A park bench created as a memorial to a toddler killed in a hit-and-run accident back in September has been removed by municipal authorities in Elkin, North Carolina, because it features inscriptions of a Bible verse and Christian crosses.
The bench was placed at Elkin Municipal Park, not far from the playground where little Mason Roten enjoyed playing. Alumni of Elkin High came together to create the memorial, and the project was spearheaded by Ben Crosswhite, Elkin alum and a friend of the family.
The bench was installed at the park this past Saturday, but removed just two days later, on Monday. The reason for the removal is that the bench features “religious symbols and scripture,” according to town manager John Holcomb. Holcomb has said that the bench was installed without the formal approval of the town. Crosswhite disputes that approval was not granted, even naming Adam McComb, the town’s parks and recreation director, as the person who gave permission.
Many are up in arms over the town’s decision to remove the memorial bench, and I get it, of course. However, before we ride Holcomb out of Elkin on a rail, let’s go “big picture” on this. All across America, municipalities like Elkin are now under the gun from ardent anti-Christian activists of all stripes – atheists, devil-worshippers, what have you – who wait breathlessly to see on what piece of public property even the most innocuous reference to Christianity will be allowed to stand. Once they find it, these folks cannot wait to protest, sue, and/or install their own contrived and insulting “answer” to whatever it is they supposedly find so offensive. For all the local residents know, some band of lunatic, professed devil-worshipers was going to head their way to raise a giant Baphomet statue at Elkin Municipal Park, just like the one they put up in Detroit in July, right next to the bench honoring sweet, young Mason.
Yes, it would be great to see more local officials thumb their noses at the judicially-supported waves of anti-Christian sentiment that now sweep the nation, but those who do are fighting a losing battle as things stand right now in this country. The real answer is for us, the citizens, to apply pressure on elected officials so that laws are written that can protect at least incidental expressions of faith on government property. No reasonable person thinks that Elkin allowing the presence of this memorial park bench, paid for with private funds and created to honor the memory of one person, is tantamount to the town saying that its official religion is Christianity. However, until American citizens work harder through their legislators to drag common sense – kicking and screaming, apparently – back into the room, then this kind of idiocy will continue.
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