Atheists Broaden Attacks on Military Memorials

An atheist thinks this is an illegal “Christian shrine.”

Multiple military war memorials are now under attack by atheists who consider the presence of a Christian cross offensive.

Former soldier and current atheist Jason Torpy, the one-man association of military atheists (MAAF), has previously lodged complaints with the US Marines over the Camp Pendleton cross (which has yet to be resolved).  He is opposed to the cross in Arlington National Cemetery for the same reason.

This follows the national trend of several activist organizations that have been threatening cities and towns with lawsuits if they fail to remove memorials which contain crosses — even if those memorials were erected decades ago to commemorate the war dead.

The latest target is a similarly-themed memorial — the silhouette of a soldier kneeling at the grave or marker for a fallen comrade.

The war memorial in King, North Carolina.

Two similar memorials, a proposed one in Lake Elsinore, CA, and an actual one in King, NC, are under attack.  The one in King is the subject of a lawsuit brought by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State on behalf of Afghan war veteran Steve Hewett, the result of a years-long argument in the town.  The one in California is in the design phase, with the current proposal also including a Star of David.

While it seems most average people see the memorial for what it is, hypersensitive atheists — who fear a Christian insinuation under every stone — apparently think the memorial is intended to show subservience to Christianity.

The fact that the iconic silhouette accurately reflects the historic image of a soldier in front of a headstone-sized cross — not a Calvary-sized cross — is apparently irrelevant to the easily offended critics.  Torpy goes so far as to call the silhouettes “Christian shrines.”

The town of Lake Elsinore recognized the distinction in its decision to include the Star of David — not out of an obligation for religious equality, but out of historical accuracy [emphasis added]:

The committee decided to keep the cross, but to add a Star of David to the design because World War II-era U.S. military gravestones used both symbols.

The presence of the silhouette neither establishes nor favors any particular religion.  The presence of the cross in the image is no more unusual than the presence of a cross in a photo of a World War II cemetery.

For his part, Torpy is establishing himself as the “all in” hypersensitive atheist.  As noted previously, he is the sole person intellectually consistent enough to oppose not only these memorials, but even the one in Arlington National cemetery — something even the ACLU won’t touch.  He’s not correct, of course, and the ACLU has a fairly decent explanation for their lack of opposition to the Arlington cross.  But at least Torpy is consistent.

He demonstrated consistent hypersensitivity here, too.  An ally suggested that the memorial should use a battlefield cross, rather than a Christian cross.  While perhaps more recognizable in modern conflicts than previous wars, many people do see the battlefield cross (sometimes also called a Soldier’s cross) — an upended rifle, helmet, boots and dog tag — as a military memorial for a fallen comrade.

Torpy’s response:  Its offensive to call it a battlefield “cross.”

Classy.  Wonder when he’ll launch his tirade against some of the nation’s highest military honors.

Photo credit:  A soldier grieves at a memorial service for Spc. Artimus Brassfield and Spc. Jose L. Mora Jr., in Samarra, Iraq, Oct. 28, 2003. The soldiers were killed in a mortar attack while serving with the 66th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, at Forward Observation Base Stoddard, Oct. 24, 2003. (DoD photo by Sgt. Jack Morse, U.S. Army)