Atheists attack Star of David at Holocaust Memorial

They’ve tried (and failed) to strip “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, eradicate the National Day of Prayer, and … Continued

They’ve tried (and failed) to strip “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, eradicate the National Day of Prayer, and even have a World War II memorial torn down, but their new target takes their attacks on our Judeo-Christian heritage to new levels of absurdity and reprehensible insult.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, the self-described “largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics)” in America, boasting 19,000 members nationwide, has now targeted the first Holocaust memorial at a state capital.

As the Washington Post describes the memorial:

FFRF’s beef, the design chosen for the memorial includes a Star of David, which they claim would “align the State of Ohio with one religion and its sacred symbol.”

But going even further, they assert that including the Star of David, in a Holocaust memorial, is “exclusionary” and a “dishonor.”

Aside from some fairly blatant legal flaws, FFRF blindly equates the Star of David, in the context of the Holocaust, with the Jewish religion and nothing else, saying that to include the Star of David is to exclude all others affected by the Holocaust.

Freedom From Religion Foundation ignores the fact that the Jewish people were specifically targeted by the Nazis for extermination in the Holocaust. They ignore the fact that six million Jews were systematically murdered in the atrocities of the Holocaust.

The fact is the Star of David is the unmistakable symbol of the Jewish people. More than merely a religious symbol, it is the symbol of the Jewish state (emblazoned prominently on the flag of the State of Israel).

But here, in the context of the Holocaust, the case is much more simple. It is not about religion at all. The Jewish people were forced to wear the Star of David by their Nazi captors. It is a direct historical symbol of what occurred. And since World War II, the symbol has marked the graves and memorials of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is literally attempting to change history at the expense of the Jewish people, the Holocaust survivors, and the memories of those who died in Nazi concentration camps.

To assert that the Star of David has nothing to do with the Holocaust is an insult to the memory of the millions of Jews who were tortured and killed in concentration camps the Jews who were forced to wear that very same Star.

This angry atheist group’s animus against religion is so all-consuming that they are willing to do or say just about anything. They actually compare the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust directly with what they intentionally and insensitively label the “holocaust on our shores,” the legal wranglings in courts over the so-called separation of church and state. Comparing civil legal battles in the U.S. to the literal extermination of the Jews is abominable. And lest they miss an opportunity to attack Christians as well, FFRF unleashed a diatribe about the “sinister role” Christianity played in the Holocaust.

This type of vitriolic and hurtful rhetoric, the veiled threat of legal action to prevent a Holocaust memorial, and claiming that it is a pretext to impose the Jewish religion on the people of Ohio is disdainful and absurd.

The Holocaust memorial in Ohio doesn’t have anything to do with promoting religion. Any reasonable observer with a fifth grade education knows that the Holocaust was the racial genocide of the Jewish people and that the Star of David honors their memory.

The inscription on the memorial itself will read:

Hardly discriminatory.

In fact, not even FFRF can bring themselves to directly declare the Star of David unconstitutional, resorting to vague references to it being “constitutionally problematic,” raising “constitutional concerns,” or that another design would be “preferable to avoid a potentially unconstitutional entanglement of government and religion.”

At the ACLJ, we just sent a letter to the governor and Attorney General of Ohio on behalf of thousands (far more than 19,000) Americans defending the Star of David’s inclusion in the Holocaust memorial and pledging our support in defending it from these outrageous attacks. We will be far more direct in our legal argument.

Including the Star of David in a Holocaust memorial does not violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court has made clear that the Constitution’s “goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm.” Here, the Star of David is far from a strictly religious symbol. It is a historically significant symbol of the Jewish people and of the atrocities of the Holocaust itself.

The irrationality of a few (who do not even speak for all atheists) must not be allowed to whitewash history and insult the memory of those who endured the Holocaust.

Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the

American Center for Law and Justice

(ACLJ). Matthew Clark is an attorney at the ACLJ. Follow them on Twitter:

@JordanSekulow

and

@_MatthewClark

.

About

Jordan Sekulow and Matthew Clark Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Matthew Clark is an attorney at the ACLJ. Follow them on Twitter: @JordanSekulow and @_MatthewClark.
  • WmarkW

    When I agree with Jordan Sekulow on a church-state issue, someone really screwed up.

  • jsoles2001

    What jerks. If they don’t believe, why not mind their own business instead of minding people who do believe?

  • gladerunner

    “Atheists attack Star of David ”
    Wow… I expected to read about riots, vandalism, defacement, carnage, pitchforks and torches….
    This is a laughable use of the word ‘attack’.
    They spoke out against it., They wrote letters. That’s it, that is all.
    Yes, they voiced an opinion against it. I don’t even think I agree with them, but all they did was write a letter, that’s it. No mobs, no threats, not even a line of protesters.
    Is a person, or group of persons not allowed to hold an opposing opinion, even a minority one, and write a letter about it?
    Besides, the ‘Free Republic’ reports:
    “Despite the FFRF’s intense opposition, the design was approved”
    You think? You won already! Why all the vitriol over a powerless and ineffective minority group?

  • leibowde84

    This is a tricky one. I think that no governmental money should ever be spent on any religious symbol. But, the holocaust seems to deserve an exception.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Yes, we wrote letters and talked about it. And a lot of us even said that we’d be OK with the Star of David being there, if some other symbols representing the non-Jewish victims could also be included. Since the Jews had to wear the Star, but the others had to wear various colored triangles, perhaps working a triangle into the monument would be more inclusive.

    As it stands, this is a memorial to the Jewish victims only, and ignores the millions of other people who died. And that would be fine if this were being built on private land with private money. A memorial on public land being paid for with public funds should not be sectarian. If there’s no way to build it without being sectarian, then the government should not be the ones building it.

    I don’t see how this is “vitriolic and hurtful rhetoric”.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Because the people who do believe seem intent on pushing religion into every single corner of public life. When they stop that, then we’ll quit complaining about it.

  • nkri401

    “Atheists attack Star of David at Holocaust Memorial”

    Hyperbole much??

  • nkri401

    Ubi,

    Well, to Mr. Sekulow and his followers, anything less than the full Christian (his version only) Theocracy is abomination to his God. So everyone else is “vitriolic and hurtful rhetoric”.

  • ph238

    First of all, this is not the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. The author doesn’t make that very clear. Secondly he doesn’t tell us to what extent the museum is taxpayer funded and how the funding was approved. Thirdly, there were other groups targeted (gays, Roma, Poles) though Jews were clearly the main focus. Fourth, millions of Christians were killed in the early Soviet period and millions of Ukrainians died in the Holdomor and there is no memorial to them. The memorial for the victims of Communism in DC is a single statue. Would Sekulow argue for state-supported memorials to the Russian Orthodox and the Ukrainians? And what about American slaves? Or, for that matter, South American slaves? Armenians? Cambodians? Rwandans? So it does seem to me there is an element of state support for a particular religion.

  • northernharrier

    Mr. Sekulow and Mr. Clark have a lot of nerve writing an opinion piece about respect for religion – they frequently show a lack of respect for many peoples’ religious beliefs by promoting false information about atheists and law. With regard to including the Star of David in the structure of the Holocaust memorial, they are correct in pointing out that, among all the various groups singled out for death by the perpetrators of the Holocaust, the Jews were specially targeted for genocide as the main focus of the Nazi propaganda machine that singled out the Jewish people as the purported cause of all of the world’s problems.

    However, that fact does not in any way reduce the tragedy of the slaughter of gays and lesbians, non-white people, people with mental and physical disabilities, and more. If the Star of David is included in the structure of the memorial, great care should be taken to include symbols of the mass murder of all of the groups singled out by the extermination apparatus. I can see how it would possibly hurt the feelings of members of other groups put to death in the Holocaust if it looked like the memorial was somehow minimizing the deaths of the non-Jews killed. I think a compromise could probably be worked out with symbols or written explanations of all of the groups victimized during the tragedy, if the Star of David is featured somewhere. Better yet, put symbols of all of the groups targeted together, to symbolize that each death was an equal tragedy that we should remember, so we can prevent present and future holocausts from happening again.

  • northernharrier

    The Museum is funded privately- not by any tax revenue.

  • Out&About

    Nothing is being attacked. Legal papers are flying back and forth, opinions are being shared. Either the courts will agree or they will not. To date, property and persons have not been harmed, maimed, or killed by atheists just because of a contested monument. Stop being over the top drama mamas.

  • drmwlau

    They want the pledge of allegiance to be unconstitutional. They want the currency to be unconstitutional. They want Christmas as a federal holiday to be unconstitutional. They want the Lincoln Memorial to be unconstitutional. They want inaugural traditions to be unconstitutional. They want Article VII (“Year of our Lord”) of the Constitution to be unconstitutional. They want historic war memorials to be unconstitutional. They want all public events and spaces to be pristine from an atheist point of view. The difference between what they want and official atheism is microscopic.

  • Alex Ortner

    If this memorial is paid for with public money on public land I agree with the atheists. It should not have any religious symbols or all religious symbols. All my relatives on my father side except my father were Jews murdered by the Nazi’s and I have no problem separating church and state why do you?

  • Joe Krol

    OK, we are hearing arguments from polar opposites of the spectrum here. As is usually the case the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Both sides of this argument refuse to give an inch in fear that the other will take a mile and that I can understand as human nature.

    I am a Christian, I say this not to try to convert or distance myself from anyone but in the interest of being open and honest.

    That said I believe the issue that is usually danced around but has never been addressed by the courts, or without emotion by either side is that the separation of “church and state” is a “CONCEPT” and does not appear ANYWHERE in ANY of the founding documents. It is a term derived from a letter Thomas Jefferson sent in a reply letter to the committee of Danbury Baptists in 1802. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”. This memorial is making no attempt to “ESTABLISH a religion or even promote one.

    I am in agreement that there were 12 million people that were exterminated, and all groups should be properly represented. However, of all who were murdered, half were Jews and were the focus of the “Final Solution” and the Nazi’s used the Star to single them out.
    I also submit that when a practice of a belief system of ANY kind is pursued. promoted and conversions sought that it is a “Religion”. Therefore, although the existence, influence or proof of a deity or supreme being or God is denounced, denied or not believed by Agnostics or Atheists, their relentless pursuit of others to fall in step with their beliefs (no different than the other religions of the world), is infact a de facto religion and subject to the very “separation” they seek.
    In short Atheists and Agnostics have a right to their opinion. I respect that but your rights do not out weigh mine or anyone elses. Promoting Atheist or Agnostic beliefs in any government funded venue is just as wrong.

  • an AMERICAN VETERAN

    That should have said, “Very well said Joe” !

  • Joe Krol

    Thank you! (USNR – HM3)

  • Ben Faust

    The problem is that the symbol reminds the Atheists of God. The thought of Him haunts them. Removing all mention of Him from society is the only way they know to silence the voice that still screams inside of them, “There is a God and some day you must give an account to Him!”

    “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind…” (Romans 1:28)

  • larryclyons

    Interesting agenda from a an executive director and senior attorney of a fanatical pro-Christian group.

  • nkri401

    “Promoting Atheist or Agnostic beliefs in any government funded venue is just as wrong.”

    Asking government not to favor one religion is not Atheism. A typical religionist thinks Atheism is a “kind of religion” thus not favoring Christian religion is favoring Atheism religion. It is not.

    The “church and government separation” is really to protect all the religions. See Ireland, for example.

  • Rongoklunk

    9/11 showed us that faith is nothing to brag about. It can get us all killed, and one day maybe it will.
    After 9/11 every religious person should ask themselves if their faith is as stupid as the terrorist’s faith. It probably is exactly the same. Atheism is the only truth worth looking into. As far as we know there are no gods, and never were any. We are the god-inventing animals, and it’s time we grew up before we all get killed by some religious nut.

  • plq

    “Agnostics or Atheists, their relentless pursuit of others to fall in step with their beliefs (no different than the other religions of the world), is infact a de facto religion and subject to the very “separation” they seek. ”

    Joe, Great statment!

    I am in complete agreement that the beliefs they wish to force upon any others is at the very least hypocritical. To want “nothing” to signal any belief other than theirs is offensive, whereas any place that does contain some symbol of belief, they can claim as a display of “their” beliefs. To be equal, neither belief set should supersede the other.

  • Rongoklunk

    If anything showed people that no gods exist, it was the Holocaust where six million Jews were slaughtered and no god showed up to help them. If any god existed he would surely have done something to help the Jews.
    But, as usual, he did absolutely nothing. He behaved exactly as if he didn’t exist, so we have to accept that he doesn’t exist. Human beings invented thousands of gods over time. Every single one of them was invented by fearful primitives in ancient times. That has to include Allah, Vishnu, Brahma and the christian God; all made up.

  • Ben Faust

    You do realize that Allah was invented less than 2,000 years ago, right? Does that count as ancient times? But you do make a good point: If God does not act in the way or the time you think He should, then He obviously does not exist.

  • nkri401

    What is “official atheism”?

  • nkri401

    BTW, do you think the pledge of allegiance is in the Bible?

    Also, I do take an offence that God is plasterd on the money – Jesus did not think much about the money changers, did He?

  • nkri401

    “their relentless pursuit ” – how does this relentless compare to the relentless missionaries during the colonial times?

  • Joe Krol

    Keep reading… …”their relentless pursuit of others to fall in step with their beliefs (no different than the other religions of the world)”. It is no secret (nor should it be) that people have totally twisted the Bible validate their pursuit of “purification” over “lesser”people. I find this practice more distasteful then the “Final Solution” because not only were they causing the imprisonment, in salvement and deaths of countless people but they were twisting the meaning of the scriptures to do it.
    I will not presume to speak for any others here but for myself I can say that I know I cannot “convert” anyone. It is not my “job” as a Christian. What is my “job”, if you will, is to use Jesus Christ as an example by which to live my life. Through being a living, breathing witness of what it means to have Christ as the center of my life the Holy Spirit can work in the lives of those I come in contact with. All Christian faith doctrines are NOT the same. The bottom line is the decision to choose whether or not to follow Christ is an individual one. God is not a puppet master controlling our lives, and is subject to the Laws he created.
    But I digress, this is not the place for a discussion about religions, to do so takes the focus away for the real issue which is the First Amendment, specifically freedom of religion, and the context in which the Constitution addresses it. Point of fact is the 1st amendment DOES NOT EMPOWER the GOVERNMENT to regulate religious practices or anything ABOUT religion. In fact the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, work the other way around, they EMPOWER THE PEOPLE OVER THE GOVERNMENT. They are guarantees of sorts that the Government cannot encroach on the lives and freedoms of the people. In the past 30 or so years that fact has become lost in the money from lobbyists, corporate contributions and special interest groups, that have purchased elected officials opinions. There is very little honor or honesty left in DC.

  • Joe Krol

    As much as I can, looking at the question of “is there a God or not?” from an atheist or agnostic point of view is a mutually definitive question in that it really is a YES or NO, 50/50 question.

    I have faith that God exists but like the agnostic and atheists will point out “there is no proof”, or absence of obvious divine intervention when and where they believe it should have taken place means definitively there is no God. This no more proves that God does NOT exist as looking at the miracles of and in the scriptures prove to me that there is a God.

    Much like life else where in the universe is a statistical probability there is no proof and since nobody has visited us and appeared on Oprah or Dr. Phil they must not exist either… It comes down to faith and they have the right not to have it.

    But I would submit that there is a 50/50 chance that they are wrong and the same odds I am wrong. That, to me is a VERY large gamble with eternity!

    If I’m right living the way I do and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I have an eternity with Christ. If I’m wrong I have left a wonderful example of how to live for my kids and positively impacted many many people.

    Living the way they do if they are right they have left a wonderful example of how to live for their kids and positively impacted many many people. BUT if they are wrong EVEN THOUGH they have lived the same type of life I endeavor to they will be lost to eternal separation. Too much at stake for me. But hey the Choice is theirs!

  • Rongoklunk

    Name one act that this invisble skydude did, that can’t be attributed to other sources.
    Gods are man-made characters, and the evidence is the more than 3500 gods that humans invented, from Apollo to Zeus. It says clearly that we humans are the god-making species, culture after culture were addicted to making them up — because it was so comforting, and helped them sleep better at night. Gods are testament to their fear and dread of death. Science does not recognize gods or an after life, and offers us much better explanations of our origins and evolution. Gods had no part of it. They’re mythical by definition.

  • Ben Faust

    Anyone can attribute anything to whatever they choose. For example, some can attribute the irreducible complexity of the manifold systems in man (or any creature) to divine creation, while others can attribute it to a long, long, long series of accidents. By definition, the Big Bang is also a myth. Do you really expect one of us to prove to the other in this format and to their satisfaction whether God does or does not exist? We’ll both know first hand some day relatively just a breath away.

  • Joe Krol

    “Science” has been wrong before MONUMENTALLY wrong. With and without the involvement of the church!
    The earth is flat,
    Blacks are inferior mentally and physically (this was “Science FACT” as late as WWII)
    The sun, moon and planets revolve around the earth
    The sound barrier is an impenetrable wall that will never be breached!
    Boats made out of metal can’t float (this one is grey cause they actually don’t float they displace but they do ride on the water).

    There are a bunch more but the point is made. Science is often incorrect.

  • Tim Bruening

    The atheists also went to court over the Holocaust memorial design.

  • Rongoklunk

    Unlike religion, science is the search for truth. There was no science in the days when folks believed the earth was flat, and believed that black folks were inferior, and believed in magic and the supernatural. Those were back in the days of Christendom when religion ruled the known world, and fought Muslims, Jews and heretics for centuries. It wrote the book on torture, and especially enjoyed burning alive people who disagreed with their skygod beliefs. Religion fought scientific knowledge, and even forced Galileo (and others) to stop searching for the truth. Religion was so terrified of the truth that it killed or otherwise silenced any attempts at a scientific understanding of the world. It has been said that man would have been on the moon hundreds of years ago, if the church hadn’t retarded scientific inquiry. Knowledge was the church’s enemy. Science wasn’t allowed to develop until after the Enlightenment, when secularism finally arrived, and religion had to back off finally. Now we have a world made magnificent by science. We have planes now that take us across the world. We have trains and buses, and movies and television and radio, we have computers which puts knowledge literally at our fingertips, allowing us to communicate like this; not because of religion – but because we have science. Without science our lives would be primitive indeed. All that religion has given us in this century happened on 9/11, when nineteen devout believers removed the World Trade Center and killed thousands of people for Allah, with a bonus of 72 virgins each. You don’t have to be crazy to believe that nonsense; just religious.

  • Joel Hardman

    The letter the authors linked to does not “unleash[] a diatribe about the ‘sinister role’ Christianity played in the Holocaust.” Rather, it points out the sinister role of the union between Christianity and the state. Either the authors do not understand this distinction, or they disingenuously misrepresented FFRF’s statement. I suppose the authors also fail to misunderstand or misrepresent FFRF’s motivations. FFRF opposes government sponsorship of religion, rather than hating religion itself.

    Read the documents from FFRF that are linked to in this article and you’ll see that FFRF’s position is nowhere near as silly as this article suggests.

  • Joel Hardman

    * The authors fail to understand, not fail to misunderstand.

  • Stankyfeet

    Clearly, Rongoklunk, you do not have enough faith to be an atheist.

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