There's been an uproar from the Atheist camp over the cross from 9/11 being included in the memorial. I went onto a blog discussing it and read the same old hat arguments. It's unconstitutional to have the cross, they say. But that's wrong.
The 1st Amendment in the Constitution which addresses this issue reads thus:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....
Basically the amendment does two things:
1) Ensures that Congress does not establish a state religion. In other words, unlike Great Britain whose state religion is the Church of England, the United States has no state sponsored religion. And the United States cannot create a state sponsored religion.
2) Ensures that individuals and religious bodies are allowed to exercise their religious beliefs. Basically this means that if a student wants to read a Bible at school or pray over a meal, they are allowed to do so.
What the Constitution does not say:
1) That monuments for the public cannot include religious symbols. Congress cannot endorse a religion nor can it prevent the public display of religious symbols. The government must remain neutral. The whole uproar over the cross is laughable since the Holocaust museum is a government funded museum and holds numerous symbols for Judaism. The same is true of National Parks and the Arlington Cemetery that include headstones with crosses on them.
2) The government can force religious institutions like the Catholic Church or individuals such as pharmacists to go against their beliefs if it's part of their job or they receive government funding. And this is the crux of the whole religious freedom argument. The government cannot prevent people from following their beliefs. This is from the gay marriage issue all the way down to pre-med students learning how to perform abortions.
So blab all you want about the Constitution preventing the display of religious symbols in government-run public arenas, but that isn't in the Constitution.
Article about the Lawsuit over the 9/11 Cross
Article about Muslim Students allowed services during School -great article
Forcing Religious Institutions and Individuals to provide free Contraceptive care
Valedictorian's Speech Censored because of it's discussion of how Jesus changed student's life