Taking down decorative crosses

I suspect many people share my opinion about separation of church and state in America: Crosses on public property aren’t that big a deal.

I could write a book about things that concern me more. Children starving to death in underdeveloped countries come to mind.

But some people do think it’s a big deal, right here in Appalachia.

Officials in the Jefferson County, Ohio, community of Stratton have run afoul of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis. It seems the FFRF learned Stratton’s municipal building has been decorated with two crosses, one Latin, one Eastern Orthodox, for the Easter season.

The crosses have to go, FFRF has ordered the village. Mayor John Abdalla reportedly has said he’ll have them taken down at the end of the month.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of the FFRF. It harasses local governments throughout the nation for allegedly disobeying the Constitutional requirement of separation of church and state. Most of the time, displays such as that in Stratton are involved.

But here’s something to bear in mind: As far as I know, the FFRF does not send out patrols to check for crosses hanging on municipal buildings. Someone local had to tip them off. That means someone local agrees with them.

I don’t. What the nation’s founders were doing with the so-called “Establishment Clause” was attempting to prevent very real harm and discrimination by a state-sanctioned church.

Back then, not belonging to the church of England could disqualify one from a government job. Some states and towns collected taxes to support churches. There were other active means of discriminating against those who did not ahere to a particular faith.

That doesn’t happen these days (except, of course, when laws requiring people and organizations to do things that go against their faith are enforced). So outfits like the FFRF – and some of our friends and neighbors who agree with them – have resorted to worrying about crosses on public property.

Fine. Take them down.

But what real good does that do? None, really. Was anyone actually suffering any harm from the crosses? No.

Why does the suggestion, “Get a life” keep going through my mind?