Atheist Group Seeks to Block Star of David on Holocaust Memorial

An atheist activist organization wants a proposed Ohio statehouse Holocaust memorial to remove the Star of David symbol, which, the group claims, is an “exclusionary” religious symbol.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, the non-profit Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), known for its activism concerning church-state separation, claimed that the inclusion of the Judaic symbol is a breach of the U.S. Constitution.

In a June 14 letter to Richard H. Finan, chairman of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, two FFRF officials said they have no objections to a Holocaust memorial at the statehouse, but claimed that the cut-out version of the six-pointed Star of David would be a violation of the separation of church and state as provided for in the Constitution.

“Permitting one permanent sectarian and exclusionary religious symbol… would create the legal precedent, for instance, to place an equally large or larger permanent Latin cross on Capitol grounds,” wrote Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-presidents of the Madison, Wisconsin group. Gaylor is the daughter of Anne Nicol Gaylor, author of Abortion Is A Blessing. Barker said that the Holocaust memorial, as currently proposed, would amount to a “constitutionally problematic endorsement of religion.”

The FFRF officials said the memorial excludes five million non-Jews killed in the Holocaust, including Roma Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, and others.

“The monument could resemble numerous powerful war memorials across the U.S. which do not use any sectarian images, including the national World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial,” the FFRF officials wrote. “Each is secular in nature and without religious reference, which offends no one and is respected by all.”

Those who support the design of architect Daniel Libeskind argue that the statehouse memorial represents all victims of the World War II Holocaust, as well as the Ohioans who participated in the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

In March 2012, the FFRF also placed an anti-Catholic ad that was published by the New York Times. The ad, which criticized the Church’s position against ObamaCare’s HHS mandate, stated, “It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages?”

The ad accused the Catholic Church of promoting “acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, overpopulation, social evils and deaths.”

In an appeal to Catholic women, the ad asked, “Apparently, you’re like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go.”

In response to the publication of the FFRF ad by the New York Times, Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs submitted an ad along the same lines to the Times entitled, “It’s Time To Quit Islam.” The Times, however, rejected Geller’s ad because “the fallout from running this ad now could put U.S. troops and/or civilians in the [Afghan] region in danger.”

A final vote on the Holocaust memorial design will be held on Thursday morning at the Ohio statehouse.


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