To the editor:
In his Oct. 3 column on crosswords, misplaced objects and health care reform, Garrison Keillor couldn’t resist slipping in a complete non sequitur, dismissively complaining about an upcoming Supreme Court wrangle over a Christian cross war memorial in Mojave National Preserve. While factually sloppy (the cross is of tubular metal, not plywood) Keillor’s digression is most obnoxious for his claim that the issue “doesn’t make a dime’s worth of difference to anybody whomsoever.”
Tell that to millions of non-Christians who consider the national parks their parks too, who fought and died in our nation’s wars, who daily are reminded by Christian Americans that they remain an ignored or slandered population in too many official observances. Tell those for whom the cross represents not a message of good news and hope, but a history of brutality, superstition and bigotry. Tell the high-ranking retired military officers, the Jewish and Muslim veterans organizations and various civil rights groups who join the ACLU in affirming that no religion deserves the endorsement of secular government, or exclusive access to public lands.
Maybe the First Amendment is trivial to Keillor, compared to paying for gallbladder operations and birth control, but I suspect our national discourse can address both priorities. Good health care should be for every American, but so should religious equality. Perhaps someday both will be, if those retrograde, smug and shrieking old folks Keillor grouses about, and sadly exemplifies, get out of the way and stick to hunting their glasses and car keys.