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Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Cross To Bear

  America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is what makes us exceptional. Regardless of how you worship, that is a fact. One of those founding principles is the freedom to worship how you wish. It is a sacred law to most Americans. As a member of a non-mainstream religion, that law is perhaps even more sacred to me. Maybe it makes me a bit more sensitive to religious discrimination.
  The popular target of that discrimination seems to be Christians. All one has to do is turn on the television, or surf the web, and you will see someone telling a story of being asked to remove a cross necklace, or read something vile that has been written about Tim Tebow, or another prominent Christian.
  A few weeks ago, a loyal St. Louis Cardinals fan, Michael Vines, noticed that on the back of the pitcher's mound, there was a Christian cross etched in the dirt. Next to it was what could either be an Ichthys, commonly known as a "Jesus fish", or a number 6, perhaps a tribute to the late Stan Musial. Jesus fish or six, now there's a dilemma!
  So Mr. Vines took it upon himself to write letters. One to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and one to the Riverfront Times. His basic beef, religious symbols do not belong in a baseball stadium. Especially one that is supported with taxpayer money. Taxpayers of all religious stripes, or no stripes at all. Mr. Vines did not identify himself as an atheist. So why does he care so much about whatever might be scrawled on the pitcher's mound?
  A lot of Americans seem to be easily offended by any suggestion these days of religion. Even a mention by someone of having attended church, listening to a Christian radio station, or even wearing a cross sends people into a frenzy of "don't shove your religion down my throat" palpitations. Are they afraid that any mention of faith will cause them to stop and think about their own human failings for a nano second? How can that be, in a society that is constantly being told they are not responsible for their actions?
  But back to baseball. Does a cross or a Jesus fish belong in a stadium that is frequented by all? The Cardinal players who are Christians are very open about their faith. This is a teamPujols would send one into the seats, and point upwards as he came around to step on home plate? Does anyone contemplate firing off e-mails or letters when Yadier Molina, or any one of a dozen or more Latin players make the sign of the cross when they come up to bat? Mr. Vines, if he is in fact an atheist, and just atheists in general, seem to expend quite a bit of effort on something they claim to have no belief in.
who has a promotional day called "Christian Family Day at the Ballpark". But by all accounts, no other Cardinal players, or players from visiting teams have complained. If it presents a problem for a particular player, can't he just scrub it out with his foot? It is dirt after all. Did it bother Michael Vines, or anyone else, when Albert
  As a Wiccan, I do not expect anyone else to agree with my choice of religion. I don't even expect everyone else to tolerate it. What I do expect is that you respect it. That is really all Christians expect as well. If nothing else, it is respect for a basic foundational block that the founding fathers made sure to include. They knew that it was imperative to the lifeblood of our nation.
  So far, they have not been wrong about much.

Update: Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak has since spoke with the Busch Stadium Grounds Crew, and asked them that the symbols be removed.       

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