From the end of this month, through the next two that follow it, we find the most intense succession of religious holidays on the American calendar. For one of the first popular democracies to guarantee personal religious freedom but bar all formal ties between officials and offices of government and any entity of organized religion, is truly an anomaly but a crucially purposeful one, at that. Though most of this nation’s founders were either deists or adherents to some religious belief, all had seen or suffered enough of the iniquities of ultra-orthodox fanaticism to imbue determined opposition to any tie that might deny believers or nonbelievers unfettered freedom of choice. This resistance was embedded in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
A city board in upstate New York has given a Muslim group the go-ahead to remove six crosses from the roof and spires of a century-old former Catholic church so the now-vacant Gothic structure can be used as a mosque.
More than 200 people had signed an online petition calling on the Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board to deny an application by North Side Learning Center, the church's new owner, to remove the crosses and build a six-foot chain-link fence.