Scalia is Clueless

In arguments at the Supreme Court this week, Scalia demonstrates yet again the gulf between what the right considers intellectual acumen and reality. The case, Buono v. Salazar, deals with the question of whether a Christian cross can be used as a WWI memorial on federal property. The ACLU lawyer argued reasonably that many non Christians might feel that they were not being honored for their service during that war. Scalia was incredulous and began an exchange with the ACLU lawyer:

“The cross doesn’t honor non-Christians who fought in the war?” Scalia asks, stunned.

“A cross is the predominant symbol of Christianity, and it signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind for our sins,” replies Eliasberg, whose father and grandfather are both Jewish war veterans.

“It’s erected as a war memorial!” replies Scalia. “I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead. The cross is the most common symbol of … of … of the resting place of the dead.”

Eliasberg dares to correct him: “The cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of Christians. I have been in Jewish cemeteries. There is never a cross on a tombstone of a Jew.”

“I don’t think you can leap from that to the conclusion that the only war dead the cross honors are the Christian war dead,” thunders Scalia. “I think that’s an outrageous conclusion!”

Look, Scalia, either the cross is the central symbol of Christianity or it is not. Christians put crosses on graves (not to mention in their houses of worship) because they represents exactly what Eliasberg argues. It is the central focus of the Christian church. But Scalia’s argument is typical of many conservative Christians. They want Christian symbols to adorn public places because these symbols are central to their faith, but want to argue in court that these same symbols are nothing more than generic cultural artifacts.

Maybe we should just replace the cross with a Jewish star of David. After all, it is outrageous to argue that a star of David only honors the Jewish war dead.

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One Response

  1. Stunning, I didn’t know about that till now. Cheers!!

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