Dennis Prager gives an update on the fate of the Los Angeles County seal. I lived most of my life in Los Angeles, so this story is close to my heart, but it really is an issue of national importance.
If you recall, the ACLU threatened Los Angeles County with a law suit if it refused to remove a small cross from its official seal. The cross appears as one of over a dozen elements on the seal that memorialize various aspects of the county’s history. Like most of California, Los Angeles County owes a great deal of its heritage to the Christian missionaries who settled the region in the mid-1700s.
As you can tell from the picture, the cross is hardly prominent. It appears in one of seven panels on the seal. The panel comprises about one-tenth of the seal, and the cross shares the panel with three other elements—one a much larger graphic of the Hollywood Bowl, L.A.’s famous outdoor theater, and two stars that represent the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Indeed, one pretty much has to be looking for the cross in order to notice it.
The ACLU claims that the presence of the cross constitutes government endorsement of a religion and thereby violates the concept of separation of church and state. This is absurd. The cross was included not to promote religion, but simply to commemorate the important contribution of Christianity to the region. As Mark Roberts says on the page linked above
Suppose a history textbook used in the public schools sought to tell the story of D-Day. And suppose, further, that this textbook included a photograph of the Normandy American Cemetery, with its over 9,000 crosses on the graves of the soldiers who perished in the invasion. In this case a public school would be displaying an image of a cross (many crosses, actually). Now if the cross is necessarily a religious symbol, then this would be a violation of the Constitution … But I think it’s clear that the textbook includes a picture of crosses, not with religious intent or meaning, but with historical intent and meaning.
Just so. This action by the ACLU has nothing to do with the separation of church and state ( a phrase, incidentally, that does not appear in the Constitution). If it did, they would be lobbying also to remove the likeness of Pomona, Roman goddess of the harvest, that resides at the center of the seal and consumes over one-third its real estate.
The true agenda of the ACLU is the scouring of all things Christian from the public realm. We’ve seen this in their efforts to remove three plaques bearing Biblical quotes from the rim of the Grand Canyon while failing to challenge the naming of several Canyon features after Hindu gods. We’ve seen it in their campaign to prohibit the Boy Scouts from using San Diego’s Balboa Park on the grounds that they are a religious organization. We’ve seen it in their attempt to force the city of Las Cruces, NM, to change its name simply because the name is Spanish for “the crosses.” This is madness, and it is the height of religious intolerance. They ACLU has earned well the epithet Anti-Christian Legislation Union.
We really need to have a national dialogue on this whole separation of church and state issue. The Founding Fathers had no intention of separating the two. The first official act of the First Continental Congress was to open in Christian prayer. The Founding Fathers simply wanted to make sure that the church wasn’t running the government, and that and that people were free to worship however they pleased. In fact, they were keenly aware that our system of government would fail if it were ever to be divorced from its religious foundations. I fear we are on a path to do just that.
We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments.
John Quincy Adams:
The greatest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.
Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the Foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?