As happens in emotionally charged debates, one side or the other makes knee-jerk reactions of a slippery slope. They claim that if X is done then all instances of X would have to be done the same way. A majority of the time such claims are wrong.
The Media Matters website pointed out that on the July 25th edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly falsely claimed that the Red Cross “historically … adopted” its emblem “because of the Christian philosophy of giving alms and giving assistance to people in need.”
He was interviewing the lawyer representing Philip Paulson, a man from San Diego, who has won 17 years of court cases to have the Latin cross on Mt. Soledad removed from the public park there. O’Reilly made the knee-jerk reaction that if the Mt. Soledad cross is removed then the American Red Cross would have to change its symbol of a red cross on a white field since it was adopted because of its ties to Christianity.
As Media Matters points out:
In fact, according to the American Red Cross website, it was “[i]n honor of the Swiss … [that] the symbol of a red cross on a white background (the reverse of the Swiss flag) was identified as a protective emblem in conflict areas.”
In addition to stating that its symbol was chosen as the reverse of the Swiss flag, the American Red Cross website adds that “[t]he Red Cross idea was born in 1859, when Henry Dunant, a young Swiss man, came upon the scene of a bloody battle in Solferino, Italy,” and that the “emblem was adopted at this first International Conference as a symbol of neutrality” at the first-ever Geneva Convention at Geneva, Switzerland, in 1864.
The Mt. Soledad cross is referred to as a Latin Cross, it has equal sized arms but a longer foot.
The cross used on the Swiss flag and at the American Red Cross shows all the pieces to be equal in size so that the symbol is squarish.
The Latin Cross has been a known Christian symbol since the 1200’s. The International Committee of the Red Cross does make allowances for countries where some might mistake the Red Cross as something wholly Christian. The Committee allows those countries to use a different symbol such as the Red Crescent in Islamic countries and the new Red Crystal where a crescent or cross wouldn’t be used but in all cases the symbol used is noting protection and neutrality.
Instead of saying that the Mt. Soledad cross should be kept or else all public images of the cross must be removed, the real point is that O’Reilly proved that the Mt. Soledad is religious in nature and is a symbol of Christianity. He has made the case as to why that cross should be removed from a public park.