Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Greater Phoenix Chapter

Old Home Home Contact Us Upcoming
Church State Issues Report Church State Violations Join
Email List
Email List
Membership Donations Request
Facebook Meetup Links Send Letter to Editor


Church State Issues

finish - split into 2 articles

Nov 18, 2014

Both the US Constitution and the Arizona Constitution ban the mixing of government and religion. And sadly government officials routinely mix government and religion know that they usually won't get punished and if they do get punished they won't get any more then a slap on the wrist. Personally I disagree with the editorials supporting mixing of government and region in the Arizona Republic. Sure it's petty stuff, but once you allow the government to mix government and religion in petty ways, the next step is allowing the large Christian majority to use the government to force their Christian views on the rest of us. Religion belong in the private sector and should be kept out of government. Freedom from religion? Not this time Editorial board, The Republic | 7:28 a.m. MST November 18, 2014 Our View: Banning "Latin crosses" during Mountain View High School's halftime show means banning the memory of American sacrifice in WW II. In our increasingly diverse society, we have learned — sometimes reluctantly — to accept that overt expressions of faith in our public schools can cause more problems than they solve. But in their zeal to bleach schools of religious influences, reformers are confusing religious expression with historical representation. Is it wrong to include religious images in, say, a performance by a marching band during a halftime show dedicated to remembering American GIs who fell in battle in the Normandy invasion during World War II? An attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation thinks so. In a letter to the Mesa Public School District sent Oct. 22, attorney Sam Grover objected to the Mountain View High School band's performance, which he said promotes religion, which he called "a divisive force in public schools." The use of "Latin crosses" as representations of the American cemeteries in Normandy, wrote Grover, "sends the message that the band either only seeks to honor Christian service members or that it believes that only Christians serve in the U.S. military." In fact, the band also incorporated a Star of David. But why quibble? When your goal is to demand a condition not exactly explicit in the Constitution — freedom from religion — all religious symbols are pretty much the same. Do the tender fellows down at the Freedom from Religion Foundation really see a threat to the American Experiment in high-school representations of the cemeteries of Normandy? Maybe they do. So here is a history lesson for you, fellows: There is no more potent symbol of American commitment to freedom — including the freedom of and (yes) from religion — than the images of those Normandy cemeteries. Purging overt religious expression from public schools is one thing. Purging religious imagery from our history for the sake of it is an affront, not just to those Mesa students, but to the GIs whose ultimate sacrifice they represent. Mesa Public Schools maintains that the show is not an endorsement of Christianity, but a program to honor veterans. Drumroll please: Mountain View should march on Laurie Roberts, columnist | 11:53 a.m. MST November 14, 2014 The marching band at Mesa's Mountain View High School is being called out with a complaint that it violated the Constitution. This, with a smattering of white foam props used during a recent performance held to honor fallen soldiers. Goodness. The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based anti-religion group that apparently has a lot of time on its hands, sent a letter to the Mesa school district, notifying them of the band's horrifying endorsement of Christianity. "While it is laudable for the Mountain View High marching band to honor U.S. military members, the use of Latin crosses in the performance sends the message that the band either only seeks to honor Christian service members or that it believes that only Christians serve in the U.S. military," wrote Sam Grover, an attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Thomas Pickrell, the school district's attorney, responded that props, made to look like crosses and a Star of David, were intended to suggest the cemetery in Normandy -- not to suggest that Christianity is the one true way. "No prayer was given or religious music performed," he said. "No objective person who saw the performance — your complainant told us that he did not — would perceive it to be anything other than an attempt through music and pageantry to recognize the patriotic sacrifice of our U.S. military veterans." Grover told The Republic's Cathryn Creno that he is sa tisfied with Pickell's response. Still he wishes the band program had been different. "It is unfortunate that the iconic headstones at the Normandy cemetery do such a poor job of representing the diversity of today's military," he said. It is also unfortunate that some self-appointed hall monitors are so easily offended. There are real examples in our state and beyond where the Constitution is run over. Somehow, I'm guessing the Constitution will survive the Marching Toros' tribute to men and women who gave their lives so that people like Grover can obsess about a few foam crosses. Had I been the school district, I'd have told Grover to go blow it out his … tuba.