South Mountain A Lesson For Church-State Separation


Regarding your editorial on Bible Week of Nov. 17. A few decades ago the city of Phoenix owned (and still does) South Mountain Park. At one time it was the largest city-owned park in the world. These mountains rise south of the Salt River Valley, now called the Valley of the Sun.

A Christian church group, with the permission of the city fathers, began making plans to erect a gigantic, electrically lighted Christian cross atop the peak of this beloved old mountain. Word traveled fast and two other major religious groups wanted their piece of this pie-in-the-sky.

Smaller religious groups also began having visions of shrines, temples, mausoleums, altars and brush arbors.

We youthful rabble-rousers didn't know much about politics or government, but we knew about separation of church and state. (Who didn't know about the horrors of Salem?) We picked up some heavy-weights from ASU, and it wasn't easy, but we squashed those plans for a whopper of a holy mountain. We also saved a portion of the great Sonoran desert.

There'll never be a Waco there, or a Jonestown or a shrine to Aimee McPherson, for that matter. As long as there's a few of us old rough-riders alive, there won't be.

Some of us wanted Tom Mix deified; it didn't happen, so we lost interest in the Vatican. But we're all grown up now.

We, the children of the thirties and forties, didn't need a great deal of religion, or government. Those remaining of us do not need or want it now.

Religion once ruled the world: the time was known as the Dark Ages.

Gov. Hull should proclaim far less and read more. She could start with Margaret Mead and Pearl Buck.

Alyce F. Hicks

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