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Atheist activist on Ohio Holocaust memorial: ‘It’s important that we not give the Holocaust to just the Jews’

By Arturo Garcia
Friday, July 26, 2013 17:42 EDT
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American Atheists president David Silverman on Fox News 072613 [Mediaite]
 
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The leader of an atheism activist group clashed with Fox News host Sydney Bream on Friday over a proposed Holocaust memorial for the Ohio Statehouse that would bear a Jewish Star of David, saying it would marginalize other groups affected by genocidal efforts by the Nazis during World War II.

“It’s important that we not give the Holocaust to just the Jews,” American Atheists president David Silverman told Bream. “There were a lot of people who died.”

The memorial, which would be placed on the Statehouse lawn in Columbus, has been criticized by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) for including only that symbol on the approved design.

Silverman told Bream that while his group wouldn’t oppose the Star of David being on the building if it were accompanied by other religious symbols, the current design did not account for 40 percent of the Nazis’ victims not being Jewish, and noted the targeting of the handicapped, Romani and gay and lesbian communities during the Holocaust.

“But you have to admit [Jews] were the primary target,” Bream countered. “It was about exterminating them. A lot of these other groups were kind of roped into that because they may have supported it or they were equated as being less than favorable or they were in some way equated to being at the level of a Jewish person.”

“It was about eugenics, okay?” Silverman responded. “It was about creating the Aryan race.”

For only one religious marker to be displayed, he argued, constituted an endorsement of that religion, despite a planned inscription that mentioned more groups affected by the Nazis.

“It’s on public land, and it’s going to look like a temple,” Silverman said. “It’s going to look like a Jewish temple. It’s going to look like a synagogue.”

WCMH-TV reported on Wednesday that the foundation first voiced its objections to the Capital Square Review and Advisory Board on June 14. But it does not plan to sue over the issue.

However, Ohio State University law professor David Goldberger told WCMH that the final design could still be targeted by lawsuits in the future.

“It opens the door for other groups to say, ‘We would like our symbol there,’ Goldberger told the station. “Of course this memorial will be part of a broader display, so it is essentially secular.”

Watch Bream’s interview with Silverman, in video posted by Mediaite on Friday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
 
 
 
 
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