Dear Justice Scalia: What the...???
Slate is reporting about Buono v. Salazar, a big church / state case currently before the Supreme Court. The case involves a large white wooden cross built on federal land to honor those who died fighting WWI. Lower courts found the cross unconstitutional. During Wednesday's testimony. the ACLU atty suggested a preferable memorial would be one to honor ALL who died fighting the war, not just Christians.
The following exchange ensued:
"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!"