Quote: Originally Posted by ironsides
DENVER – A religious watchdog group says a cross and motto on the emblem of an Army hospital in Colorado violate the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state and should be removed.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation asked the Army this week to change the emblem of Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, outside Colorado Springs.
The emblem says "Pro deo et humanitate" or "For God and humanity."
Fort Carson commanders will review the complaint, Lt. Col. Steve Wollman said.
He said the emblem had been approved by the Army Institute of Heraldry and has been in use since 1969.
Wollman said references to doctors serving God and humanity date to the time of Hippocrates, a pre-Christianity Greek physician.
Group: Army symbol is religious, should be changed - Yahoo! News (external - login to view)
Who determines what a symbol means in the law?
For example, a Swastika means something very different to a Nazi, a Jain, a Buddhist, and a Hindu. Even in pre-Nazi Europe, many Europeans used the Swastika. A case in point is Rudyard Kipling. He is well known as a British Imperialist of the traditional variety, which were firmly anti-Nazi. At one point he had the Swastika removed from one of his books as Nazism was growing so as to not be associated with its ideology. I remember reading about another occasion when underneath the floor of a church they'd found an older floor covered with a repetitive pattern of Swastikas and it pre-dated Nazi Germany.
Now looking at the cross. It's usually used as a symbol of Christianity, but it has been confused with other meanings to. For instance, the Red Cross was intended not to represent the Christian Faith but Switzerland. Many Muslims, ignorant of the appearance of the Swiss Flag and so imposing a Christian interpretation of the symbol, demanded the parallel Red Crescent Society. Some Jews had likewise misinterpreted it and established the Red Star of David Society.
The question then becomes: Who has the legal right to impose a particular meaning, religious or otherwise, on a symbol other than the person using it?
So if the Army says that it's even pre-Christian, then do we have the right to impose a Christian meaning onto it? Is that not equal to imposing a Nazi meaning onto the Swastika when the user may intend a whole other meaning?
Personally, I'd say the user of the symbol reserves the right to impose his own meaning on it. As such, if the military says it has a pre-Christian meaning, then it's not up to us to impose a Christian meaning onto it.
Another example is the green five-pointed star, which again can have a number of meanings depending on the intended meaning of the user of the symbol. And again, who reserves the right to impose a meaning on another person's use of a symbol?