A religious freedom legal team has launched a Memorial Day campaign that includes the release of the music video, "Don't Tear Me Down." The video's release coincides with an effort to combat opposition to the use of the Christian cross and other symbols of faith at U.S. veterans' memorials.
"The ACLU is so driven to purge religious displays from the public square that they are continuing their attack against the unlikeliest of victims – the veterans and the memorials they built to honor their own," said Liberty Institute President and CEO Kelly Shackelford. "We believe, if the Supreme Court grants our appeal and agrees to hear the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross case, they will rule once and for all that these veterans memorials should be exempt from the ongoing culture war over religious imagery in public displays."
The ACLU filed suit in 2006 on behalf of Jewish War Veterans of the USA and some residents of San Diego against the Mt. Soledad cross display, which was erected in the 1950s. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in 2011 that the cross was unconstitutional. Liberty Institute appealed in 2012 and the U.S. Solicitor General joined the appeal in defense of the 29-foot memorial cross.
According to a Georgetown Law Journal study, there is a 70 percent chance the High Court will hear the case. A decision is expected in June.
"As Liberty Institute awaits the Supreme Court's decision to hear the precedent-setting Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross case in early June, this Memorial Day we will unveil the 'Don't Tear Me Down' music video to honor the sacrifice of our military men and women fighting another war to keep their precious memorials from being torn down," officials at Liberty Institute said in a statement to The Christian Post.
The institute said the video "embodies the spirit of the movement to save America's veterans memorials that contain religious imagery from being torn down by the ACLU and other atheist groups."
In addition to the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross, Liberty Institute also represented the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 4 million veterans through the VFW, The American Legion and Military of the Purple Heart, as well as the Big Mountain Jesus Statue in Montana on behalf of the local Knights of Columbus who oversees the WWII monument.
"Don't Tear Me Down" is co-written, performed and played by Jon Christopher Davis, who has been a lyricist for Dolly Parton and Billy Ray Cyrus. Davis' co-writer is his manager, John "Sparky" Pearson.
"Our fathers, who are no longer with us, served in the U.S. Air Force and Navy. They would be outraged at the idea of tearing down a veterans memorial just because it has a religious symbol," Davis said. "We were taught and we believe in religious freedom -- not freedom from religion. To us, this is a much bigger issue than erasing a religious symbol. This is about NOT tearing down America."
Lyrics to "Don't Tear Me Down" include the refrain:
"Don't tear me down, Just walk away
Our Founding Fathers, What would they say?
Don't tear me down, These words I pray
I'm just keeping watch, Over the fallen brave"
On the Web: DontTearMeDown.com