Could Atheists Endanger Idaho’s Mission at Cataldo?
Could Idaho’s Cataldo Mission face the wrath of angry atheists? The best answer is probably not. This week the Supreme Court of the United States allowed the Bladensburg Peace Cross to stand. The war memorial in suburban Washington, D.C. is almost a full century old. Many pleased with the court decision are calling it “narrow”. I’ve seen arguments from both faithful and unfaithful jokingly saying the decision was made because the cross is old.
In other words, historic. You couldn’t construct it on public property today, however. The cross was originally on private land, later annexed by Maryland’s state government.
There are few places I’ve been in life where I’ve so much experienced the presence of God.
Which gets me to Cataldo. It’s certainly historic. Roman Catholic Mass is still celebrated in the building. Idaho State Parks only maintain the area through a lease with the Diocese of Boise. Which means if someone demanded the cross atop the building come down it wouldn’t have much legal weight. At worst, the parks department would simply walk way.
Saturday morning I read a lengthy interview at the Wall Street Journal. A law professor at an Ivy League University is also a devout Christian. He’s pleased by the court decision but concurs in the belief Bladensburg was saved because of its historical value. He does see this as a turning point in our views about faith in public. There is an open hostility to Christianity among the leftists and the godless. The tide started turning in religion’s favor when Colorado baker Jack Phillips had a victory at the high court. Not so much on Freedom of Religion but on grounds his state’s commission on human rights is just plain mean. Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy didn’t quite use those words in his writing but he wasn’t pleased by an organized effort to punish Phillips for a traditional view of Christianity. The tide has turned. God wins.
By the way, when I first visited Cataldo, I was overwhelmed. There are few places I’ve been in life where I’ve so much experienced the presence of God. I got down on my knees, prayed and then sat silently for a good half hour. It was a blustery day outside. It was calm in the creaking old structure. Idaho’s oldest standing building is like a rock.