It is the holidays – a time for friends and family to gather to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving – and it is once again time for atheist groups to roll out their latest attack on Christianity.
This year’s chosen anti-Christian theme seems to be directed specifically at cross displays in the military or any vestige of Christian faith associated with honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Just before Thanksgiving, the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF) launched an assault on a 13-foot cross that was erected by U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton in California to commemorate the memory of their fallen comrades – fellow heroes who died in Iraq.
MAAF’s assault this Christmas doesn’t stop with this one cross; they take aim at a whole laundry list of other symbols of sacrifice meant to honor fallen heroes. As MAAF explained, “The Camp Pendleton cross is just one of many. The Mt. Soledad Cross, the Mojave Desert Cross, the Montana Jesus statue, and the Utah state trooper crosses are all examples.”
Just a few weeks ago, it was Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) — another atheist group opposed to any public Christian display — that attempted to remove a World War II memorial statue of Jesus from Big Mountain in Montana, calling this nearly 60-year-old war memorial erected by members of the 10th Mountain division “a ruse and a sham.”
Now, the U.S. Army has ordered the removal of a cross from a military chapel at a base in Afghanistan – a symbol of sacrifice that soldiers at the base considered an “inspiring symbol.” American Atheists — the group suing to stop the inclusion of the Ground Zero Cross in a 9/11 museum, saying Christians are using it to “exploit” 9/11 — and MAAF claim that this move was required for the military to remain “neutral.” Yet, as I told Fox News, what these atheist groups truly want is to remove all the evidence of our Christian heritage from the military. Interestingly, the same individual I debated on Fox News last week regarding the cross at the Afghanistan base, who is the Vice President of American Atheists, happens to also be the founder of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers. Notice a trend?
Remember it was the Military Religious Freedom Foundation that demanded and received an apology from the U.S. Air Force Academy for allowing cadets to send an email encouraging their fellows cadets to support a Christmas children’s charity, Operation Christmas Child, because that charity is run by a Christian organization.
Of course, none of these groups have voiced any concern about the U.S. Air Force Academy’s new $80,000 taxpayer-funded worship center for pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches, and other “Earth-based” religions. Out of the 4,300 cadets at the Academy, three, that’s right
people, identify, “themselves as pagans, followers of an ancient religion that generally does not worship a single god and considers all things in nature interconnected.”
No, their focuses remains on eradicating what they consider “Christian” symbols from the military this holiday season.
The founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation “estimates that about 88 percent of the U.S. military is either protestant or Catholic” and NPR reports “that 40 percent of active duty personnel are evangelical Christians.” Christians should be proud of these statistics and those activists launching attacks on any vestige of Christian symbolism in the military would be well-advised to appreciate the tremendous voluntary sacrifice the Christians who makeup the overwhelming majority of our armed forces are willing to make to protect our country.
Rather than praise the Christians who make our all volunteer military the second largest in the world, these atheists and anti-evangelical crusaders want to tear down memorial crosses, dispose of 60 year old statues, and prevent St. Augustine’s landmark Just War Theory from being used to educate adult servicemen and women.
At the ACLJ, we are taking a stand against this targeted campaign by these atheist groups to remove the cross and other symbols of sacrifice from our armed forces. We are sending a petition to the Department of Defense explaining that crosses and other memorials do not create a constitutional crisis and urging it not to cave into what the Supreme Court has called a “relentless and all-pervasive attempt to exclude religion from every aspect of public life.”
Jordan Sekulow is Executive Director of the American Center for Law & Justice and writes for On Faith’s blogging network at the Washington Post. Matthew Clark is an attorney for the ACLJ.