Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert complained mockingly on Tuesday that "our tradition of separation of church and state too often separates church and state."
He pointed to the Supreme Court's recent consideration of a case involving the constitutionality of an 8-foot cross elected as a memorial to World War I veterans on land that is now part of the federally-owned Mohave National Preserve,
Justice Antonin Scalia saw no problem with the memorial, arguing, "I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead. ... The cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of the dead."
"Exactly," Colbert agreed in his fake-conservative pundit persona. "The cross has nothing to do with Christianity. It's just the normal symbol of the resting place of the dead. Like it's just normal that picture frames are always sold with photos of white people in them."
When the ACLU lawyer arguing the case noted, "There is never a cross on the tombstone of a Jew," Scalia 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."
"Outrageous!" Colbert repeated. "The cross represents everybody -- Christians and people who are going to Hell. And since it represents everybody, shouldn't we use it to symbolize every religion?"
"If Scalia is right," concluded Colbert, "the cross no longer signifies that Jesus Christ is the only son of God. ... Scalia knows it's just two pieces of wood nailed at a 90-degree angle. And what better symbol to commemorate those we send to die in a war?"
As Colbert finished, the sidebar ironically echoed his final words by replacing the symbol of the cross with a large "?"
This video is from Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, broadcast Oct. 13, 2009.
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