Thursday, July 28, 2005

Rewriting History by vote

Mike sent an interesting article today about a Jewish writer defending the inclusion of a Christian cross on the Los Angeles County seal. While I am not the sort of Christian that screams foul whenever Christian symbols in public places are challenged by the court, and am never the type to call such things discrimination or persecution (I am a product of a military family- and to cry foul in such instances strikes me as whiney), this is a disturbing incident (if not disturbing, then positively goofy).

The writer of this article is bothered by the county commission's decision to remove a small cross from the picture of a mission/ church on the seal. It seems that Catholic priests were intergal to the founding of the county and some unfortunate slobs had thought it was important to honor that history.

Anyway, in its big-brotherly attempt to re-write history, the commission deleted the symbol from the insignia. The writer's main problems are three-fold (the rewriting of history, intolerance of a worldview and removal of the foundation of our society).

It is interesting that we have 2 sides of the cultural divide, both desiring to rewrite history in its own image. On the Right we have Wallbuilders and D. James Kennedy's Center for Reclaiming America attempting ignore historians to make the USA a Christian nation in its founding and its early leaders Evangelicals, thereby destroying the separation of church and state and introducing some form of theocracy (at its extreme).

On the Left, as evidenced by the LA County Commission, we have the ACLU (whom I like more than many of my Christian Brethren) and other organizations attempting to purge Christianity not only from our present day society (which is their right, even if I disagree) but also from American history (which is of greater concern), thereby building a barrier on par with the Berlin Wall which would secularize America to the point of denying the existence of its Puritan beginnings and shut the voice of the faithful in the political realm (at its extreme).

Once again, I am at a loss because of the radical nature of these extremes. Why is it so hard to understand the US has a complex and difficult history regarding religion? Why is it so hard to honor the past without rewriting it or deifying it? Why do we think that we need to rewrite the past to justify our present political desires (we are not the 1st such society- Communist Russia, China and Nazi Germany all did great historical rewrites)?

So, I guess I will return home and pick up my copies of Howard Zinn's a People's History of the United States and Paul Johnson's A History of the American People and try to figure out where the truth lay as I read to books telling radically different histories of the the same nation. Could they both be a little right? And a little wrong?

note: this is not a new happening or article.

No comments: