There are times when misunderstandings regarding the separation of church and state in America simply boggle the mind.
The latest example comes from the northeastern Colorado town of Sterling, where officials had to reverse themselves after first ruling that a woman's cemetery marker could not include the word “Jesus” because it might offend someone. As 9News reported, “Her family intended to recognize her faith and honor her wishes by engraving her cemetery marker with the word Jesus surrounded by the ichthys, the fish-like symbol of early Christianity.”
While the manager of the city-owned cemetery said the fish was fine, he ruled against the use of the word “Jesus.” In a cemetery.
Never mind that it's almost inconceivable that someone actually would be offended. Even if someone did object, the idea that a religious word on a personal marker must be banned from a public place simply because someone might be offended is a gross misunderstanding of what the establishment clause of the First Amendment — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” — is all about.
The woman's daughter-in-law summed up the fiasco perfectly: “In their misguided attempt to offend no one, they ended up offending many.”