Scalia Says that a Tzeilim Honors All War Dead – Even Jews


scaliaSupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said it was an “outrageous conclusion” that a war memorial featuring a cross only honors Christian war dead. The statement came during arguments Wednesday in the case of Salazar v. Buono, which deals with the constitutionality of a 6 1/2-foot cross sitting on what originally was┬ápublic land in California’s Mojave National Preserve.The memorial was constructed 75 years ago to honor World War I victims, but 10 years ago it was challenged by a National Park Service employee who thought it violated the Constitution’s ban on government establishment of religion.

Congress passed legislation in 2004 declaring the site a national memorial. The legislation transferred the ownership of the land on which the memorial sits to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in exchange for five privately owned acres in the preserve.

Scalia was responding to a statement from American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Peter Eliasberg that such a memorial “signifies that [Yoshka]…died to redeem mankind for our sins,” and thus could not be a secular memorial.

Scalia, according to media reports, responded that the cross was the “common symbol of the resting place of the dead” and asked whether the lawyer would instead want erected “some conglomerate of a cross, a Star of David and, you know, a Muslim half-moon and star?”

Eliasberg responded, “I have been in Jewish cemeteries. There is never a cross on a tombstone of a Jew.”

The justice retorted, “I don’t think you can leap from that to the conclusion that the only war dead that that cross honors are the Christian war dead. I think that’s an outrageous conclusion.”

Legal observers said the court may end up deciding the case on the narrower issue of whether Congress acted legally in transferring ownership of the land to a private entity rather than the constitutionality of the cross sitting on public land.

{JTA/Noam Newscenter}


  1. If anything is outrageous it’s Scalia’s notion that the cross could possibly represent any religion *other than* Chrisianity. Justice Scalia is either totally blind to reality or suffering from early dementia.

  2. scalia has always exhibited sheer ignorance of religion and judaism and some in our community still think he is so great because he is a neo republican conservative…

  3. you are clearly more ignorant than you claim scalia to be. if you had bothered to do a little research, you would find that many of his decisions have actually benefited yidden. it was scalia who allowed extra funding to the school system in kiryas yoel, citing that there is no reason to fear that a little money to the satmars would fuel some sort of satmar takeover of the country.

  4. To # 3 and # 4: Justice Scalia is a great friend to the Orthodox Jewish Community, and is a great proponent of moral values that are not dissimilar to ours. The fact that he used some faulty logic here does not concern me.

    I think most of us don’t care if there is a tzeilim somewhere honoring the dead of WWI. Remember, this tzeilim has been there for 75 YEARS ALREADY!!! Let it be, and let the American CRIMINAL Liberties Union find something else to keep them busy.

  5. Mr. Scalia represents those who believe that the United States should be a Christian country. In a similar way Spain under the Inquisition was a Christian country. England was officially Christian in the nineteenth century and a Rothschild who was elected to Parliament several times couldn’t take his seat because he refused to take an oath on a Christian bible.

    When Christianity becomes the official religion of a country, it generally signifies trouble for us Jews. Remember that the next time you get starry-eyed over some Christian conservative who seems to support “our” values. Remember the fellow who said “G-d does not hear the prayer of a Jew”? There are a lot more like him around.

  6. Take a look at the Obama Nobel thread. If you want to disagree with the Justice (who had a gracious writeup in Hamodia not long ago) can you do so politely? Passionately and politely are NOT mutually exclusive.

  7. Rachel:

    85% of Americans believe in christianity. Though not in the sense of England (and many other european countries that have “official” state religions), that kinda makes America a christian country. Please remember that we live in golus and we are ill advised (not to mention prohibited) from riling up the goyim. If you try to infringe on their religion, I can guarantee you they will get all riled up.

    This is not England b”H and our gedolim have said taught America is a malchus shel chessed. Let’s not mess that up by our own actions.


    As far as Scalia is concerned, he may not understand spiritual matters but then, I don’t expect him to: he is, after all, a goy and an ovdei avodah zarah. I’ll never understand why yidden don’t get that. Theirs is the world of gashmius, not ruchnius. Stop expecting them to “get it.” They won’t, not until Moshiach comes.

    As far as the case in question is concerned, if you family buries you in a cemetary for goyim with a cross, well, you’re buried in a cemetary with a cross. Don’t get mad about it 70 years after the fact