Pick your battles carefully

With all that is going on in our town, state and country, we find it difficult to get exercised over the inclusion of the word “creator” on a memorial to local war veterans, even if it is to be located in a public place, the Downtown Plaza Park. The veterans pushing for the memorial got approval from the City Council, which at the time of the vote did not know the details of the project.

Now word is that the memorial will say something about thanking the creator for our freedoms and liberties. Some people, including two councilmembers, are objecting to the proposed message because, they say, it smacks of religion—specifically, Christianity. Including the word creator, they argue, further blurs the separation of church and state.

They may be right, but as we recall the Declaration of Independence reads, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” We have no beef with the Declaration of Independence.

A few years ago a federal district court ruled that the invocations preceding government meetings may not include the name of Jesus or any other entity specific to a certain religion. The idea is that any person attending the public meeting who is not a member of the religion referred to will feel left out of the process. Such prayers may, however, employ the word God because it is sufficiently generic not to discourage participation by non-believers. If God is generic enough for the court, then creator (with a lower-case “C") certainly is as well. In our minds, creator could mean something as simple as nature.

We do find it curious, however, that those wanting to honor the men and women who’ve fought and died for this country undercut the tribute by crediting a “creator.” Where’s the gratitude for the soldiers?