate with regard to the faith they possessed.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            Kevin, try looking for American Humanist Association v. Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. It’s a case of a WW1 memorial shaped like a cross installed at a Prince George’s County intersection (government property). The court ruled that the cross violated The Lemon Test, from Lemon v Kurtzman. While you’re looking up the court case you should also read about The Lemon Test.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “They also have statues of the people, which I’ve suggested multiple times as a replacement for this cross. There are several existing statues and pictures available as inspiration.”

            So while complaining about public funds being used for the memorial of a religious person you suggest that perhaps if even MORE money were spent (e.g. to construct a sculpture), the situation would be acceptable? (In fact, for all we know, the likely greater cost of such a memorial might be the reason it was constructed as it is in the first place.) But even if they did that, I question whether you would accept depicting Fr. Marquette accompanied by objects that reflect what drove him to do the things he is memorialized for, which may have even been part of his everyday appearance. Given the present attack, if I were part of the government body that has jurisdiction over this matter I would be concerned that any statue that makes him look more religious than Joseph Stalin might still not pass muster with the plaintiffs.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            Kevin, there’s no issue with a memorial dedicated to a religious person or people. The issue is the impression of our government endorsing or advancing a religion in violation of The Establishment Clause. Spending $75,000 to renovate a big cross installed on government property gives such an impression. A statue without ostentatious religious iconography or an informative and religiously neutral marker would not be a constitutional issue.

            “ALL memorials are unnecessary, so that is not a factor. The question is whether this memorial represents more of a government entanglement with religion than a headstone in Arlington cemetery does.”

            It is a factor, given what I’ve already explained about Arlington National Cemetery and The Establishment Clause. If the issue is showing something important about the person, then his work as an explorer should be represented more that his specific religion. …unless you’re simply using this man as an excuse to install religious iconography on government property.

            “(And the “Lemon Test” applies to statutes. This is not a statute.)”

            The Lemon Test can be used in any case of potential government/religion situation.

            “So while complaining about public funds being used for the memorial of a religious person you suggest that perhaps if even MORE money were spent (e.g. to construct a sculpture), the situation would be acceptable?”

            Yes. The money wouldn’t be funding a preferential representation of a religion. What a silly question. I don’t think you’re a foolish person, so I’m left assuming that you’re intentionally obtuse or you’re so biased in your perspective that you truly don’t understand how this is favoring a religion using government resources.

            “Given the present attack, if I were part of the government body that has jurisdiction over this matter I would be concerned that any statue that makes him look more religious than Joseph Stalin might still not pass muster with the plaintiffs.”

            Then don’t include religious iconography. One of the existing statues depicts him in simple robes carrying an unadorned book. Another statue in a government maintained park has a proportionately sized cross hanging from his neck.

            “but if you pulled the soldiers represented by that WWI memorial aside and asked them what is the primary factor that binds them together and/or motivates their participation in the war,”

            Irrelevant given the result of religious iconography being installed on government land and maintained using government funds, giving the impression of favoritism in violation of The Establishment Clause.

            “But I think that ALL memorials would fail to pass the other “leg,” for none of them have a “legislative purpose.””

            The Lemon Test isn’t applicable if it’s not a government/religion issue, so the third prong isn’t applicable in your hypothetical.

          • Kevin Rahe

            I don’t think they would deny that their faith is important to them and even underpins their actions in most cases, but if you pulled the soldiers represented by that WWI memorial aside and asked them what is the primary factor that binds them together and/or motivates their participation in the war, without priming the conversation in any way, I think there’s a good chance many if not most of them would identify something other than their faith. So in that sense I think that situation is different than the one of Fr. Marquette’s memorial.

            As for the Lemon Test, you assert that the Fr. Marquette memorial would fail to pass 2 of the 3 “legs.” But I think that ALL memorials would fail to pass the other “leg,” for none of them have a “legislative purpose.” They are all merely sentimental – none of them are intended to prescribe or proscribe anything. That should be a clue to the resolution of these matters. If a non-religious memorial cannot compel acceptance of what IT represents (e.g. allegiance to one’s country), then how can a religious memorial do so, which is the basis of these complaints?

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “If a non-religious memorial cannot compel acceptance of what IT represents (e.g. allegiance to one’s country), then how can a religious memorial do so, which is the basis of these complaints?”

            Compelling acceptance or allegiance isn’t the issue. I’ve already explained the issue and you’ve just brought up a totally different and unstated cause that isn’t applicable. Why did you assume this other issue of compelling acceptance?

          • Kevin Rahe

            Why is whether the question concerns religion and government more important than whether it concerns actual legislation when it comes to the applicability of the Lemon Test? In fact, the way I read it, if the first question (whether it has a “legislative purpose”) cannot even be answered because it’s not a law that is being questioned, then I don’t see where the other questions apply, for they were formulated in the context of a different kind of issue.

            “If the issue is showing something important about the person, then his work as an explorer should be represented more that his specific religion”

            If his work as an explorer had more of an impact on people than his work as a priest, then I would agree with you. But if we have to be disingenuous just to be legal, I think that indicates a problem with the law (or at least the application of it).

            “The issue is the impression of our government endorsing or advancing a religion”
            “giving the impression of favoritism in violation of The Establishment Clause”

            I’ve read a fair amount about the situations that are used to justify the first part of the First Amendment, and none of them are anything so petty as a government body giving the mere IMPRESSION that it favors a particular religion. Instead, they were all rather concrete injustices, some blatantly written into the laws of some of the colonies. If the most egregious modern example of violating the First Amendment you can come up with is a small community giving the mere IMPRESSION that it favors a particular religion – where most reasonable people would likely interpret it as something else to boot – I don’t think you really have anything to complain about.

            “Why did you assume this other issue of compelling acceptance?”

            The law is meant to prevent (or at least discourage, since no law can absolutely prevent) actual harm to someone in the form of preventing them from exercising their rights. How can a religious display do that, except by coercing people to accept what it symbolizes? But if a religious display does that, then a non-religious display (e.g. that symbolizes allegiance to one’s country) also does that, and is therefore no more justifiable than a religious display.

          • Kevin Rahe

            As an addendum to my post that is still waiting for attention, I have the following question:
            If the cross were replaced with a statue or other monument that MINIMIZES Fr. Marquette’s religion, why wouldn’t that ALSO violate the Lemon Test, which says that a “statute” cannot “inhibit” religion, as well as that it cannot advance it?

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Why is whether the question concerns religion and government more important than whether it concerns actual legislation when it comes to the applicability of the Lemon Test?”

            Because the test was specifically formulated for cases involving religion and government. Legislation can occur without religion being involved but this test exists for consideration of religion/government collusion.

            “But if we have to be disingenuous just to be legal, I think that indicates a problem with the law (or at least the application of it).”

            I value citizen religious rights over a monument. Our founders seemed to have the same mentality. If a monument must violate citizen rights to exist, then it’s not worth the trouble.

            “If the most egregious modern example of violating the First Amendment you can come up with is a small community giving the mere IMPRESSION that it favors a particular religion – where most reasonable people would likely interpret it as something else to boot – I don’t think you really have anything to complain about.”

            Your assertion is preloaded with the assumption that only unreasonable people would interpret this monument as inherently religious. You’ve technically recognized the religious nature of the monument so you’re addressing yourself as being unreasonable. I disagree, given the obvious religious nature of the display. It’s actually disingenuous to pretend that there isn’t an overt religious quality to this monument that violates The Establishment Clause.

            “How can a religious display do that, except by coercing people to accept what it symbolizes?”

            In this case citizen funds, that they have no choice but to pay, are being used for this religious promotion. Using the weight and authority of government to impose such a religious tithe is a violation of every citizens freedom of conscience. That government/religion dynamic is one of the reasons our forefathers came to this land and constructed the first secular nation in history. To keep government from imposing a religion on citizens. Our government isn’t a citizen, so it has no religious rights. Actions like this automatically impose upon the religious rights of citizens by the nature of government when married with religion.

            “As an addendum to my post that is still waiting for attention, I have the following question:
            If the cross were replaced with a statue or other monument that MINIMIZES Fr. Marquette’s religion, why wouldn’t that ALSO violate the Lemon Test, which says that a “statute” cannot “inhibit” religion, as well as that it cannot advance it?”

            Because removing or changing the monument wouldn’t impact your, or any citizens ability to practice a religion. Such a modification doesn’t inhibit anyone’s religious rights. The monument is an unjust privilege that abuses government resources and authority in opposition to citizen religious rights.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            I’m not confident that you’ve actually processed and understood what I’ve said, but I hope at some point in the future you develop a better understanding of our shared religious rights and how they stand in relation to our secular government.

            I won’t be able to attend this meeting. Hope that other Establishment Clause advocates will speak in my absence.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “If a monument must violate citizen rights to exist, then it’s not worth the trouble.”

            I would agree. But if this is a (merely accurate) memorial to an individual rather than an act of establishment, then no one’s rights are being violated.

            “You’ve technically recognized the religious nature of the monument so you’re addressing yourself as being unreasonable.”

            I’ve never claimed that there is nothing about the monument that appears religious. I’ve only said that most reasonable people would not find it tantamount to an establishment of religion.

            “In this case citizen funds, that they have no choice but to pay, are being used for this religious promotion.”

            It’s not a religious promotion, but one concerning history. Even the people at the meeting who had attended Catholic schools in the area said it was never presented to them as a religious site – only a historical one. No one could recall any kind of religious service or gathering ever happening at the site.

            “Because removing or changing the monument wouldn’t impact your, or any citizens ability to practice a religion. Such a modification doesn’t inhibit anyone’s religious rights.”

            Knowledge of Fr. Marquette’s actions coupled with knowledge of the role religion played in his life leaves one with a certain impression. If you suppress the religious component of his life – essentially prevent religion from having a fair impact on his story – that impression will be different. Essentially you are blocking knowledge that otherwise may very well improve the public’s perception of my own religion, which could indeed have an impact on those who practice it.

            “It’s actually disingenuous to pretend that there isn’t an overt religious quality to this monument that violates The Establishment Clause.”

            Once one understands and accepts that this is a memorial to an individual, concerns that it violates the Establishment clause evaporate, for then it is really no different than a headstone in a graveyard. (Fr. Marquette requested that his grave be marked with only a simple cross, which is why it has been maintained as such ever since.) The only possible real issue, which you noted earlier, is the initial impression one may get before one understands the true context and meaning of the monument.

            “I’m not confident that you’ve actually processed and understood what I’ve said…”

            I understand that you cannot tolerate one iota of religious expression in government, to the degree that you not only cannot accept what something that might appear religious actually means to those who put it there and those who encounter it in real life, but feel compelled to use the law to push far beyond merely eliminating the concrete injustices those laws were enacted to prevent.

            “Hope that other Establishment Clause advocates will speak in my absence.”

            No such luck. No one there – not even self-proclaimed left-leaning folks and atheists – wanted the cross removed. One woman said she didn’t think it was right to use public funds to maintain it, but suggested transferring the site to a private association as a solution. But I’m not surprised. The people who attack these things are on an extreme fringe of society. They operate like a thief in the night. The last thing they want to do is sit down in person with the other side and have a reasonable discussion of the matter.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “But if this is a (merely accurate) memorial to an individual rather than an act of establishment, then no one’s rights are being violated.”

            It can be a memorial and also be an establishment of a religion. It’s not an either/or situation. A teenager can be a top performer in school and a shoplifter. The violation still needs to be addressed regardless of the other quality.

            “I’ve only said that most reasonable people would not find it tantamount to an establishment of religion.”

            Your ill-founded opinion that conflicts with court precedent.

            ” Even the people at the meeting who had attended Catholic schools in the area said it was never presented to them as a religious site – only a historical one.”

            Yet it’s basis is exclusively of a religious nature. Even in your example the local schools had to explain the historic nature as it’s immediate and initial impression is religious.

            “No one could recall any kind of religious service or gathering ever happening at the site.”

            No one has claimed that religious services or gatherings are involved. That’s irrelevant.

            “Knowledge of Fr. Marquette’s actions coupled with knowledge of the role religion played in his life leaves one with a certain impression. If you suppress the religious component of his life – essentially prevent religion from having a fair impact on his story – that impression will be different.”

            Thus I had earlier suggested an informative plaque or monument that could clearly state his status as a religious leader. The current design violates The Establishment Clause and will violate the religious rights of taxpayers as it will call for $75,000 to renovate.

            “The only possible real issue, which you noted earlier, is the initial impression one may get before one understands the true context and meaning of the monument.”

            Yes. Exactly. That and the $75,000 forced tithe to promote religious iconography. That is what initially drew national attention to this promotion of religion using government funds and resources.

            “I understand that you cannot tolerate one iota of religious expression in government”

            Then you’ve misunderstood my position and that of others who would like to keep our government secular. As discussed earlier, there is no issue with Arlington National Cemetery as a wide variety of religions and beliefs are given equal treatment by our government.

            ” But I’m not surprised. The people who attack these things are on an extreme fringe of society. They operate like a thief in the night. The last thing they want to do is sit down in person with the other side and have a reasonable discussion of the matter.”

            Are you making this claim about me? I’m unable to reach that part of the country due to logistical issues. I’d love to attend if my life and situation allowed.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “It can be a memorial and also be an establishment of a religion.”

            Only if Fr. Marquette is being used disingenuously to promote his religion. Absurd.

            “Your ill-founded opinion that conflicts with court precedent.”

            There is no clear precedent regarding this type of situation, but if a court finds this memorial to represent an establishment of religion, then yes, I think the opinions of most reasonable people will conflict with it.

            “I had earlier suggested an informative plaque or monument that could clearly state his status as a religious leader.”

            Why is it more fair to require everyone who wants to know what kind of person is being memorialized to read a plaque than to require those concerned about it being an establishment of religion to read it?

            “there is no issue with Arlington National Cemetery as a wide variety of religions and beliefs are given equal treatment by our government”

            The reason there is no issue with Arlington is that the government is respecting religion where it rightfully exists, which is what the part of the First Amendment you DON’T refer to talks about. The Fr. Marquette memorial does the same thing. There is no difference.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Only if Fr. Marquette is being used disingenuously to promote his religion.”

            You read my mind (^_^)

            “There is no clear precedent regarding this type of situation,”

            There are very similar precedent setting cases that address overtly religious monuments being given exclusionary representation on government property. Claiming otherwise is disingenuous or ill-informed. Which are you?

            “but if a court finds this memorial to represent an establishment of religion, then yes, I think the opinions of most reasonable people will conflict with it.”

            You keep using the word *reasonable*. Given your usage, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

            “Why is it more fair to require everyone who wants to know what kind of person is being memorialized to read a plaque”

            A plaque is required for anyone to know that this cross is representing a person if you’re not accompanied by a guide. So logically this cross is not serving its purpose, is a violation of The Establishment Clause, and is being used to levy a religious tithe using government power and authority.

            “The reason there is no issue with Arlington is that the government is respecting religion where it rightfully exists”

            Incorrect. You failed to understand my clear and unambiguous statement that a plethora of religions are given equal treatment at Arlington National Cemetery, so The Establishment Clause isn’t violated while also supporting the religious rights of citizens and those buried at the cemetery. For example, it would be a violation if only members of one religion were allowed to be buried or if all service members were forced to have iconography of one religion on their headstones.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “You read my mind (^_^)”

            So essentially you’re saying that the people who originally put a cross on Fr. Marquette’s grave didn’t give a flying fig about him – they only did so to promote their religion. And the same goes for each successive cross that replaced one that had deteriorated. I can see why you don’t grasp what I mean by “reasonable.”

            “There are very similar precedent setting cases that address overtly religious monuments being given exclusionary representation on government property.”

            It all boils down to whether the court accepts that this is a memorial to an individual as I (and practically everyone else) say it is, in which case there is no precedent, or presumes that it has little to nothing to do with an individual, as you say it does.

            “A plaque is required for anyone to know that this cross is representing a person if you’re not accompanied by a guide.”

            Unless they’re one of those rare folks who have visited a graveyard or driven along practically any well-traveled thoroughfare in the country.

            “it would be a violation if only members of one religion were allowed to be buried or if all service members were forced to have iconography of one religion on their headstones”

            No, merely ALLOWING multiple religions to be represented is not your test, for that test would also permit the Fr. Marquette memorial, since there is nothing to say that the same people who honored him with a monument wouldn’t do the same for someone of similar importance to their region or people but a different faith (or no faith at all). YOUR test is that plurality regarding religion must be DEMONSTRATED by a unit of government to avoid charges of violating the establishment clause, even if such demonstration is impractical or impossible.

          • Kevin Rahe

            By the way, you should know that the cross isn’t as large as the photos may make it appear to be. I took a photo of it along with my F-150 yesterday at an equal distance from both, and the cross is maybe 25% taller than the truck. I would say it is all of 8 feet tall, 9 at the most, not including the pedestal it stands on. I’ve seen much larger crosses inside churches.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “So essentially you’re saying that the people who originally put a cross on Fr. Marquette’s grave didn’t give a flying fig about him – they only did so to promote their religion. And the same goes for each successive cross that replaced one that had deteriorated. I can see why you don’t grasp what I mean by “reasonable.””

            It was installed around 1955. That coincides with the anti-commie period of US history when there was an effort to show religiosity in any way possible.

            “It all boils down to whether the court accepts that this is a memorial to an individual as I (and practically everyone else) say it is, in which case there is no precedent, or presumes that it has little to nothing to do with an individual, as you say it does.”

            When do you think that I said that it has nothing to do with the individual? Apparently you’ve failed to understand my earlier comments.

            “Unless they’re one of those rare folks who have visited a graveyard or driven along practically any well-traveled thoroughfare in the country.”

            This isn’t a graveyard and I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about a thoroughfare. This is a monument with an obvious religious intent installed on government property that the government had planned to force citizens to maintain in violation of their religious rights. On that note, I think it’s interesting that you’ve failed to show any recognition of the imposed religious tax that I’ve brought up several times.

            “No, merely ALLOWING multiple religions to be represented is not your test, for that test would also permit the Fr. Marquette memorial, since there is nothing to say that the same people who honored him with a monument wouldn’t do the same for someone of similar importance to their region or people but a different faith (or no faith at all). YOUR test is that plurality regarding religion must be DEMONSTRATED by a unit of government to avoid charges of violating the establishment clause, even if such demonstration is impractical or impossible.”

            Multiple religions are represented at Arligton National Cemetery, demonstrating that equal treatment is provided. How would you propose that this local government satisfy The Establishment Clause?

            “I would say it is all of 8 feet tall, 9 at the most, not including the pedestal it stands on. I’ve seen much larger crosses inside churches.”

            That’s roughly the size I was expecting given pictures in the news. What are the sizes of the other government funded religious monuments in that park?

          • Kevin Rahe

            “It was installed around 1955. That coincides with the anti-commie period of US history when there was an effort to show religiosity in any way possible.”

            From the Ludington Daily News, June 11, 1942 (www.newspapers.com/newspage/33519205/)
            “..mound where Pere Jacques Marquette died Mav 18, 1675, is the fifth memorial cross to mark this revered spot. The first, a red cedar cross ‘was erected by his voyageur-companions immediately after his death. Two years later his remains were disinterred by Kishkakon Indians and conveyed to St. Ignace where they were buried under the mission church But the cross on top of t he hummock was replaced by the Indians who each year returned to brace it. In 1818 this eras s was seen by Gordon Saltonstall Hubbard while he was making a trip along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. In 1821 a cross was placed by the Rev. Fr. Gabriel Richard following the first memorial service held at the site, in 1850 a cross was seen on the mound by the late Mrs. Dardleska Cr Hull, whose recollections of the cross and of her mother telling her of the Indians’ story of the white priest it commemorated were a factor in determination of this being the authentic deathsite of the missionary In 1935 a plain white cross was planted on the,mound by Ludington residents, who replaced it two vears later with the present cross of pine…”

            “When do you think that I said that it has nothing to do with the individual?”

            Like I said, if you understand and accept that this could plausibly be nothing but a memorial to an individual, then any concerns that it violates the establishment clause evaporate.

            “I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about a thoroughfare”

            I’ve traveled extensively in this country, and I’ve seen crosses planted along roadways nearly everywhere. Practically every one of them was a memorial to an individual, and they account for by far the vast majority of free-standing crosses I’ve seen that weren’t on the grounds of a religious institution or in a cemetery.

            “How would you propose that this local government satisfy The Establishment Clause?”

            I’ll send that question right back to you.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “From the Ludington Daily News, June 11, 1942”

            Good to know. I’m still not seeing why this monument can’t be replaced with a more constitutionally compliant monument if it’s been replaced multiple times.

            “Like I said, if you understand and accept that this could plausibly be nothing but a memorial to an individual, then any concerns that it violates the establishment clause evaporate.”

            Not really. It can be a memorial monument for an individual and still violate The Establishment Clause. A top performing high school student can also be a shoplifter and thief.

            “and I’ve seen crosses planted along roadways nearly everywhere.”

            There’s a concession for temporary display of such crosses along highways and such. This is not a temporary display.

            “I’ll send that question right back to you.”

            I’ve already shared several options, like a statue or neutral and informative marker. Apparently you missed that. You’ve suggested properly divesting the property to private ownership. Do you have any other suggestions? Have you shared these with members of the local government?

          • Kevin Rahe

            “A top performing high school student can also be a shoplifter and thief.”

            Likely not as the result of a single act.

            “There’s a concession for temporary display of such crosses along highways and such. This is not a temporary display.”

            The meaning of the permanent ones located in cemeteries is no different than that of the temporary ones along roadways. Like I said, it would be very strange for someone’s first impression of a free-standing cross unconnected to a religious institution to be that it is something other than a memorial to a person or persons.

            “I’ve already shared several options, like a statue or neutral and informative marker.”

            You’ve implied that the township could prove its adherence to the Establishment Clause if it could show that it is willing to honor another individual of another faith like it does Fr. Marquette. I’m asking how it could do that? You are the one proposing the test, so you should be able to explain how it could plausibly pass it. If you can’t, then you’re not operating in good faith, as the test is impossible to satisfy.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Likely not as the result of a single act.”

            Sure. Are you intentionally trying to avoid the point of my analogy? The monument can honor a person and also violate The Establishment Clause. The two aspects aren’t mutually exclusive.

            “The meaning of the permanent ones located in cemeteries is no different than that of the temporary ones along roadways.”

            Sure. Like I said, there’s a concession for temporary ones. Making it permanent puts our government at risk of litigation.

            “You are the one proposing the test,”

            Incorrect. You formulated this *test* from my explanations of court precedent related to government/religion separation. I wonder if you’d expect the $75,000 renovations to proceed, at taxpayer expense, if a solution were found that keeps the monument in its current form on government property.

          • Kevin Rahe

            Let me put my last paragraph another way. You claim that the township has violated the Establishment Clause. But how could they have done that when they haven’t even had the OPPORTUNITY to do so?

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Let me put my last paragraph another way. You claim that the township has violated the Establishment Clause. But how could they have done that when they haven’t even had the OPPORTUNITY to do so?”

            Think of this like a tree on a persons property that violates housing or land ordinances for the area. Maybe inspectors didn’t notice the violation for years, but this existing violation has been recently identified and it’s up to the owner (a local government organization) to find a way to bring the property into compliance.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “Think of this like a tree on a persons property that violates housing or land ordinances for the area. Maybe inspectors didn’t notice the violation for years, but this existing violation has been recently identified…”

            Except that using the Arlington analogy (which YOU first brought up), the violation may not be one at all if the property owner would treat another tree of a similar size and age in a particular way. Can you really say that he’s guilty if he acquired the property with the intent of complying with the law, but merely did so after the first tree was well established? To suggest that lack of opportunity equals lack of intent is I think some sort of fallacy.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            Arlington National Cemetery wasn’t an analogy. It’s a fact that equal treatment of many religions satisfies The Establishment Clause.

            Regarding other religious monuments, check with the local government to see if they’re willing to install multiple religious monuments. I think removing or modifying one monument is less trouble than paying for and installing multiple other monuments tho.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “Apparently you haven’t understood what I’ve said…”

            I thought I did when in response to my comment that, “I see nothing in your reasoning that suggests you’d view the matter differently if it still WAS a gravesite,” you said:

            “Going by the law and court precedent, I don’t see why a government gravesite giving exclusive representation to one religion would be treated differently.”

            But now you’re contradicting yourself.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “I thought I did when in response to my comment that,”

            The same rule can apply to two different kinds of things that are located on government property. That doesn’t mean that I reclassify everything as the same kind of widget in my mind.

          • Kevin Rahe

            But if the government would consider a memorial without a body the same as a memorial with one, which is the same thing I and probably most other people do, then it’s probably not too relevant to the matter that you personally consider them different. It certainly wouldn’t be as easy for the government as it is for you to conclude that, “This is an inappropriate and Constitution violating monument,” without regard for its function as a historical memorial to an individual.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “But if the government would consider a memorial without a body the same as a memorial with one,”

            There are many kinds of structures on government property. All of them fall under consideration of The Establishment Clause as government property is involved. The government is prohibited by this clause from showing preference for, endorsing, or advancing a religion.

          • Kevin Rahe

            There is still no Supreme Court precedent regarding a memorial to an individual, and even the most recent case it decided regarding a cross as a monument to a GROUP of people (which may have included non-Christians) went the way of preserving it. The liberal and religiously neutral Justice John Paul Stevens used language in his dissent in Orden v. Perry that suggests he would view a monument to an individual differently than a religious icon on public property not tied to any historic person, like the Ten Commandment on a statehouse lawn.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “and even the most recent case it decided regarding a cross as a monument to a GROUP of people (which may have included non-Christians) went the way of preserving it.”

            Which case is this?

            “The liberal and religiously neutral Justice John Paul Stevens used language in his dissent in Orden v. Perry that suggests he would view a monument to an individual differently than a religious icon on public property not tied to any historic person, like the Ten Commandment on a statehouse lawn.”

            Okay. Can you share some specifics?

          • Kevin Rahe

            “Which case is this?”

            Sunrise Rock in the Mojave desert. April 2010.

            “Can you share some specifics?”

            ‘Viewed on its face, Texas’ display has no purported connection to God’s role in the formation of Texas or the founding of our Nation; nor does it provide the reasonable observer with any basis to guess that it was erected to honor any individual or organization. The message transmitted by Texas’ chosen display is quite plain: This State endorses the divine code of the “Judeo-Christian” God.’
            ‘As we wrote, “the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embodies the right to select any religious faith or none at all.”’
            ‘In restating this principle, I do not discount the importance of avoiding an overly strict interpretation of the metaphor so often used to define the reach of the Establishment Clause. The plurality is correct to note that “religion and religious traditions” have played a “strong role … throughout our nation’s history.” Ante, at 3. This Court has often recognized “an unbroken history of official acknowledgment … of the role of religion in American life.” Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U. S. 668, 674 (1984); accord, Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U. S. 578, 606–608 (1987) (Powell, J., concurring). Given this history, it is unsurprising that a religious symbol may at times become an important feature of a familiar landscape or a reminder of an important event in the history of a community. The wall that separates the church from the State does not prohibit the government from acknowledging the religious beliefs and practices of the American people, nor does it require governments to hide works of art or historic memorabilia from public view just because they also have religious significance.’

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Sunrise Rock in the Mojave desert. April 2010.”

            That’s not the most recent case. The most recent, in Maryland, was ruled as a violation of The Establishment Clause.

            “The message transmitted by Texas’ chosen display is quite plain: This State endorses the divine code of the “Judeo-Christian” God.’”

            Okay. I agree with some things he expressed in your quote, and disagree with others. It’s interesting to note that McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union was decided the opposite way addressing the exact same issue in Kentucky.

          • Kevin Rahe

            The SCOTUS hasn’t yet been petitioned about the Bladensburg cross.

            As for the judge’s comments I quoted, remember that they’re from the DISSENT in Orden v. Perry, not the decision itself.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            The Bladensburg cross case has been ruled unconstitutional by the federal appeals court.

            “As for the judge’s comments I quoted, remember that they’re from the DISSENT in Orden v. Perry, not the decision itself.”

            Yes, I had noticed that. Anything else?

          • Kevin Rahe

            Not that there aren’t important differences between the Bladensburg cross and the Fr. Marquette memorial, but the SCOTUS has overturned similar decisions by lower courts in the past, and it may do so this time as well, if the case doesn’t go to the full appeals court or it upholds the standing decision.

            The reason I point out that my quotes came from the dissent is that the ideas they espouse wouldn’t necessarily be contradicted by a decision in a similar case that went the other way.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “The reason I point out that my quotes came from the dissent is that the ideas they espouse wouldn’t necessarily be contradicted by a decision in a similar case that went the other way.”

            Sure. Nothing invalidates that justice’s expressed opinion. I don’t think it makes sense in relation to The Lemon Test, but whatever.

          • Kevin Rahe

            And I don’t think the Lemon Test makes sense when applied to a government action that neither proscribes nor prescribes acts by citizens – i.e. that has no “legislative purpose” as the Test requires – which is a case I made in my comments at the meeting. (Before pointing out that if not applied in a one-sided fashion, even the Lemon Test could be used to defend the Fr. Marquette memorial.)

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “i.e. that has no “legislative purpose” as the Test requires”

            I think you’re too fixated on the specifics of a set of questions created to assist with consideration of government/religion issues. They are not immutable laws or rules.

          • Kevin Rahe

            Fr. Marquette is memorialized in a manner similar to the way many U.S. service members are memorialized on foreign soil, the way many people are memorialized along U.S. roadways and the way many citizens and service members are memorialized in public and private cemeteries across the country. Whether it’s done that way or with something more unusual like a statue of the individual, I don’t think that any of the founders would have ever made the stretch to find that such a memorial constitutes an “establishment of religion.” Nor can either of us can say at this point with any certainty that any federal judge would ever find such a memorial unconstitutional.

          • Kevin Rahe

            And the Lemon Test can be read as requiring respect for religion where religion rightfully exists, with which I think the judge’s opinion is completely consistent.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Fr. Marquette is memorialized in a manner similar to the way many U.S. service members are memorialized on foreign soil,”

            Foreign soil, not US government land that’s held to The Establishment Clause. So?

            “and the way many citizens and service members are memorialized in public and private cemeteries across the country.”

            Again, public (government) cemeteries give equal treatment to all religions. That is notably different from this exclusionary religious endorsement.

            “I don’t think that any of the founders would have ever made the stretch to find that such a memorial constitutes an “establishment of religion.””

            Your opinions and views regarding the mentality of our founders has been noted. I see records of various founders conflicting with your impressions, like Jefferson desecrating several bibles, and Madison being a Christian and strongly endorsing separation of government and religion in many situations.

          • Kevin Rahe

            Many of those cemeteries on foreign soil are overseen by the government’s American Battle Monument Commission, which I think would certainly be subject to the U.S. Constitution.

            “public (government) cemeteries give equal treatment to all religions. That is notably different from this exclusionary religious endorsement.”

            You have not shown that the township hasn’t given equal treatment to other historical figures with similar ties and importance to the area as Fr. Marquette, regardless of how much or which religion was a motivating factor in their lives.

            “I see records of various founders conflicting with your impressions, like Jefferson desecrating several bibles…”

            Desecrating a Bible would be a personal commentary on religion. Public figures are free to do that, but that has nothing to do with the matter at hand. Even an agnostic could find the memorial to Fr. Marquette completely accurate and appropriate.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “public (government) cemeteries give equal treatment to all religions”

            And in no sense does a government cemetery “treat religion” at all. It merely treats INDIVIDUALS equally, REGARDLESS of their religion. This is why a small municipal cemetery in which all the interred happened to be Christian does not violate the Establishment Clause. A government entity that “treats religion” in any way WOULD invite charges of violating the Establishment Clause, regardless of how many religions it so treats.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Many of those cemeteries on foreign soil are overseen by the government’s American Battle Monument Commission, which I think would certainly be subject to the U.S. Constitution.”

            The commission probably is. Foreign territories and their governments don’t fall under any organization or authority of The US Government. Those other government might consider suggestions and requests, but again, not a requirement in any way.

            “You have not shown that the township hasn’t given equal treatment to other historical figures”

            Can this local government prove that they have? Can you? I see no evidence of any effort to give equal treatment to other religions in relation to this property.

            “Desecrating a Bible would be a personal commentary on religion.”

            Yes. Exactly. Thank you for confirming my assertion.

            “Even an agnostic could find the memorial to Fr. Marquette completely accurate and appropriate.”

            Who said it’s not accurate or appropriate? I’ve repeatedly said that it violates The Establishment Clause. We’ve both expressed how this wouldn’t be an issue if the local government properly divested itself of this property. Have you been paying attention at all, or are your preconceived notions about me clouding your perception?

            “A government entity that “treats religion” in any way WOULD invite charges of violating the Establishment Clause, regardless of how many religions it so treats.”

            Incorrect. We’ve already covered this as well. It seems like you’re focused more on winning a one-sided argument than honest discourse.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “I see no evidence of any effort to give equal treatment to other religions in relation to this property.”

            Have they had the OPPORTUNITY to do that? Is there some other historical figure(s) with similar ties and importance to the area as Fr. Marquette but for whom a different religion (or something other than religion) was a motivating factor in their life, or where they asked to have a different kind of symbol erected for their memorial?

            “Who said it’s not accurate or appropriate? I’ve repeatedly said that it violates The Establishment Clause.”

            If it’s an accurate and appropriate memorial to a historical individual, then the question of whether the Establishment Clause has been violated becomes cloudy at best, if it doesn’t completely evaporate. Unless you’re saying that the law requires the government to discriminate against religious figures – i.e. be less accurate and appropriate about how it memorializes them than it is with others – when deciding which historical individuals to honor?

            “It seems like you’re focused more on winning a one-sided argument than honest discourse.”

            We can only judge an act by defining its object. Is the object of a memorial an individual, or their religion? Certainly you must agree that this question is at least debatable, rather than the answer being automatically the latter.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Have they had the OPPORTUNITY to do that?”

            Yes. They’ve had decades to figure this out.

            “If it’s an accurate and appropriate memorial to a historical individual, then the question of whether the Establishment Clause has been violated becomes cloudy at best,”

            No. It’s still on government property. It’s still a violation of The Establishment Clause.

            “Unless you’re saying that the law requires the government to discriminate against religious figures”

            Nope. This attempt to spin the argument shows that you haven’t been paying attention or you’re desperate to **win**.

            “Is the object of a memorial an individual, or their religion?”

            As I’ve said before, this monument is more about the religion than the individual. You disagree. That’s fine.

            “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
            – Benjamin Franklin

          • Kevin Rahe

            “This attempt to spin the argument shows that you haven’t been paying attention…”

            No, I’m merely trying to uncover your prescription for how a government entity should go about honoring important historical figures. So far, your positions contradict each other and/or lead to the conclusion that such honoring cannot be done fairly (unless they’re American Indian or Native Hawaiian, in which case the government probably has an out).

            “Yes. They’ve had decades to figure this out.”

            Name the individual.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “No, I’m merely trying to uncover your prescription”

            I’m merely explaining court precedent that I’m aware of. I do agree with the logic of many government/religion cases, and I’ve explained why several times. Every time you seem to misunderstand or flail about when you (wrongly) think that Christianity is being targeted.

            “Name the individual.”

            Name the individual decades? Try reading my response again and stop focusing on your personal, narrow requirements. Try thinking about the rights of other citizens and the use or abuse of their tax dollars for religious purposes. A good way to do this is to think of a situation like this and to honestly consider how you’d feel if the religion involved were Satanism, Islam, or Scientology. How would you feel about our government giving one of those religious special treatment at your expense?

          • Kevin Rahe

            “I’m merely explaining court precedent that I’m aware of.”

            If you’re aware of any court precedent regarding a case involving a memorial to a historical individual, you haven’t offered a reference. Personally I don’t think such a precedent exists, which makes your position merely conjecture.

            “Try thinking about the rights of other citizens and the use or abuse of their tax dollars for religious purposes.”

            The purpose of the memorial is not to establish or promote a religion.

            “A good way to do this is to think of a situation like this and to honestly consider how you’d feel if the religion involved were Satanism, Islam, or Scientology.”

            Translation to make it analogous to the actual present issue:

            “A good way to do this is to think of a situation like this and to honestly consider how you’d feel if the person involved were Satanist, Muslim, or a Scientologist.”

            I wouldn’t have a problem honoring a historic individual with ties and importance to the area similar to Fr. Marquette, regardless of their religion, and even if their religion was as important to what they did as Fr. Marquette’s was and therefore warrants being represented on their memorial. I am able distinguish religious imagery that is present because it was an important factor in an individual’s life from such imagery used by a government entity to promote or establish religion.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “If you’re aware of any court precedent regarding a case involving a memorial to a historical individual,”

            I’m aware of memorials with obvious religious representation, like this one. Using those wouldn’t be an apples/oranges comparison. Your additional qualifiers and requirements can be considered.

            “The purpose of the memorial is not to establish or promote a religion.”

            Isn’t it? It can have two purposes. A big cross undeniably promotes Christianity. Anyone who doesn’t recognize that is lying to themselves or others.

            “I wouldn’t have a problem honoring a historic individual with ties and importance to the area similar to Fr. Marquette, regardless of their religion,”

            Then it appears that you don’t value your own religious rights in relation to our government, or your civics teachers have failed you.