The City of Charleston has received notice from an out of state group that the cross at the memorial at the fire station that suffered the 9 lost fire fighters in the furniture store fire of a few years ago must come down or the City of Charleston will be sued. The Wisconsin based Freedom from Religion Foundation is ready to sue.
On some level, that is fair enough. There are always wealthy people with nutty ideas who fund groups that hire people to carry out their fringe agendas. Some of those people are true believers; some of them just need a paycheck. So, when one comes across some of the fringe groups, there is always the thought of, well, they got make a living.
However, there is the type of selfish crazy view that just cannot be bought. According to published reports, the attorney for the Freedom of Religion Foundation is arguing that the efforts to memorialize the Charleston Nine are a “sham.” Those folks appear to believe that is all part of a plot to promote the Christian religion by the City of Charleston. Using their logic, the federal government wishes to promote religion by offering crosses, Stars of Davids, and crescents to fallen US soldiers in military cemeteries.
It is a classic tactic of a fringe group out of touch with reality. Attack something that seems sacred to a community, such as memorial to fallen firefighters, and get attention and a sense of self importance by making the people of a community spend resources and time on your agenda. Such acts are bigoted, selfish and insensitive. Such groups are what they claim to fight.
And, just what does the Freedom from Religion Foundation fight for? There are references to free thought on their website. Who is against that? But, when you dig deeper, you find they seem to want people to think like they do. Again, that is the tactics of fringe group. They talk about justice and freedom but only for liked minded people. It is interesting that their efforts appear to be against Christian faith more than others. If one looks at their website’s news section, it is pretty clear. That’s their right.
But, the rest of us have rights as well. If the Freedom from Religion Foundation really believes that the City of Charleston’s efforts to honor the Charleston Nine at their station house is a “sham,” they should not sit back and threaten to sue and issue press releases, instead they should have the courage and the honor to come to South Carolina, meet with the survivors of the Charleston Nine, look them in the eyes and tell them that the efforts to honor their loved ones is sham. Anything less than that and the word “pissants” comes to mind.
If you can not pray for the Charleston Nine and the survivors because you do not believe in prayer, that is your right. But, at least, have the sense of decency and shame not to drag an effort to honor fallen firefighters into your myopic and self centered worldview.