Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow


No Day In Court: Justice Denied

posted by Rev. Barry W. Lynn

Yes, Jay, there will be a major battle about the Mojave National Preserve cross next term in the Supreme Court. In fact, it is really two battles in one.  The first is whether the plaintiff in this case is even able to get his complaint heard.  It has already become more difficult to obtain “standing” for people suing against infractions of their religious liberty–including not having to pay for other peoples’ religious activities–thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hein case a few years ago.  Now, you want to make it even more difficult.

I think one reason the “Right” is so interested in not allowing people into the courtroom to plead their case is that when courts look at the merits, litigants so often win. They win because it becomes apparent from the evidence that the symbol in question is not some mere annoyance.  It is a blunt and apparent declaration of support by a government for the icon of a specific faith, almost invariably American’s statistically predominant religion, Christianity.


My son recently took me on a hike in San Francisco in order to show me
the Mount Davidson cross which has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. 
One walks from a pristine forest into a clearing where there is an
enormous one hundred foot cross. Since its sale to a private Armenian-American group, it is now defined as a memorial to the 1915 Armenian Massacre.  Not one in a hundred people who sees it, of course, remembers what it represents historically,  They know it is a symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It is jarring; it is inappropriate; it
is offensive even to me–who finds the empty cross a significant and positive
symbol. Its current owners may actually believe it serves to honor the dead. My theological view is that God is not “honored” by having the
natural world disrupted by a monument like this one–or the one in the
Mojave.



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Comments read comments(16)
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David

posted May 9, 2009 at 3:59 pm


Hey Rev,
You’re a scary guy. Quite self-righteous to boot. In one sweeping statement, you make categorical assumptions about whole groups of people, and then compare them to you, (which I assume is the normative standard, according to Barry Lyn).
What’s more, you even presume to know the mind of God! (As noted in your last statement).
Give it a rest, will ya?! You’re not preserving anything except your express dedication to rail against anything remotely close to Christianity.
The truth is, I’m glad your views are in the minority, despite your condescending pontifications that the masses may just be fools, suckered by the right, and better off if only they knew the gospel-truth as you did.
I reject all your contradictory and confusing world-views. I uphold the wisdom of the American people who refuse to abandon a core value of faith and expression despite the sneering proclivities of scholars such as yourself.
We are not the docile spectators you make us out to be. You are not the messiah of secular enlightenment. Your ideas, though couched in individualist, materialist, and “liberal” dialectics are as old as the institutions you desire to see eradicated.
It will never happen of course (a free society without immense religion or a predominating religion)- history itself is against you. But you get a paycheck, so it doesn’t hurt to keep trying.
Finally, the abject pride you take in the irony of being a reverend who rejects Christian expression is too transparent to be taken seriously. Your hubris is what is offensive. Your vision of America is downright frightening.
It’s obvious I wouldn’t ever want to worship a God that you may claim to worship (or obviously don’t).
Significantly, I wouldn’t want to live in an America (or any society for that matter) where your ideas would rule the day. I might as well move on to North Korea.



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Barry Lynn

posted May 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm


David: sorry if I scare you. I also don’t have much of a Messiah complex left, or even a prophetic one (too many of them floating around on the left and right these days). That’s why I said in the final paragraph that this was my “theological” opinion– I think we’re still entitled to have them in this country even if you don’t like them.
So go celebrate the Congressional day of prayer; hope your local government puts up both a cross and a manger scene; and even allow preachers into the public schools. It is so much easier for government to “help” us be religious, since its so tough and time consuming to do it ourselves. By the way, I hope you don’t consider yourself a “conservative”.



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Henrietta22

posted May 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm


David, I don’t know why you wrote such mean and unfair words to Rev. Barry Lynn. I don’t know him or you, but you were very cutting. Why do you rail against someone who finds a hundred foot cross in the middle of a lovely natural forest unnatural. It’s his opinion and his opinion is as good as yours or mine any day in the week. To say you would not want to worship any God he does is the supreme insult to anyone. I am not a far-right Christian because of their arrogance and superiority, and you just emphasise why I find their beliefs in conflict with the way I was brought up in the Christian Religion.



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Natalie Phox

posted May 9, 2009 at 10:32 pm


David said: “I uphold the wisdom of the American people who refuse to abandon a core value of faith and expression despite the sneering proclivities of scholars such as yourself.”
Funny, about 48% of Americans now don’t believe in God in recent polls and the number is growing, so you’re not speaking for to many people anymore.



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Rich

posted May 9, 2009 at 10:37 pm


David,
If you are scared of Barry Lynn, you might want to consider a reality check. Seriously.
I have never figured out why fundamentals and evangelicals are so afraid of a secular government. Let’s say, the statue get removed by court order. You are not hurt. You still get to believe whatever you choose. You still get to go to your church whenever you want. You still get to raise your children into whatever faith you feel is best. I see no injury to you.
And, quite happily, as a taxpayer, I am not required by law to advertise for your faith. This is not some childlike game of “majority rules” where you get to levy taxes upon me to support your particular religion. America has wisely set up a system where religions support themselves. Painful I know, especially when the taxing power of the US Government would make fleecing the population so much easier.
What you are really afraid of is losing “special right” for your particular cult. You want government funded perks and privileges for anything Christian. It is quite clear that you don’t really believe in freedom of religion, only a taxpayer supported and mandated preeminence for your faith.
Well, I for one support removing any vestige of anything religious from all government property. We all pay for the government yet not all of us are Christian. Some of us even deny all things religious.
It is really you who are the scary one, forever whining and complaining about how oppressed Christians are. Truthfully, these endless tantrum are really pretty tiresome.
You want money for your church, get off your rear and go solicit donation! If you want to see a giant cross, I would suggest that you go by some land and erect whatever you please! You get to pay for it, don’t even bother asking me for a microscopic portion of a penny. You won’t get it.



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Katchkar

posted May 10, 2009 at 1:45 am


What you DON”T seem to understand or have any Christian history on is that Armenia was the first Christian Nation in 301 AD.
We had a Christian kingdom with democracy, our Christian brothers Greeks, Assyrians, Balkans, Serbs, etc., all slaughtered by the Ottoman Empire Moslems. Over 4 million, because we refuse to convert, thus today you have a freedom of religion because of this. Baptist, Lutheran, Later Day Saints, etc., these are all a bunch of BS new religions to us ancient Cultures and Christian.
If it were not for the Armenian Christian Crusaders, you my friend would not know Christianity and it would not have been spread to the new world, and the very young country we know as the USA.
Even today, Armenians, Greeks, Koptics, and other ancient Christians still protect the Holy Septur church in Jerusalem. Where it is said Christ’s remains are buried.
Do your research before you start desparaging Armenian Americans for purchasing the land and cross. it is their property not YOURS. They allow others on the land and had Easter Morning services up the hil and NEVER had anyone arrested for tresspassing, but yet invited fellow Christians.



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Mary-Lee

posted May 10, 2009 at 7:29 am


Katchkar, the fine record of Armenians and Armenian-Americans with regard to preserving Christianity does not buy them the right to display their religious icons on public property in the United States.



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Craig

posted May 10, 2009 at 8:33 am


I wonder why David is so hateful? I suspect that a true reading of the doctrine associated with his religion would preclude statements with such a tone. What he and his peers in the religious right don’t understand is that there are many of us out here who are not Christian and we don’t want our money, collected through taxes, to be spent on christian symbols. As soon as the government starts spending money on one religion all others suffer. That is the true value of separation of Church and State, to allow people to worship in their own way without government intervention. Somehow the religious right seems to see anything that limits spending tax dollars on their religion as an infringement, when doing so strengthens their religious freedoms.



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DSJulian

posted May 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm


Please forgive David. They didn’t know what they doing when they let Jesus die and they obviously don’t know what they are doing now. The Bible says you will know the true believers by their love, and that the hypocrites will be exposed for what they are. It’s not his fault. He obviously doesn’t know that Fox News is no more news than the Disney Channel. Barry Lynn is an Ordained Minister of the One, True, and Living God. David’s comments indicate that he obviously worships something other than that. And thanks to organizations like Barry Lynn’s AU, you have the right to worship or not worship the God or non-God of your own conscience. So we forgive you, David, because Christ forgave us for thinking about you the way you think about Barry Lynn…



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Trylon

posted May 11, 2009 at 6:54 pm


I shoulder a wasted hope that the legal procedings concerning this spurious dispute will be conducted “on the scene”, at the actual site in the Mohave Desert. I spent an hour looking at aerial views and road maps and photographs of this old rugged cross from various angles and it is hard to keep from thinking “what a waste of time”.
The goverment of the USA is not =expressing= anything by this religious symbol. It was put there by native Indian veterans supposedly to honor their war dead, and amazingly no dead Indian was a Moslem or Jew. I do not believe that, when the cross was originally erected, the land was under any federal jurisdiction. It got absorbed into calumny. The plaintifs can only be angry, not that it was put there but that, subsequently, it was not taken down with a wrecking ball. Wouldn’t THAT look great on television?
There are photos to show that for years the cross has been covered up in layers of canvass and plastic in order not to offend anybody but somehow the desert wind keeps blowing away the raiment of inoffense, which is itself funny. “The decision, my friend is blowin’ in the wind; the descision is blowin’ in the wind.”
I support AU, have done so for almost 5 decades, but on this matter I want to say to the plaintif, “Get a life”.



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dmpc777

posted May 12, 2009 at 5:47 pm


Protest march in Washington D.C. on July 4th! Join the revolution



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Nicholas

posted May 13, 2009 at 2:35 pm


Its the end of an error



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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted May 16, 2009 at 6:42 pm


Mr. Lynn,
In regards to the Mojave National Preserve Cross, you stated:
“It is jarring; it is inappropriate; it is offensive even to me–who finds the empty cross a significant and positive symbol.”
The meaning or intent of the Mojave National Preserve Cross, or any other memorial for that matter, should not be interpreted by you but by the people who the memorial honors – the fallen soldiers or civilians in whose memory they are dedicated. As part of the Veterans’ First Amendment right to free speech in symbolic form, the Vets have the privilege of choosing the particular symbol they want to honor the fallen comrades, a Constitutional right that I believe should not be taken away from them.
Mr. Lynn, you also commented:
“Its current owners may actually believe it serves to honor the dead. My theological view is that God is not “honored” by having the natural world disrupted by a monument like this one–or the one in the Mojave.”
So Mr. Lynn, are you saying that God was dishonored when the natural world was disrupted by the “monumental” cross that was resurrected for the death of His Son Jesus Christ, the crux of the Christian salvation message that “whoever believes in Him will have eternal live”? (John 3:16)



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Gonzo

posted May 17, 2009 at 1:38 pm


N. Lindzee Lindholm…you say that Veterans should have a say what represents them?
As a Veteran with over 22 years of uniformed service in the USAF, many deployments into various combat zones in those years, I find such a memorial to be an insult to all those who are NOT Christian (and to many that are). I wish to see it gone…perhaps moved to a Christian Church where it would do much more good.



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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted May 19, 2009 at 6:51 pm


Mr. Gonzo,
I respect your 22 years of service as a Veteran in the USAF as well as your opinion about the memorial, but what do other Veterans say?



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JoeDoaks

posted May 26, 2009 at 2:15 am


“offensive. . . even to me”
So- don’t go there.
An enormous cross in the middle of a forest seems to me to be appropriate for a nation who’s majority is Christian. Are you (author) offended by Stars of David on flags in Israel? I doubt it.
The politically correct should be out helping catch perverts that prey on children instead of wondering around a forest anyway.



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