Continuing along the lines of my post earlier this morning . . .
Many years ago, I read an article about the successful struggle (as I recall the outcome) of a Protestant group in Cache Valley, Utah, to have the Logan Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints removed from the seal and/or stationery of the City of Logan. Their claim was that having such a religious symbol on official city materials marginalized and thus, in some sense, injured non-Mormon citizens of Logan.
I thought this was nonsense.
I grew up in San Gabriel, California. Across the street from my high school, and something that I saw virtually every day of my childhood and youth at least once and often several times, was the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1771.
For that reason, the (somewhat corny) slogan of my home town was and is “San Gabriel: City with a Mission.”
Did having the iconic bell tower of an eighteeenth-century Catholic church on my home town’s official letterhead, official vehicles, official seal, and city logo marginalize me, a non-Catholic, in any way? No. Did I ever feel that it did? Never. Did it injure me? Absolutely not. Would I have endorsed a campaign to have it removed from all official materials on grounds of separation and church and state? Never in a million years.
The San Gabriel Mission is a venerable historical structure in which all citizens of the city should take pride, regardless of their own religious affiliation or lack thereof. And, I would argue, so too is the Logan Temple for citizens of that town.
I’m entirely unsympathetic to people who seem to go out of their way to take offense, or at least to claim that they’re offended, and who have to reach for their smelling salts if they hear a choir, or see a historic church on a city seal, or find themselves confronted by (quelle horreur!) a nativity scene. Interacting with people who don’t share our religious faith (or lack thereof) or who disagree with our politics is part of life, and such people should, in my judgment, get one.
Posted from Chicago, Illinois.