Of Dogs and the Cross and Tolerance

In recent news, there have two events that I feel are intricately linked. One occurred in Sweden and the other in the United States.




The Swedish cartoonist, who had drawn Muhammad as a dog,  was attacked as he began a university lecture on free speech, by a group of presumably Muslim young men. Islam considers any image of Muhammad to be an insult.

In California, thieves, possibly with a motive prompted by the recent SCOTUS ruling, stole the Veterans memorial cross in the  Mojave National Preserve. Despite a $25,000 rewards, the cross has not been recovered nor have the thieves been apprehended.

(The thread photo is not of the stolen cross.)



Much of Europe is struggling with Muslim immigrants and several nations have passed or are considering laws to restrict their behavior in public, such as France’s and Finland’s (?) proposed ban on burkas in public.

In the United States, Judeo – Christian symbolism has been used on public buildings since the beginning of the nation. Recent SCOTUS rulings allow said symbolism that it of a historical nature. The cross (or it’s replacement) have been on that site for over 75 years.

To me, no one should ever be condemned or attacked for practicing free speech and no one has the right to steal property, regardless of the motivation.

Both situations anger me greatly.

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs.” – JFK

What are your thoughts?

William Stephenson Clark


Filed under Religion

19 responses to “Of Dogs and the Cross and Tolerance

  1. indypendent

    Both of these examples of intolerance bother me greatly but I always have to come back to the same old question – when will people learn to stop using their religion, or lack of religion, as their choice of weapon?

    But between both stories – what bothers me the most is the one about the Mojave Desert cross. Maybe the person(s) that took it thought they could get alot of money for it since it was recently made famous? Or did they take it simply because they could?

    I just don’t get what pleasure or jollies someone would get out of taking a cross out of a desert. Maybe I am too old or I am just naive – but I just don’t get it.

  2. When Sarah becomes president and rewrites our country’s Constitution to more closely resemble the Bible, there will be a law against making any likeness of God — then we’ll be more like those Muslims who dislike cartoons.

    We still don’t know which interpretation of the Bible will be used to make our laws, we just know that since Christianity is the superior religion our theocracy will be superior too.

  3. tosmarttobegop

    Religious belief is such a personal matter that often people see an attack on the symbols of the belief as an personal attack upon them. Others see those symbols as standing for an attack on them and their personal beliefs.

    The faulting of it is when someone is so ridged in their belief that they will not allow others to have their own.

  4. tosmarttobegop

    A problem with that Fnord is like those who want a Constitutional government they do not actually understand what that will mean to them. What is frightening is that many of those wanting a Bible based government want it to be according to the old testament.

    • Call me silly, but I think people who run for POTUS should understand all forms of government. I even think they should be smart, honest, capable of critical thinking skills.

  5. WSClark

    I am not sure which story angers me most. The Cross theft, because it was erected to honor fallen veterans or freedom of speech attack because I consider that freedom to be of utmost importance.

    In nations ruled by totalitarian regimes, the freedom to speak freely is the first taken from the people. In China, dissidents get look prison terms for speaking their minds.

    As much as I am disgusted by the Phelps Family Crime Syndicate, they are entitled to their freedom of speech, just as I am free to respond to their hatred with words of my own.

  6. We know the motive for the first: hatred. The second is nowhere near clear. Could be anybody for any reason, including a simple prank.

    Intolerance manifests itself in too many ways to even comprehend. We’ve all been guilty of it in one way or another. The intelligent ones learn from it; the not so intelligent live it.

  7. Freebird1971

    That cross had been there for 75 years and now it is offensive ? Instead of being more tolerant it seems to me that intolerance from both sides is becoming more the norm than the exception.
    Like you indy I cant understand why some one would want to steal that Cross, Maybe it was their way at getting back at someone for something,I just don’t know. I do know that who ever did it for whatever reason should be punished to the full extent of the law.

    • WSClark

      “That cross had been there for 75 years and now it is offensive?”

      Society used to be more accepting of Christian symbolism on public property. That began to change with Madalyn Murray O’Hair, in the 60’s.

      I am not a Christian, but I don’t have a problem with said symbolism on public property if it is of a historical nature, as was this cross.

      As noted elsewhere, if it were required to remove ALL religious symbolism, then half of Washington DC would have to be torn down.

      (Maybe that ain’t such a bad idea!)

      By the way, this is not the first time the cross has been stolen. The current cross was a replacement for one that had been stolen in the 90’s. The original had also been vandalized many times. Idiots are not exclusive to this time.

      I have no problem in having this one replaced.

      • indypendent

        But even with Madalyn Murray O’Hair, there was not this intensity of religious intolerance – in my opinion.

        I wonder how much of this disdain for anything religious is due to the influx of immigrants into our country that come from countries that not majority Christian? I am thinking mainly of the Muslims.

        Is it only when the Christian faith is the target that we suddenly see people take offense?

        I wonder if this much hullabaloo would be heard if this Christian cross would have been a symbol of the Jewish or Muslim faith? Would we even be hearing about it?

        I sometimes wonder if this level of intolerance is actually being encouarged by the Religious Right, Moral Majority or the Evangelical Christians who all tend to be people who like to push the envelope and to practically dare anyone to challenge them. This is the group of people who have hijacked the Republican Party and who are known for never compromising on anything.

        Is that never compromsing trait the driving force behind all this intolerance on all sides of the religion debate?

        I am not trying to imply anything here – I am only posing some questions that I feel may need to be addressed.

  8. indypendent

    ‘Intolerance manifests itself in too many ways to even comprehend. We’ve all been guilty of it in one way or another. The intelligent ones learn from it; the not so intelligent live it’

    Jammer – I am afraid that those not so intelligent also like to keep that intolerance going for future generations.

    I agree with you that we’ve all been guilty of it in one way or another, but to have a steady diet of anti-this or anti-that would just drive me nuts.

  9. WSClark

    It’s a bit like the phony, trumped up, so-called War on Christmas.

    Who’s waging the war? About 75% of the population claims to be Christian. (Of course, it’s the inverse number that actually acts like it.) But the point is, who is doing the warring?

    Christmas is still a Federal Holiday, most businesses are closed, you can’t buy alcohol unless it is by the glass and no one is stopping you from putting up a tree or lights.

    You are free, as always to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or to say nothing at all.

    Pitch your nickels into the red bucket if you want – I don’t because the Salvation Army still promotes discrimination against gays and lesbians.

    But, have at it, celebrate Christmas – there is no war.

  10. “…disdain for anything religious…”

    I see disdain for those who use religion, I see disdain for those who tout their faith and then show you they aren’t at all faithful.

    I feel disdain for those who do evil in the name of god (by any name, representing any religion). I feel disdain for those people who only recognize evil done in the name of any god who isn’t theirs.

  11. I wonder if the person who stole that cross was just reacting to this societal pressure that is being brought to bear by the Christian right? They want to force their religious beliefs into every nook and cranny of our existence. People are GD sick and tired of it–even those of us who call OURSELVES Christian!

    It probably DID start with Madyln Murray O’Hare. My mother rants and raves about her all the time. But she had a point. Government or institutional sponsorship of any one religious belief over another IS discriminatory and DOES promote a hostile environment for anyone who does not agree. I don’t want my son being forced to say a prayer every day–whether it is to Muhammad, Zeus, Buddha or God! It is nobody’s business to try to put preconceived notions of religion into my son’s head–nobody’s but mine, IF I chose to do so.

    However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, everyone should be free to worship however they chose, unless or until their beliefs infringe upon others. I would not seek to remove anything that was erected in memory of anyone. But religious symbols should not be placed on public lands or buildings because they DO promote a particular religious belief. I am not for removing anything that is currently standing, but why must people insist on continuing to shove their religious symbols down my throat?

    I had a conversation with a coworker regarding the issue of prayer in schools. The Christian right will not rest until they have installed forced prayer back into schools was my position. Her position was that she thought they were just fighting for the right of children to pray in groups, have bible study groups or pray silently to themselves. The Christian right has people convinced that Christians are so oppressed in this country that they are being prevented from praying silently to themselves in a government building. Now that is just ridiculous.

    Stealing the cross was wrong, but when you force extremes on others, you will get extreme behavior in return.

    • Freebird1971

      I honestly do not see a cross that was erected 75 yrs ago in memory of the dead from WW1 as shoving any type of viewpoint down anyones’ throat or an extreme display.

      • Neither do I but others might. I don’t necessarily find a cross to be a religious symbol in this instance because historically crosses have been put on graves, even those that did not belong to a specific religion. But, my point was, others might because they are tired of everything even slightly religious turning into a virtual jihad every time they turn around. Fanatical christians feel oppressed if they can’t erect a life-sized statue of Jesus in the village square, but they never think that others might feel oppressed by having to see it there everyday.

    • prairie pond

      Indeed, Paula.

      I dont condone thievery of any kind. No excuses.

      But it’s also a valid point that some of us are tired of religion and deities being shoved down our throats no matter where we are.

      Especially when those religions and deities are used to make me and mine less than others.

  12. WSClark

    “pray silently to themselves”

    Students pray all the time in school – usually right before the math test that they didn’t study for.

    That is the part that ticks me off – no one can deny you the right to pray – just do it.

    Dang, I pray all the time – but I am sure that no one can tell, I just don’t make a big deal of it.

    (So far, despite my prayers, Halle Berry hasn’t shown up on my doorstep.)

  13. “…no one can deny you the right to pray – just do it.”

    The truly devout and spiritual, those who have no need of making any show of their faith, do just exactly that!