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by Frederick Meekins Copyright 2013
In one classic science iction plot! antagonists atte"pt to gain control o the uture by atte"pting to alter the past# Though it "ight not be as e$citing as a Dalorian speeding at %% "iles per hour! "aniacal orces in our o&n reality are atte"pting to acco"plish nearly the sa"e thing by drastically reconceptuali'ing our understanding o history# (art o the &ay history is publicly re"e"bered and allo&ed to e$ert an in luence o)er the cultural "ilieu is through the erection o assorted "onu"ents and "e"orials# This is itsel a practice that! in part! traces its origin back through the pages o sacred scripture# In *oshua +,-./! the representati)es o the tribes o Israel are instructed as to the ollo&ing, 01ach o you is to take up a stone on his shoulder! according to the nu"ber o tribes o the Israelites! to ser)e as a sign a"ong you# In the uture! &hen your children ask you! 23hat do these stones "ean45 tell the" that the lo& o the *ordan &as cut o be ore the ark o the co)enant###These stones are to be a "e"orial to the people o Israel ore)er#6 This is not the only incident in 7cripture &here the belie)er is ad"onished to respect assorted physical historical co""e"orations# In (ro)erbs 22,2%! the child o 8od is ad"onished to re"o)e not the ancient land"ark# 9o doubt one o the reasons thorough going secularists and e)en their sissi ied allies a"ong certain branches o the clergy leaning to the le t anatically lobby or the re"o)al o religious sy"bols and e"ble"s co""e"orating sole"n e)ents in the li e o the nation is to no doubt alter our perception o history in the atte"pt to shi t the country:s underlying )alues and ocus# ;y so doing! it is hoped that <"ericans &ill go ro" the "ost part being an independently inclined group o indi)iduals &ho &ill protect their precious heritage to the point o laying do&n one:s li e should circu"stances re=uire it to one &here the state is looked to as the irst as the source o goodness and truth &hich it is ree to rede ine as changing circu"stances &arrant# One such perspecti)e lent a )oice calling or the re"o)al o (eace Cross >also ?ust as correctly re erred to as @ictory CrossA in ;ladensburg! Maryland# The <"erican Bu"anist <ssociation is orchestrating the ca"paign because the "onu"ent is erected on public land# In the "ind o this agitprop ront group! this )iolates the non.establish"ent clause o the First <"end"ent# Bo&e)er! one area "inister in the CD2/D2012 8a'ette ne&spaper o suburban Maryland pro)ided &hat he considered a nu"ber o Christian reasons as to &hy the "e"orial cross should be taken do&n# Re)# ;rian <da"s o the Mount Rainier Christian Church is aligning hi"sel &ith the outco"e ad)ocated by the <"erican Bu"anist <ssociation because he does not &ant the Cross associated &ith "ilitaris" and patriotis" as a
Egeneral sy"bol o sacri ice#E In "aking his argu"ent! Re)# <da"s enunciated a nu"ber o =uestionable assu"ptions# Be insists that the "e"orial is blasphe"ing the Cross by honoring )iolent people &ith &eapons de ending a country &hile they try to kill people ro" other countries# 9o one in their right "ind said &ar &as a picnic# ;ut ho& else &ill at least a s"all sli)er o goodness other&ise sur)i)e in a allen &orld4 Does Re)# <da"s honestly belie)e that once things ha)e degenerated to the point o physical hostilities that appeals to reason! co"passion! and the brotherhood o "an alone &ill be enough to dissuade those bent on utter desolation4 I the &ay Re)# <da"s categori'es the Cruci i$ion and a nu"ber o ;iblical i"perati)es is a true su""ation o his doctrinal perspecti)e! as a deno"ination the Disciples o Christ is in serious trouble# Though it along &ith the Resurrection is one o the building blocks o the Christian religion and an o ence or stu"bling block to those hoping to "ake it to Bea)en under the po&er o their o&n good &orks &hich are as ilthy rags! the death o Christ upon that accursed tree &as anything but! to use Re)# <da"s: &ords! Ethe sy"bol o the son o 8od dying peace ully#E Bistory and "edical science concur that it &as in act one o the "ost tortuous or"s o e$ecution e)er de)ised# ;ecause the belie)er so appreciates the price paid by *esus at the hill o 8olgotha! o)er the centuries artists and cra ts"en inspired by the "o)ing beauty o Christ5s sacri ice on behal o all sinners ha)e trans or"ed this i"ple"ent o ab?ect ear and terror )isually into a beacon o hope and adoration# Bo&e)er! in the conte$t o &hat happened that original 8ood Friday a ternoon! the be?e&eled sculptures and golden "asterpieces are about as accurate as depicting a ride in Old 7parky the electric chair as i it &as an o)erstu ed Fa'y ;oy recliner &rapped in a plush snuggy# ;y re erencing a &ork as readily a)ailable as EThe Case For ChristE by Fee 7troebel >so "uch so that "any "inistries gi)e a&ay ree paperback editionsA! both disciple and skeptic alike appro$i"ately 2000 years a ter this hinge point o history get a better idea o ?ust ho& peace ul the passing o this 9a'arene carpenter and rabbi &as ro" this &orld# 7troebel in a chapter on the "edical e)idence lays out these horrors# First! *esus &ould ha)e been secured to the cross by dri)ing - inch nails through a portion o the &rist containing a ner)e nearly as sensiti)e as the one in the area o the so. called unny bone# Once secured in this position! the cross &ould ha)e been hoisted upright &ith the eet being secured in position in a "anner si"ilar to and as pain ul as that used upon the &rists# Get! the su ering had only ?ust begun# The gra)ity pulling *esus do&n&ard as the cross &as thrust up&ard &ould ha)e stretched at his ar"s! causing his shoulders to dislocate# 3ith gra)ity pulling the indi)idual do&n&ard! &hate)er &aning strength re"ains in the indi)idual is "ustered to thrust the body up&ard in a re le$ to "erely continue the other&ise si"ple process o breathing so e& o us e)en gi)e a second thought to# In so doing! splinters &ould be dri)en deeper
and deeper into the lesh o the back as it slid against a roughly hued pole not cra ted &ith co" ort in "ind# This struggle &ould e)entually result in su ocation as the )icti" in agony &ould gro& too e$hausted to continue# Death upon the cross &as o such a terri ying o)er&hel"ing agony that a ne& &ord had to be coined in order to accurately describe its uni=ue )ariety o su ering# That &ord &as none other than Ee$cruciatingE# 7o unda"entally &rong about this unda"ental o the true Christian aith! it is no &onder Re)# <da"s is so pro oundly "istaken in regards to other interpretati)e "atters as &ell# Re)# <da"s &rites that the cross is the sy"bol o *esus 0telling his ollo&ers to put do&n their &eapons! and dying or the sake o hope! or the orgi)eness and sal)ation o e)en those &ho put hi" to death#6 3hat Re)# <da"s has done here has been to take a course o action applied in a particular incident and ele)ated it to the status o a categorical uni)ersal i"perati)e# Re)# <da"s is correct in the sense that in *ohn 10,1% *esus instructs that no "an takes Bis li e but that Be gi)es it &illingly# This &as de"onstrated in Fuke + &hen a "ob angered at &ords Christ deli)ered in the synagogue conspired to hurl *esus o)er a cli # <"idst such ho"icidal ren'y! *esus "iraculously pera"bulated on through unnoticed and unscathed# Get! later on! the 7a)ior &as not as eager to elude Bis captors# 3hen (eter atte"pted to rescue *esus resulting in the se)ering o the ear o the high priest:s ser)ant! *esus declares in Matthe& 2H,-3.-+! EDo you think I cannot call on "y Father! and he &ill at once put at "y disposal "ore than t&el)e legions o angels4 ;ut ho& then &ould the 7criptures be ul illed that say it "ust happen this &ay >9I@A4E Christ chastised a ore"ost disciple because Bis un?ust arrest &as to un old so that the greater purpose o Bis being slain ro" the oundation o the &orld "ight be ul illed so that all calling upon the na"e o the Ford "ight be sa)ed# Though each o us are )alued ha)ing been "ade in the i"age o 8od! the &ay &e proceed into 8lory &ill not cause the )ery cos"os to unhinge i it does not transpire in a precise "anner as oretold as a part the public record o religious history# There ore! though honor is to be besto&ed upon those that lose their li)es or the sake o the 8ospel! one &on:t likely be gi)en additional bro&nie points or a cro&n in Bea)en should one not do e)erything "oral &ithin one:s o&n po&er to preser)e one:s o&n li e# In Matthe& -,3C! Christ instructs his disciples to turn the other cheek# O ten! the application o this passage has encouraged an undue paci is" on the part o certain =uietist sects and o)erly pious theologians# Bo&e)er! &hat is being addressed here is "ore akin to indi)idual insults and certainly not the basis around &hich to build a oreign or de ense policy# The 8ospels should not be construed as denying the indi)idual the right o sel de ense should the indi)idual eel the necessity to protect their li e and that o their a"ily# In Fuke 22,3H! Christ instructs! E###and he that hath no s&ord! let hi" sell his gar"ent! and
buy one#E 7cripture ad"onishes the belie)er to be as &ise as a serpent but as har"less as a do)e# 3hile the Christian is not to go around stirring up undue trouble! neither is the Christian to enter une=uipped into situations that &ill result in o)er&hel"ing bodily har" or unnecessary physical death# *ust ho& literally do those raising the turning o the other cheek to so"ething on the le)el o the (ri"e Directi)e ro" 7tar Trek &ant to take the re"ainder o the passage4 In Matthe& -,+1! the te$t reads! E<nd &hosoe)er shall co"pel thee to go a "ile! go &ith hi" t&ain#E 7o &ill those insisting upon the turning o the other cheek as an un"odi iable absolute no& teach their child that! instead o re using to get into a car &ith a stranger! that you as a parent &ill punish the" se)erely i they don:t co"ply &ith e)ery 7anduskite that slithers out o its se&er pile# In his concluding paragraph! Re)# <da"s declares that using the cross to sy"boli'e the "ilitary or to praise the "ilitary a"ounts to a blasphe"y e=ui)alent to taking the Ford:s na"e in )ain# It see"s that clergy &ithin the Disciples o Christ &ould only be interested in adhering to the strictures o the di)ine scriptures &hen they think these teachings can be used to tear do&n the pillars upon &hich this great country rests# For e$a"ple! a nu"ber &ithin the Disciples o Christ are also pushing or the acceptance o ho"ose$uality and ulti"ately gay "arriage# 7o &here is this deno"ination:s outrage o)er )iolation o the co""and"ents prohibiting carnal relations bet&een anyone other than a "arried "an and &o"an4 This tendency to )ie& the ;ible and the traditional teachings that are e$trapolated ro" it as optional lo& ro" the Disciples o Christ positioning itsel as a creedless church# 7uch a or"ali'ed belie is! o course! a creed itsel # <ccording to 3ikipedia! there are those &ithin the Disciples o Christ that deny the Incarnation! the Trinity! and e)en the <tone"ent# 7o &hat:s the point o e)en bothering &ith any o the religious racket i Christ as the only ;egotten o the Father did not co"e to die or our sins4 The cross in ;ladensburg is not a representation o &hat the "ilitary acco"plished through orce o ar"s# Instead! the cross co""e"orates those ro" (rince 8eorge:s County Maryland that died in the First 3orld 3ar# *ohn 1-,13 reads! E8reater lo)e hath no "an than this! that a "an lay do&n his li e or his riends >I*@A#E 8i)en the disdain he has e$pressed or both those that take up ar"s in de ense o the <"erican republic and traditional or"ulation o Christian doctrine! perhaps Re)# <da"s does not )ie& the last ull "easure o de)otion &orthy o re"e"brance and appreciation on the part o the COMMJ9ITG# It see"s those like Re)# <da"s only e$tol this particular concept o social organi'ation &hen it can be in)oked as ?usti ication to urther curtail those areas o e$istence re"aining under personal pur)ie& or to con iscate additional percentages o your property#
Ges! a cross is a distincti)ely Christian sy"bol# ;ut this particular cross under consideration goes beyond the i"ple"ent upon &hich the 7a)ior su ered and died# <t the base o each side o the "e"orial cross in ;ladensburg is e"bossed a )irtue such as endurance! courage! de)otion! and )alor# <s &ell as representing those that died in (rince 8eorge:s County during this particular con lict! these )irtues on each base o the cross re"ind that it is not "an that ranks these character traits a"ong the desirable nobilities to stri)e or but rather that these ha)e been decreed to be so by 8od Bi"sel # To "ost in the 3est in general and the Jnited 7tates in particular during the ti"e o the First 3orld 3ar! deity or 0the higher po&er6 >to categori'e the ulti"ate in a &ay the e&est possible could ob?ect tooA &as understood using Christian or ;iblical or"ulations# 7o &ould those such as Re)# <da"s and his allies a"ong the cultured despisers o the <l"ighty ha)e us re"o)e all other historically accurate sy"boli'ations o godhood as &ell4 <long &ith the &ords 0In 8od &e trust#6 on the back o our currency! does Re)# <da"s also intend to agitate to ha)e the eye o Ra re"o)e ro" particular tenders as &ell4 Does he also &ant to knock o)er the blind olded goddess o ?ustice standing outside "any o <"erica5s courthouses4 For does she not also represent! in a less than ideally Christian "anner &e5ll grant you! the idea that ?ustice originates in a "etaphysical real" abo)e and distinct ro" the state no "atter &hat that social organi'ation5s s&ords or bullets "ight insist4 The "e"orial cross in ;ladensburg is dedicated to a inite nu"ber o indi)iduals! na"ely those ro" (rince 8eorge:s County that died in 3orld 3ar I# There ore! historians e"ployed by the county could do so"ething use ul or a change! rather than continually stirring the pot about the short end o the stick ;lacks ha)e gotten in the past but ha)e "ore than "ade up or no&! by researching i there are any county records e$tant as to the religious a iliations o these honored )eterans# I it turns out they &ere all Christian! nothing should be done to the "e"orial crossK should it turn out that a nu"ber &ere *e&ish! instead o abolishing the park altogether! perhaps a pla=ue could be erected ackno&ledging the contribution o the patriots o that particular aith# The county certainly doesn5t see" to "ind rubbing it in the public5s nose regarding the acco"plish"ents o other "inorities# (sal" 11,3 says! 0I the oundations be destroyed! &hat can the righteous do46 The Founding Fathers &ere correct to &arn o the danger o a state so gi)en o)er to the interests o religion that &hether or not one &as to en?oy the basic entitle"ents and pri)ileges o citi'enship &ould be predicated upon or"ali'ed "e"bership in an established ecclesiastical organi'ation# Bo&e)er! that said! these thinkers also reali'ed that any hu"an undertaking &ould be doo"ed to ailure i such an enterprise &ent out o its &ay to slap aside the outstretched hand o a bene icent deity# by Frederick Meekins
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