Battle Over Cross in Cemetery

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," May 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: An Ohio chapter of the ACLU (search) taking issue with a cross in a cemetery. The group says the monument amounts to an illegal endorsement of Christianity by the government. Now the son of the man who put up the cross is fighting back to make sure this memorial stays put.

Steve Karns joins us with his side of this religious debate.

Steve, the big question: Why should this cross stay at the cemetery? After all, they're ordered down all over the country in various places.

STEVE KARNS, ADVOCATE FOR CROSS IN CEMETERY: Well, we got a monument dedicated to the Korean War (search) men that died out of Vinton County.

And the ACLU is coming down and saying it's a religious symbol and we're saying it's not. It's a monument to those soldiers that got killed. We're getting soldiers killed every day in Iraq. And now they're coming along and telling us that we can't dedicate something to the soldiers that died in the Korean War? We're saying they're wrong. When it was on top of the courthouse, it could have been a religious symbol. But it's not there now. It's not the same or the same thing it was.

GIBSON: But, Steve, it is a cross, right? I mean, you're not saying that a cross isn't a religious symbol, are you?

KARNS: No, it's not. It's how you look at it. We're looking at it like it's a monument, but it's in a cemetery. There's tombstones every place in this cemetery all over the country that look like crosses.

If we let them take this cross down, what's next? Are they going to come and say, well, that tombstone looks like a cross? You have got to remove it. So we're going to fight.

GIBSON: No, actually, Steve, the ACLU's rule about this is that a personal cross on a grave or a Star of David or a star and crescent is a personal statement of the person who is buried there. They make a distinction between that and a big public cross.

But you seem to be saying it isn't a cross. If it's not a cross, what is it?

KARNS: Well, it's a war monument to the Korean War veterans. It just happens to be shaped like a cross. And we're saying that, if you let them take this down, it would be anything that they want to do next time on anything they don't like.

GIBSON: Steve Karns — fighting this battle at the cemetery over what might be a cross. Steve, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.