In Woonsocket, R.I., the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wants to oust another Christian symbol, this one a cross that sits atop a historic war memorial. The Providence Journal reported that Woonsocket Mayor Leo Fontaine and the city council are fighting to protect the memorial, while state Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin said he “applauded” their work “to fight the attack by the group Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
Last week, more than 1,000 people, many of them veterans, participated in a rally to safeguard the memorial; it was organized by former head of the Rhode Island National Guard Gen. Reginald Centracchio and WPRO radio’s John DePetro to. At the event, Mayor Fontaine stated that the 1921 monument is not about the establishment of religion, but solely about recalling the sacrifices of four local residents killed in WW I and WWII, including three brothers: Alexandre, Henri and Louis Gagne.
The Wisconsin-based FFRF has been targeting such memorials since 1978. The organization presently has a petition drive urging the termination of our nation’s annual National Day of Prayer. The petition reads: “We petition the Obama Administration to: End the unconstitutional National Day of Prayer, which violates the 1st Amendment. God & government are a dangerous mix.” I think what’s more dangerous is the fact that these anti-religion groups ignore our nation’s observable history of offering thanks to God for His blessings and protections. As George Washington stated in his Thanksgiving proclamation of 1789, “… it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.” If we’re not careful, one day, Mr. Washington’s words might be purged from our nation’s record because they are too offensive.