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Atheists opposed to Holocaust memorial design

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  • Atheists opposed to Holocaust memorial design

    http://dispatchpolitics.dispatch.com...-religion.html

    Discuss...

  • #2
    Well, it wasn't just Jews who were killed in the holocaust, but this memorial seems to only be about them.

    By the way, what does this have to do with scouting?

    Comment


    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      Topics like this do come up around campfires. So it is nice to have a collection of opinions on the matter. At some point in their path toward Eagle, boys are asked to attend public meetings. Sometimes they do speak up. If they go on record, and the discussion happens to be about erecting a memorial, wouldn't it be nice to know that something you said may influence what they say?

    • Merlyn_LeRoy
      Merlyn_LeRoy commented
      Editing a comment
      Then it would make sense to post a general article about monuments, not an obvious attempt to denigrate atheists. It's like a white supremacist posting an article about blacks committing crimes and pretending it's just to start a discussion on law enforcement.

  • #3
    You know, I'm just not a big fan of memorials at all. Memorials are about feelings, so when feelings get hurt, it's no surprise everyone gets overly passionate and upset. I bet that around 50% of memorials are erected in anger as a way of tells us all to go fly a kite rather than out of respect and a sense of education of the public.

    In this case, my question is why do we need a holocaust memorial erected in 2013? Do we need a new civil war memorial too? What about a new War of 1812 memorial? Seems like a stale topic to be erecting statues for it.

    How much did it cost? And the land - what did that cost? Could this money have been used for something else useful to the community other than a 3D expression of outrange and sadness?

    At the same time, it probably didn't cost so much that it is worth protesting. I am not a fan of we atheists trying to expunge God from all public references. Walking through a cemetary the other day, I noticed the military headstones have symbols of each religion. The symbol I use as my avatar here is the symbol on the atheist headstones. I do not care to see all religious symbols removed from that public space.

    I'm more worried about the NSA thing, the US giving billions to dictators and bad governments overseas, us deploying the military too much, corporate control of our politicians, our cops becoming militarized, and BSA making a really uncomfortable and badly tailored uniform. So, I'd probably just shrug and walk by it.

    It wouldn't be the only one-sided view of the world my kids get. They are taught in school that we won WWII, but we all know the Russians had Hitler on the run before Pearl Harbor.





    Comment


    • Pack18Alex
      Pack18Alex commented
      Editing a comment
      As a Jew, I really do not like Jewish efforts to fight public displays of religion, I think that they fostered anti-semitism and were obnoxious. I also think that Holocaust memorials are bad for American Jews, but that's another topic... institutional American Judaism clearly disagrees with me. But short of a significant sum of money that would be "establishment" I find it best to ignore these things.

      OTOH, I take advantage of public parks more than most, we all have government programs that we benefit from more than others.

  • #4
    Since when did this politics forum only discuss things pertaining to Scouting? Also Thomas Jefferson, I just wanted to argue some history for no reason whatsoever. The turning point of the Eastern front in WW2 is generally regarded as the battle of Stalingrad, which took place in August 1942- Feb 1943. Pearl Harbor was December 7th 1941. The German invasion of Russia only began in June of 1941.

    It's likely that the Russians would have won the Battle of Stalingrad and reversed the German momentum without American assistance, but it's factually incorrect to say the Russians had the Germans on the run 3 months into the war. But as a public school student, I can totally agree that our learning of history is slanted and unbalanced.



    As for the article...why is this memorial needed now? We already have the Halocaust Museum and Memorial in D.C. I think that's enough.

    Comment


    • #5
      I stand corrected. Lecturing on history from memory often fails me.

      Comment


      • #6
        First of all, the article makes no mention of atheists. However, the use of the Star of David was objected to by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. That is a foundation that works primarily with the isssue of separation of church and state (1st Amendment violations).

        Comment


        • Pack18Alex
          Pack18Alex commented
          Editing a comment
          I mean, the government spends money and gives land to lots of things I don't care for or agree with, and some things that I care about and agree with. Historically, that was seen as legislative prerogative, if you don't like how to government squanders funds, vote the rascals out. Making everything litigable is rather sad.

        • Woapalanne
          Woapalanne commented
          Editing a comment
          Uh, actually, the "Freedom from Religion" foundation works from a position of fiction. There is NO "freedom from religion" in the USA. It is freedom OF religion, a completely different and diametrically opposed concept.

        • Merlyn_LeRoy
          Merlyn_LeRoy commented
          Editing a comment
          Uh, actually, the "Freedom from Religion" foundation works from a position of fiction. There is NO "freedom from religion" in the USA. It is freedom OF religion, a completely different and diametrically opposed concept.

          Neither phrase appears in the first amendment; "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

          The FFRF uses "freedom from religion" in reference to the no establishment clause; the government cannot impose religious rituals on citizens, you can't be required to swear an oath, to believe in a god, etc.

      • #7
        The six pointed Star of David may be colloquially called a "Jewish Star" but it is NOT a religious symbol in any way shape or form. It is the symbol that is traditionally dated back to David's Reign (and presumably Solomon's as well), basically an ancient Israelite Heraldry symbol. Judaism, the religion of the Jewish People, dates make to the Kingdom of Judah, after the Unified Kingdom split into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. All recordings of the Second Temple period, etc., are from the Kingdom of Judah.

        The Star of David is a recognized symbol of Jewish people-hood, both by Jews (hence the inclusion on the State of Israel's flag), and its enemies (the yellow star forced on Jewish Citizens during the Nazi German government and its vassal states).

        Prohibiting a Star of David as a religious symbol or a state endorsement of religious is simply preposterous, it's a symbol with zero religious significance. When King David reigned, there were gentile inhabitants in his Kingdom (hence all the ancient Jewish laws governing treatment of gentiles within a Jewish Kingdom), and his son, King Solomon, had many wives from surrounding tribes/kingdoms, many of which were gentiles. It's a symbol of Jewish sovereignty and peoplehood, with no religious significance whatsoever.

        And in the case of the Holocaust, Jewish peoplehood, and not Jewish religion, was under attack... so its inclusion serves a secular purpose, while showing an Eastern European Jews with side curls would not.
        Last edited by Pack18Alex; 07-22-2013, 01:35 PM. Reason: Last paragraph added.

        Comment


        • Merlyn_LeRoy
          Merlyn_LeRoy commented
          Editing a comment
          Atheists have symbols; you may have noticed mine or ThomasJefferson's.

          As for a star of david not being a religious symbol, the US military for one appears to disagree:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...es_and_markers

        • Brewmeister
          Brewmeister commented
          Editing a comment
          As is correctly pointed out by Pack18Alex, the Star of David is not a religious symbol. That would be idol-worship. It is an identifier and, in this case, an identifier with legitimate historical context. As was mentioned in the comments of the article, arguing against the star in the design of the memorial is akin to arguing against a display of chains in a slavery memorial.

          The irony in this demand by these anti-religious zealots is that the Nazis were also anti-religious--not just anti-Jewish. (However, the Nazi party could not attack Christianity directly as it did Judaism, although examples can be found, particularly against Catholicism early on.)

        • Pack18Alex
          Pack18Alex commented
          Editing a comment
          The oldest Jewish Religious symbol, the Menorah (7 branch from the Temple, not the familiar 9 branch Chanukiah that comes out Chanukah Time) is a symbol of the Temple. A Torah Scroll would be a good one, usually depicted as an Ashkenzai Scroll unwound (see scrollk.org who uses this as their logo) works. A mezuzah cover would be a religious symbol of sorts. The Shield of David is a national symbol, not a religious one.

          The Shield of David represents Jews from the Ultra-Orthodox to the atheist/agnostic Jew. It doesn't represent ANYTHING in the religion.

      • #8
        Wow. I was amazed at the article. A well meaning group is effectively white washing history. The Holocost WAS started as and continued primarily as an anti-semitic action. It WAS the "final solution" to the European Jewish problem. Nazis then used it to include the unwanted and those who opposed them including millions of Russion POWs.

        It's insulting to even think of a Holocost memorial that does not include Jewish symbols. I'm proudly Catholic and have no offense to seeing those Jewish symbols used in such a setting.

        It's not about the government endorsing a specific religion.

        It's about telling the truth thru art and creating something meaningful that lasts.

        Comment


        • ThomasJefferson
          ThomasJefferson commented
          Editing a comment
          The Holocost WAS started as and continued primarily as an anti-semitic action.
          That is debated amongst historians. If you are Jewish, you may use the word "holocaust" to refer specifically to a Jewish historical event, and you may view the people who were Jewish being put to death as uniquely tied to that event. Therefore, if you hold that viewpoint, and if you were not Jewish, you were not part of the holocaust. You were just killed by Nazis in an organized fashion tertiary to it.

          Broader definitions include approximately two to three million Soviet POWs, two million ethnic Poles, up to 1,500,000 Romani, 200,000 handicapped, political and religious dissenters, 15,000 homosexuals and 5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses, bringing the death toll to around 11 million. The broadest definition would include six million Soviet civilians, raising the death toll to 17 million.

          Under that definition, it was not an anti-semitic event unless you were Jewish and viewed it in that frame of reference. The Nazis were very organized in their extermination of many different groups of people. They started by putting the mentally disabled to death. They were still trying to deport Jews at that time while they organized the deaths of others en masse.

          I think someone who is Jewish saying that Jews were targeted is accurate. Gays were targeted. Communists were targeted. Jehovah's Witnesses were targeted. Someone saying it was a Jewish event to a member of one of these other groups may find themselves passionately challenged to stop ignoring the suffering of these other groups and their lost millions as well.

        • fred johnson
          fred johnson commented
          Editing a comment
          ThomasJefferson ... Many others died too but you miss the driving cause. The key is that the driving cause / political motivation was antisemitism. It was systematic and used to motivate a political movement. Six million Jews died. Millions others died too. And I apologize for saying this, but they were pulled into the Holocaust thru the war and the Aryan purification. The holocaust was started by antisemitism used as a political tool.

          http://www.britannica.com/holocaust/article-215485

          Plus your numbers are also debatable and use the high end for other groups. Your Romani number is high. Many other sites puts the number closer to 250,000. I found it interesting that some sites categorizes the "ethnic poles" as "Polish Catholics". But that could be essentially because Poland was/is a Catholic nation.
          Last edited by fred johnson; 07-23-2013, 09:53 AM.

      • #9
        I think I have the solution. Whaddayathink?

        Comment


        • packsaddle
          packsaddle commented
          Editing a comment
          I mean, it's as if there are NO Jewish atheists or something.....
          Edit: needed a verb in there somewhere
          Last edited by packsaddle; 07-23-2013, 03:54 AM.

        • Pack18Alex
          Pack18Alex commented
          Editing a comment
          Many Jewish friends that considered themselves atheist/agnostic. Many wore a Star of David necklace (particularly when going out). Never saw one where the A/Atomic symbol on a necklace. In fact, the Chai (meaning life) necklaces were more popular amongst the more affiliated Jews, the Star of David was more popular amongst the non-affiliated Jews.

      • #10
        The article makes a clear constitutional case against the memorials design.The six pointed star can have other meanings, but if one surveyed people, I would predict the overwhelming majority would associate the six point star with the jewish faith. But perhaps that is not the problem.
        Perhaps the memorial is of too narrow a focus and needs to broaden its scope. Perhaps it should include ALL genocidal and holocaust episodes: Armenia and the Turks. Serbia and Bosnia. The Khemer Rouge in Cambodia. Argentina. Darfur. Rwanda. Nanking and Suchow in WW2. The evil that created Auschwitz and Dachau was not and never has been limited to Nazi Germany and the Jewish people.
        Propose a memorial like that, and you will have my support..

        Comment


        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          Don't forget the American Indian in that list.....

      • #11
        Personally I think it is better if memorials like this are on private property and paid for by privately donated funds. That way it is up to those sponsoring and funding the project to decide what symbols to include or exclude, and exactly what and who are being memorialized. (I actually would make an exception for the one instance mentioned by jblake, I think it would be appropriate for the U.S. government to sponsor memorials for Native Americans, in light of the role of the U.S. government in there being something to memorialize in the first place.)

        I did a little bit more research on the Ohio memorial, and found this article, http://www.dispatch.com/content/stor...-approval.html, which states that the memorial itself is being paid for by private funds ($2 million worth) but that the site preparation costs (about $300,000) are being paid for by the state of Ohio. The site is on state property.

        I believe that most memorials of this nature are completely private, though I have no actual sources to back that up. The article I linked to does say that this project will make Ohio the first state with a Holocaust memorial "at its Capitol", which is interesting, but there could still be such memorials supported by federal or local government funds, or by state funds in different locations. It is just my impression that the majority of these kinds of memorials are privately funded and on private property. And as I said above, if you have a private memorial (though open to the public), the private sponsoring organization gets to decide what the memorial is about, who gets mentioned on it, and what symbols (religious or otherwise) are appropriate. As soon as public property or public funding comes into it, the debate is thrown open to everybody, at least those within the jurisdiction that is sponsoring the memorial.

        I suppose it may be relevant at this point to mention that I am Jewish and that my family was directly and severely impacted by the Holocaust.

        Comment


        • #12
          Once again I simply do not understand how this negatively affects anyone other than maybe their feelings. And if such a thing hurts your feelings, then that is your issue, not theirs. Certain people can be honored or remembered without others being dishonored by the memorial. If you are somehow dishonored, then you have greater emotional issues than will be fixed by disallowing the memorial. JMHO

          Comment


          • #13
            National Holocaust Museum in Washington DC was created by the US Congress, the National Park Service, President Jimmy Carter and more than $200million in PRIVATE donations... http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article....uleId=10005782
            It does deal with the "final solution" and mentions other genocidal episodes, but the Nazi death camps are its primary focus and a trip thru it's exhibits often brings visitors to tears, even if you don't read Hebrew or German. If Ohio wishes to aid in "Never Forgetting" , perhaps it is appropriate. But we should REMEMBER the others, too.

            Comment

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