COMMENTARY | Perhaps you’ve heard that a couple of people have made a cottage industry out of accusing President Barack Obama of being a Muslim, being against Christianity, possibly an atheist (according to Ann Coulter), and even possibly being the antichrist (1.05 million hits on Yahoo).
This next story should shock you, if you buy into these arguments.
On December 12, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled that a 43 foot tall cross, which is on Mount Soledad outside of San Diego, which was erected back in 1954 to honor military veterans, must be torn down within 90 days.
It sounds like yet another battle between Democrats and Republicans over the issue of church and state. But the battle lines aren’t what you would expect.
You see, U. S. District Judge Larry Burns, who was appointed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney by Ronald Reagan back in 1985 and was nominated to his current position by President George W. Bush in 2003, made the ruling that the cross should be torn down.
And it was the Obama Administration who defended the Mount Soledad Memorial Association (which erected the cross). The government should not be required “to tear down a cross that has stood without incident for 58 years as a highly venerated memorial to the nation’s fallen service members” said Obama’s Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.
Verrilli made that appeal in his argument to the U.S. Supreme Court after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the cross had to go back in 2011. But for some reason, the Supreme Court, with a majority of GOP appointees (Samuel Alito and John Roberts – George W. Bush, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy – Ronald Reagan, Clarence Thomas – George H. W. Bush) declined to hear the case, letting the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling stand.
I’ll bet Fox News rushed to the Obama Administration’s defense, offering rare praise for Barack Obama, encouraging our Chief Executive to continue the fight on behalf of the cross.
Nope. Here’s the story. Here’s another one from another Fox source. Obama’s name is never mentioned, even though he’s the one defending the Mount Soledad Association in this case. You’d think that might come up in a news story, unless it’s messing with a more frequently parroted story from hosts and guests about Obama’s supposed Islamic heritage, or the belief that he’s some atheist communist.
Does this mean that Obama’s a militant Christian, always defending the faith at every turn? No. Does this mean that Reagan and George W. Bush are closet atheists for picking Judge Burns? No. In fact, Judge Burns has indicated he felt like his hands were tied in the decision. But it does show that we’ve been fed a load of baloney by a few people who have concocted a false tale as a way to try and whip up Christians to produce votes for one party, an action which really doesn’t fit with what Christianity is really all about.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga.