Sunday, December 13, 2015

Separation of Church and State

 Waterbury, Connecticut

It's been a few months since I walked around the central New England Town Green in the small city of Waterbury. I was startled by this incredibly ugly—sculpture, I guess, in front of a building adjacent to the YMCA, across the street from the north side of the green. It's true that Conway was a hero, and it's true that the Waterbury Veterans Memorial Committee isn't a government office, so not bound by the amendment that prohibits establishment of a state religion. Still, it seems to me they could have managed to be a bit less heavy-handed with the Christian slant and symbolism. While I was shooting this, next door, at the Y, a bunch of 10-12 year old kids and a half-dozen women with minivans were leaving, I guess, a swim class, since a lot of the adults were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with, "Don't worry, I'm a swim Mom." None of them were wearing head scarves. Of course.

In 1959, ten year old me begged my parents to let me (meaning get me back and forth several times a week) join the Y in Montclair, NJ, so I could swim in the winter, at least some. I was aghast that the application form I had to fill out at the front desk required me to state my religion. "Wait, that's not legal, or appropriate!" The parental unit said, "you wanna swim, check off the RC box."

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