Alex Hershaft, Bethesda
“What if I don’t sign on to payroll deductions for bonds and contributions?” I wondered. As a new Internal Revenue Service employee, I was making $5,200 annually with a wife and baby to support. “Your choice,” my supervisor replied. “However, think about it as an investment in your future. Are we more apt to promote someone who is a team player? We view participation in United States Savings Bonds and the combined federal campaign as demonstrating employee morale.”
Which leads me to the Peace Cross memorial that resides on government land and is maintained through government funds. After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit decided it violates the Constitution’s First Amendment, this decision might be considered by the Supreme Court.
While sympathetic to the poor and distressed, I didn’t like being coerced. Similarly, I appreciate the underlying motive to honor World War I soldiers — and, by extension, all soldiers who died in combat for the United States — through a public monument. However, government involvement in promoting a religious symbol makes me uncomfortable because it feels coercive.
Surely, the monument and its maintenance might be transferred to a patriotic organization. While I stopped participating in U.S. Savings Bonds because they were a poor investment, I never sacrificed charities over my pique at being strong-armed.
Marvin Friedlander, Fairfax