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 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:
New York artist Daniel Libeskind, the son of Holocaust survivors, designed the memorial. His plan features a split limestone path toward two, upright panels. Cutouts on the panels are positioned to reveal a broken, six-pointed Star of David. An account from an Auschwitz death camp survivor would be embossed on the panels, and a stone wall that sits along the path would have an engraved quote honoring the death camp liberators: “If you save one life, it is as if you saved the world.”
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:
IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE SIX MILLION JEWS WHO PERISHED IN THE HOLOCAUST AND MILLIONS MORE INCLUDING PRISONERS OF WAR, ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS MINORITIES, HOMOSEXUALS, THE MENTALLY ILL, THE DISABLED, AND POLITICAL DISSIDENTS WHO SUFFERED UNDER NAZI GERMANY.
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.