Should the Supreme Court Rule that Memorial Crosses are Secular?
"Of course it should. That's not only good theology: the cross has meaning for all of life—spiritual and temporal, religious and secular. But it's also good law: crosses, decalogues, icons, and other religious symbols can have vital spiritual meaning for believers yet serve essential cultural functions as well. It is these cultural functions that often save religious symbols from constitutional attack."
John Witte, professor, Emory Law School
"A cross has taken on universal significance. In Normandy, on the beaches, you see thousands of crosses displayed. [The cross] is immediately recognizable not only as a symbol of the Christian faith but of universal sacrifice. As Christians, we can understand the universal significance of the cross as a symbol of sacrifice, because … Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. So I don't think it's inconsistent."
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel, American Center for Law and Justice
"For many symbols there is a cultural component. For example, there are people I know who are agnostic or atheist who culturally say 'God bless you.' On our money we have printed 'In God We Trust,' even though probably many of the people who exchange money have no belief in God. In the American landscape it's become possible to have expressions of faith that have secular and cultural meaning apart from the moorings of faith and religion."
Pat Mahoney, director, Christian Defense Coalition
"I think most people miss the point or miss the spiritual implications of the debate by focusing only on the Constitutional question. Is getting symbols onto the public square by secularizing them a good thing? I would say absolutely not. To strip religious symbols of their religious meaning undermines religion. The cross is constitutionally allowed but spiritually unwise. There are a lot of cases where constitutional tradition allows for a religious display but only if it's secularized, only if it has a secular purpose. Christians need to be careful what they wish for. They may get symbols like this into the public sphere but it may be by taking religious meaning out of the symbols. That strikes me as a real Pyrrhic victory for Christians. If the way of getting crosses into public areas is to convince the world the cross has no actual connection to the death of Christ, is that really a victory?"
Steven Waldman, former editor-in-chief, Beliefnet
"A memorial cross clearly has a religious meaning. It has a secular component as well, in the sense that it is a universally recognized symbol of those who have died and the hope of life, but that doesn't mean the symbol itself is secular."
Mathew Staver, dean, Liberty University School of Law
"No. It's more dangerous from the Christian point of view, I believe, to denude symbols of the gospel of their significance than it is for us to accommodate the fact that we are living in a religiously plural culture … The cross is not a symbol of our cultural dominance as Christians. It is a symbol of God's triumph in Jesus Christ over sin and death. I'm not sure crosses belong in civic places in any case, but surely not at the expense of their original significance."
Michael Horton, professor of theology, Westminster Seminary California
"Christianity does not stand or fall on the symbol of the cross, but our faith does stand or fall on [its] preaching. To argue that the cross is anything other than the symbol that points to our redemption by the atoning work of Christ is to mislead, and eventually to subvert and compromise our message. My concern is not that placing a cross in any place is our best form of evangelism; I'm not suggesting that the aesthetic or symbolic structure of the cross is what's most important. I am suggesting that for a Christian to make the argument that the cross is secular in its meaning is absolutely nonsensical."
Albert Mohler, president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary