The Supreme Court just heard arguments in the case of Buono v. Salazar, a case which is challenging the use of a gigantic cross on federal land, which was initially erected to honor WWI dead but has now become a cause celebre for the wanna-be theocrats who want official endorsement of America as a Christian nation. This exchange with Scalia is simply stunning: the man is an incompetent ideologue who I wouldn’t trust to rule on a parking ticket. Can we have him impeached?
Here’s how he reacted when told that non-Christians might object a teeny-tiny bit to having their dead memorialized with a gigantic Christian symbol.
“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!”
Far less outrageous is the conclusion that religious symbols are not religious.
Since Scalia is such an open-minded syncretist, I suggest that when he dies, right after all the partying and celebration, we atheists pass around a hat and get a collection going to erect a huge Muslim crescent over his grave. Not only will it honor the dead man, but it’ll let us do double-duty when we all line up to piss on it. Everyone wins!