Crosses debate already solved 200 years ago

Published 12:07am Friday, December 13, 2013

For a bunch of 18th century guys — the history textbooks seem to refer to them as male, anyway — our nation’s Founding Fathers were pretty darned astute.

They were so savvy in fact that their words should serve to extinguish a little protest blaze set on the Natchez bluff this year, more than 200 years after the words were first penned.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We know those words as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment was placed first because it was of critical importance. The freedoms it protects serve as the underpinnings of our country.

So what does the First Amendment have to do with the Natchez bluff?

For years a local pro-life, anti-abortion group has erected a silent protest on the public grounds atop the Natchez bluffs. Simple white crosses, arranged together in a group represent the unborn lives silenced by abortion procedures.

City leaders have received complaints from residents who either disagree with the pro-life group’s stance on abortion or feel the protest would be better placed elsewhere, less in the public’s eye.

While the city’s leaders may disagree with the cross display, they may do nothing to prohibit it as the matter should fall squarely under the protection of the First Amendment.

That’s exactly where the group of brilliant framers of our republic wanted it, too, and God love them for thinking this out for us.