Memorial crosses do have religious meaning
This is in response to the letter to the editor by Pastor Lindon Sparks ("Crosses aren't always religious symbols," Jan. 13).
I struggle with the notion of somebody in his pastoral position actually suggesting that "A cross beside the highway marking the spot where a loved one died has no religious meanings." I apologize but that is the most absurd thing I've heard. I truly agree it is a marker where a loved one has died, however to suggest that the individual who erected that cross was not commemorating that person's spirituality is preposterous. Most anyone walking along that roadside seeing that cross would have the courtesy and respect to leave it alone. If someone was to place another type of symbol, chances are it may be removed, knocked down or tampered with. The very fact that it is a cross tells the people in this country that a certain level of respect must be acknowledged.
Not to suggest in the world at large but in this country of fairly well-educated individuals there are certain symbols that the general public knows without question represent specific attitudes. If you show a child in school a bell with a crack in it, the first concept that comes to mind is "Liberty." under the same thought process if one was to hang a banner with stars and stripes in a red, white and blue color combination, I would wager to believe that most people would assume that banner represents this nation's ideology.
Mr. Sparks also suggest that "A cross erected to honor the military men and women who died for this country in a war represents no religion." I wholeheartedly beg to differ. Why would this nation in a national cemetery differentiate between a cross and a Star of David if it did not in fact symbolized a particular religious belief. When I look at the Star of David I automatically make the assumption that symbol is of the Hebrew faith. Naturally I would assume that a cross is of the Christian faith.
Being raised by devout Catholic parents, growing up I was capable of distinguishing between a Catholic crucifix and a Protestant cross, both being symbols of two separate Christian ideologies. I know from my own education that the Protestant Reformation removed the Corpus from the cross because it symbolized idolatry to the Reformation Church. In my youth my parents told me that all crosses without the Corpus were considered symbols of the Protestant faith. For me there was no delineation between Methodist, Baptist, or Anglican. They were all considered Protestant simply because of the cross.
This country is based on separation of church and state. Our country prides itself on not manifesting one religious belief over another one. I personally feel that is one of the most profound freedoms that this country possesses. I totally appreciate why in this modern society it is politically not correct to place symbols of specific religions on public grounds.
If we follow Mr. Sparks understanding that a cross has no religious meanings, then the assumption would be that the swastika has no political meaning. Why don't we place a swastika on the roadside to mark the passing of a loved one? I'm sure our national cemeteries would love that idea, placing a swastika in lieu of a cross. "Think about it."
Gary Olguin, Barstow