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The Cross by the Road

11 Aug

The deacon, our youngest son and I were driving through Illinois today when we saw a truly astonishing sight:

This monstrosity, located near the intersection of two interstate highways, is 198 feet tall. That’s about 20 stories high. That is one big cross. You can read more about it here. According to the Cross USA web site,

This site is intended to serve as a beacon of hope to the 50,000 travelers estimated to pass the site each day. In addition, the Cross Foundation will promote the values of faith and family through other activities at the Effingham site, as well as programs to be announced shortly…

I probably was not the only person who drove by that thing today and thought, “What a colossal waste.” The money that was spent erecting that eyesore could have provided thousands of meals to hungry people, or enabled families to spend hundreds of nights in transitional housing, or subsidized child care expenses for working families, or… or … or…. Think of how much energy is wasted lighting that sucker up every night. If that cross was supposed to make me think warm, fuzzy thoughts about God, it failed miserably. Instead, I thought of a guy with a warped conception of how scarce resources could be used to minister to the public. I also thought of all the donors who did not see the futility of this gesture and could not imagine more fruitful ways to spend their money. This thing is supposed to persuade or reassure me that Christianity has a viable message for the 21st century? Sorry, it doesn’t work for me.

If I were God, I would have would have struck that thing down years ago.

– the chaplain

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78 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2008 in humanism, religion, society

 

78 responses to “The Cross by the Road

  1. DB

    August 11, 2008 at 12:35 am

    The poor, starving people where the ones I thought about and think about each beautiful cathedral I pass, or each huge mansion pastors live in, or the expensive cars they drive, or virtually every other excessive waste I see administered on behalf of their god. I can understand some things that would bring in the money, but this is over-compensating for the faith they all know is BS.

     
  2. Robin

    August 11, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I’m curious what you think about this from the perspective of art and culture, as opposed to religiosity. For instance, much of the respected art of the ancient world was religious in nature, and I find much of it beautiful. The Buddhas of Bamyan, the Sistine Chapel, and such are (or were, in the case of the Buddhas) considered fantastic simply as art pieces. While I can understand a 200-ft tall cross would seem an overpowering and authoritative presence, if we divorced it from it’s religiousness, could we appreciate it as art? Heck, can we appreciate it now, even with it’s obvious connotations?

    Since we are in the middle of a “culture war” in which atheists are considered immoral and dishonest, I can understand that the feelings provoked amongst us by this cross are not likely to be pleasant, but hundreds of years from now, could this thing be well regarded?

    Because I kinda think it looks neat, and feel a bit guilty about it I guess. =P

     
  3. John Evo

    August 11, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Robin, I can forgive ignorance of many hundreds of years ago in regards to religious icons. It’s more difficult now. Obviously you have a point, in that if this thing should last 1000 years it will probably be viewed favorably, even if most of those looking at it are secular. Kind of how we now look at an Aztec temple, even with the knowledge of the horrors that went with it. Finally, I just don’t see this thing as comparable from a purely artistic vantage point. It’s a huge fucking cross! A 12 year old with monetary resources could have done that. And the adult who did have the money to invest probably did it to insure him/herself with a better room in heaven. That’s pretty dumb. But it’s likely the same reasons that rich men have always sponsored great religious icons. “Look god! See how much me and my family LOVE YOU?”

     
  4. John Evo

    August 11, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Hey Chappy… did you buy a wireless internet card or something?

     
  5. Riker

    August 11, 2008 at 2:03 am

    The only caveat is that they said themselves it had an explicit intention of promoting religiously-fueled hope to those who saw it.

    Now, if it were just an expensive sculpture, people might still say it was a waste of money, while others might champion its virtue as a piece of art. They might even suggest that the money spent on it would’ve been better spent feeding and sheltering the impoverished. And that would be debatable.

    But the fact is, this is a self-professed Christian Values organization responsible, one who is clearly trying to make a very public impression about their faith. But all they end up doing is reinforcing the fact that their faith’s resultant goal is to make people religious before making them well.

     
  6. Riker

    August 11, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Another note – looking at the other photos on the cross foundation website, it seems to me to be made of the same materials that prefab steel buildings are made of… that is to say, it’s a giant piece of corrugated sheet metal on a hollow frame. I don’t think this thing’s lasting a thousand years ;-)

     
  7. Robin

    August 11, 2008 at 2:50 am

    You have both (Riker and John) mentioned the important point that as much as this is art, the artists intentions are not particularly noble. I definitely agree, but I think art can be as much about the viewer’s appreciation and understanding of the piece as it can be about any obvious or subtle intentions of the creator. So the artists intentions don’t have to necessarily be important in all cases.

    But I don’t mean to say that a giant frekkin’ cross can be easily separated from the blatant message of it’s creator. Maybe it’s even impossible in this climate. Heck, it’s probably naive of me to simply want to say “neat!” because it’s 200ft tall alone. A 200ft tall statue of a genocidal dictator would be neat for the same reason to me, I guess, which makes me feel guilty about my appreciation of the work as I mentioned earlier.

    The waste of it is a good point as well. I love pictures of Saint Peter’s Basilica, but it’s hard not to wonder what works could have been done for the hungry and poor instead of building and maintaining the thing.

    I suppose I’ve derailed enough about art, sorry. I blame a recent art appreciation class I attended.

     
  8. plonkee @ the religious atheist

    August 11, 2008 at 6:06 am

    I’m thinking that an enormous cross that lights up designed to promote faith is poor art and a waste of resources. On the other hand, the Angel of the North near Gateshead which symbolises the past, the future, and hope is actual art, and not really a waste of resources. It helps that there’s no religion associated with it, and that it’s not lit up.

     
  9. Nightcap

    August 11, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Irish priest: “Domine, Domine, Domine. Down on your knees, lads. Do ye recognize what I’m holdin’ over your heads now?”

    Indian: “It’s a cross. Symbol of the quartering of the universe into active and passive principles.”

    Irish priest: “God have mercy on your heathen souls.”

    — Firesign Theater, Formerly Humboldt County

     
  10. Ebonmuse

    August 11, 2008 at 7:33 am

    20 stories? That’s unbelievable. And for what? Has this cross fed anyone, or sheltered anyone, or otherwise improved anyone’s life in any tangible way? I seriously doubt it’s accomplished even the minimal goal of making people feel better about themselves, aside from maybe giving some Christian passers-by a brief glow of smug satisfaction. Truly, these symbols are boasts of superiority, nothing more.

     
  11. Bob

    August 11, 2008 at 8:42 am

    I’m from Effingham and affiliated with the Cross Foundation.

    Of course, the Cross is not going to appeal to everyone. Most people, automatically assume that the money used for the construction of the Cross was the only money ever spent towards non-profit activities. In fact, significant donors to the Cross have been instrumental in building schools, orphanages and food banks in both the United States and Internationally.

    Has the Cross had an impact? By the letters we receive, it’s been incredibly powerful. People have literally and figuratively turned their life around. From the teenage runaway who had stolen a car, to the desperate mother contemplating suicide, the Cross has had an impact.

    Finally, as for the money. I always like to point out that the Cross was built for 1/3 the price of running just ONE 30 second commercial on the most recent Super Bowl. Few people complain about how that money could have been spent for food and clothing. But they are quick to criticize the Cross.

    Thanks!

     
  12. PhillyChief

    August 11, 2008 at 8:53 am

    I spent countless hours in art history classes studying Medieval, Italian and Northern Renaissance works. The religious subject matter never tainted my appreciation of the works so let me say with all honesty, this thing is not a great work of art, imo. I certainly never bought into the modern art idea that ANYTHING becomes great art if it’s large enough. Take any sculpted work you can think of that you think is a quality piece. Is your appreciation of it tied to its size? In other words, would you still appreciate it as a quality work of art if it could fit in your hand? If you said “yes”, then consider this cross.

    So I suppose in the twisted minds of Christians, this cross does more than what could have been done feeding and sheltering the poor, correct? The idea that those things are temporary whereas if this monstrosity makes someone a Christian, then they’ve saved their soul? Seriously, that’s crazy, and should be pointed out as such.

    I just hope it doesn’t one day fall over onto the highway.

     
  13. yunshui

    August 11, 2008 at 9:33 am

    If you’re going to erect a massive instrument of torture at the roadside, at least you could make it the appropriate size. That thing’s way to big to actually crucify anyone with (although we could maybe lend you the Angel of the North to hang on it). Just impractical, I’d say.

     
  14. cbgrace

    August 11, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Maybe we need to take a look at this from a different angle. God has given everyone different gift and callings. You are obviously have a pastor gift – that is the heart to minister to people one on one, to meet physical needs as a means of reaching their soul.

    The people who created this cross, have different gifts and callings. That doesn’t make you “better” than them, just different.

    The Bible says, well actually Jesus said, When we lift Him up, He will draw all men unto him. When you minister to the poor you are lifting Jesus up, when they build a giant cross, they lift Jesus up.

    When the woman anointed Jesus’ feet one of his disciples say “We could have used that money to feed the poor” and Jesus said to him the poor will be with you always but I will not. Judas criticized her worship. Just as you are criticizing the worship of the people who built this cross…

     
  15. Ric

    August 11, 2008 at 10:54 am

    cbgrace –

    Apparently you missed the memo that you’re dealing with hardcore atheists here. So any statement you make that says ‘god did it’ just isn’t going to play.

    But taking a page or two from your own moldy book, how about huge honking cross as idol being worshipped? Not to mention the arrogance and selfish pride that went into it. It’s not much different than old Joe Stalin’s and Saddam Hussein’s huge statues to themselves.

     
  16. PhillyChief

    August 11, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Actually you had it right the first time, “the bible says…”

    That’s a pretty awful tale, btw. What a selfish prick, and quite the narcissist. No wonder Judas sold him out. You know what would have made the story better? If Judas then bought clothes and food for the poor with the 30 pieces of silver. That would have showed Mr. Full of Himself, cursing fig trees, eating people’s corn crops and wasting pigs, but his feet were clean, soft and subtle, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it? Fuck the poor, there’ll always be more to take their place. It’s about ME, baby!

     
  17. Evo

    August 11, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Maybe we need to take a look at this from a different angle. God has given everyone different gift and callings.

    OK, we can stop looking. The angle doesn’t exist.

     
  18. bitchspot

    August 11, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    You have to remember that these people don’t care about feeding the poor, they only want to push their religious agenda. Even when they sink down to soup kitchens and the like, it’s only so they can preach their message to the poor as a prerequisite for actually getting to eat. The idea that religion is charitable is almost always wrong, it’s holding out goodies with strings attached so they can pass their mythology along to those too destitute to resist.

     
  19. Bob

    August 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    bspot,
    In fact, people associated with the Cross are deeply involved in hunger. Associates of the Cross are instrumental in a Chicago food bank (more than 200 miles away), while another is the past Chairman of a food bank that feeds more than 650 adults everyday (more than 100 miles from the Cross).

    The cost of the Cross represents a fraction of the contributions that the many community supporters have donated to a host of other worthwhile projects around the world.

     
  20. Digital Dame

    August 11, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    From what we’ve been discussing here recently about the crosses along highways in various parts of the country, and now this thing, I’m having a very hard time understanding why the religious right is continually crying “foul!” and saying they are so persecuted, and discriminated against, that there’s a war against Christianity. Seems to me if any of that were true these things would not be allowed to stand. That is probably going off on a tangent here (at which I tend to excel), but that’s what I thought of when I saw this.

     
  21. PhillyChief

    August 11, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Bob,

    Is there a specific dollar amount in your bible where you all can stop spending on the poor and go blow the rest on lavish displays such as super sized illuminated crosses? That seems to be your argument, right? It’s ok to blow money which could have helped people because you’ve already spent you’re alloted amount on helping people. Is that found in the new testament or the old?

     
  22. VEGETA

    August 11, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    One of those just went up close to the place i live her in TN. Right next to a church on top of a hill with a gate. I thought the same exact thing. what i waste. I see the damn thing in the distance everyday i drive to work. I wish if they have to do it make it beautiful. Poor God. Humans used to build massive timelessly beautiful monuments to him. Now all he gets is fake stucco covered steel buildings and aluminum siding crosses. shame

     
  23. the chaplain

    August 11, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Hey, everyone! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. I’m in Louisiana tonight, having left Indiana yesterday morning. We’ve had two long days of driving to get here, so I haven’t been able to keep up with the blog throughout the day.

    Evo – my laptop has a WiFi card, but, since I’m on the road, I’ve been at the mercy of the connections available at the campgrounds where I stay. The quality has been uneven, to say the least. Tonight’s connection is the best I’ve had in a week.

     
  24. The Exterminator

    August 11, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    They could make that cross useful by putting some signage on it: McDonald’s to the right, Burger King to the left, Wendy’s straight ahead. And a happy face would probably do wonders to cheer up the drivers.

     
  25. grandma

    August 11, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    How sad – that we can’t allow ourselves to enjoy beauty and spirituality. How sad that people have to be so cruel to others. Just because it doesn’t please you, doesn’t mean you have the right to be critical and mean. Chill out. Take a deep breath. I’ll pray for you tonight, that God will send graciousness and calm into your hearts. And if that pisses you off, too bad. :0) I think the cross is beautiful and I have as much a right to my opinion as you do.

     
  26. The Exterminator

    August 12, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Oh, yeah, grandma, that cross is fucking gorgeous. Just what I want to be smacked in the eye with as I drive along: a 20-story advertisement for nonsense. Do you get what I’m saying? It’s an ad, no more beautiful or spiritual, inherently, than the Golden Arches or a huge billboard for a talk-radio show.

    But if you find it beautiful and spiritual, then by all means erect one in your living-room.

    How sad that you think it’s cruel of other people not to share your taste for garbage. You’re just another poor Christian victim of the advancement of knowledge, aren’t you?

     
  27. jjbo

    August 12, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Matthew:

    26:7 There came to him a woman having a bottle of perfume of great price, and she put the perfume on his head when he was seated at table.
    26:8 But when the disciples saw it they were angry, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
    26:9 For we might have got much money for this and given it to the poor.
    26:10 But Jesus, seeing it, said to them, Why are you troubling the woman? she has done a kind act to me.
    26:11 For the poor you have ever with you, but Me you have not for ever.

     
  28. bitchspot

    August 12, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Bob,

    Great, so they’re exactly the kind of people I mentioned, trying to scam the poor and needy into believing their crap so they can get fed. These cross-holes are getting better all the time.

     
  29. bob

    August 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Different bob here.

    Bob from the cross said: “Has the Cross had an impact? By the letters we receive, it’s been incredibly powerful.”

    Yes, it has made an impact. It has just added to my many reasons why I do not believe in the Christian God. Reason #875: Gods followers commit and support actions that are so completely ridiculous and unnecessary. Then, without even considering the criticism directed toward their beliefs or actions, they offer a very predictable defence.

     
  30. Digital Dame

    August 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Wow, Grandma, what a loving Christian attitude you have:

    “And if that pisses you off, too bad.”

    I don’t care about the smiley emoticon you threw in there to soften your statement. Might want to pray for some of that graciousness and calm for yourself while you’re at it.

     
  31. PhillyChief

    August 12, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I love how one can write “I have as much a right to my opinion as you do” and “Just because it doesn’t please you, doesn’t mean you have the right to be critical and mean”.

    So by “opinion” you mean “adore”? That’s the only thing that makes sense of your comment, Grandma. It seems to me that what you’re saying is if you can’t adore something, then you’re not allowed to say anything against it. That’s not how having a right to an opinion works, Grandma. No doubt if there was a 20 story penis or a “Hail Satan” sign you wouldn’t simply stay quiet, but rather freely voice your criticisms.

    Note to religious folk like jjbo: When you copy/paste bible passages, especially without ANY other commentary on your part, they are not read, so you’re simply wasting your time doing that.

     
  32. Evo

    August 12, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    What type of ignoramus thinks that when arguing for the biblical god, they are scoring any points whatsoever by quoting the bible? Oh… yeah. Never mind.

    Grandma said: I’ll pray for you tonight, that God will send graciousness and calm into your hearts.

    Prayer is supposed to be a good thing, right? I just ask because you wield it like a broadsword.

     
  33. ubi dubium

    August 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    jjbo:

    If you quote the bible, we can do the same back at you:

    “Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

    When I see ostentatious displays like this cross, I don’t see an expression of faith. I see bragging. I see “praying on the street corners to be seen by men.” Even back when I was a believer, this kind of thing put me off. As an Atheist, I see it as an utter waste, and a demonstration of hypocrisy as described in your own holy book.

    Grandma,
    I have plenty of graciousness and calm. But I will sigh and shake my head at wastefulness and hypocrites. Please go pray for somebody else.

     
  34. Ebonmuse

    August 12, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Apologists who argue that this monstrosity isn’t a waste because the people who built it also spend money on genuine charitable causes, it’s safe to say, have completely failed to grasp the point.

     
  35. athinkingman

    August 13, 2008 at 5:22 am

    I think it looks hideous – after all, it is a symbol of an horrendous means of execution. I don’t want it thrust in my face like this.

     
  36. bullet

    August 13, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    It’s their fucking money. Who are we to tell them how to spend it? I have a 50″ TV. Honestly, the thing’s too big. I’m sure I could have taken that money and done many useful and charitable things with it. Same with my computer. Or my Nintendo DS. But I didn’t, because I didn’t fucking feel like it. My wife spends 3 bucks on coffee every day, sometimes twice a day. She could buy clothes for a different child every month with the money she spends on coffee. It’s her money, though, and she wants coffee. Ditto with my cigarettes. And a big mind your own fucking business to anyone who wants to say otherwise.

    The cross is stupid. It’s purpose is to reassure Xians. A secondary purpose is probably to scare the crap out of the rest of us. Mission accomplished.

     
  37. Maria

    August 14, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    On the artistic question, Georgia O’Keefe once said that the cross is the most quintissentially American symbol, regardless of the religious element. Although I’m not entirely sure how one would arrive at the conclusion without it. That said, the proportions on this one aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing (too thick, and the crossbar should be a little lower and longer), and if you ignore the crossbar, the thing looks almost disturbingly similar to the Washington Monument. Maybe its unintended consequences will include increased donations to groups for the separation of the church and state, or the abolition of the death penalty?

     
  38. the chaplain

    August 18, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    VEGETA noted that there is a cross similar to this near his home in Tennessee. I think I saw that one today. A couple of hours later, I saw another one in Virginia. The Tennessee and Virginia copies are not nearly as big as the Illinois one, but they certainly draw attention to themselves and to the churches that have erected them.

     
  39. Sean the Blogonaut

    August 29, 2008 at 2:15 am

    Bullet,

    We have a right to comment and criticize because it’s shoved in our face, it’s out in the public domain and it’s sending us a message, its a demonstation of power.

    Not to mention they fact that christians are always ready to point out how much good work they do.

     
  40. John Roberts

    January 4, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Wow, it is quite beautiful!

    jess
    http://www.anoweb.alturl.com

     
  41. Enlightenment

    January 4, 2009 at 11:26 am

    You can’t buy yourself into heaven by building a cross.

    God needs to strike dead the two-faced lazy christians of this world that won’t get out and help the poor and weak.

     
  42. damon

    January 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

    1. I don’t like this thing either.

    2. I am so sick of this argument … “the money could have been spent on N meals for homeless”

    You know what, you probably went to mcdonalds yesterday, or drove your car somewhere you did not have too, or watched that 50″ flat panel tv, or whatever, that could have been spent on the homeless also.

    I don’t think the “this could have been spent on the homeless” is a good measure of the worth of anything.

     
  43. Ben

    January 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I have to say that a cross is a terrible representation of Christianity, but it was their money and they were well within their rights to put that up. I don’t think I’d hear many people saying anything if it were a sculpture from an art student or anything. However, I agree that the money could have been spent on something a bit more…charitable. As far as I know the cross doesn’t inspire hope, it brings out sadness at what happened to Christ.

    Also, someone mentioned pastors living in mansions. Most pastors hold second jobs to make ends meet. The honest ones spend the money on the church and things related to it. Not all Christians are bad just like not all Atheists are bad. We all suck sometimes.

     
  44. David

    January 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Yeah… there’s three giant crosses like this next to each other in Baton Rouge, LA on I-10 near the Bethany World Prayer Center. There’s even a water feature. I’m sure its as much as an eyesore there as it is down here.

     
  45. sin_ichhh

    January 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    That looks like a cell phone tower.

     
  46. Ugly American

    January 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Because Jesus was all about the Bling!

    Didn’t he cover himself with silk & jewels live in a palace and travel in a giant golden chariot?

    Oh wait, I remember now, that’s the Pope and TV Ministers!

    Jesus was the homeless guy who wore simple clothes, walked on foot and fed the poor.

    But be careful what you say, the ‘Christian’ church murdered the Cathars for quoting Jesus that money & power are evil and the resources should go to the poor.

     
  47. Don Williams

    January 4, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    You could feed 20 starving children in Africa with the cost of hosting this web site.

    Or what if the time spent trolling on the internet were spend building houses and digging clean wells for the underprivileged? Imagine how many lives could be saved.

     
  48. Drew

    January 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    It is sad because it is a waste of money and resources. But mostly to me, its an infringement of peoples freedom of religion. I shouldn’t have to look at a GIANT Cross (taller than the Statue of Liberty). To me, its the same as if I built a 200 foot sculpture of me doing “God” in the ass! It would be beautiful to me, but to a christian? Probably not.

    Its way too much effort, and I feel sorry for the people who are stooped out of their time and money, just so they can feel good about themselves after the day is through.

     
  49. ganjatron

    January 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    You know what, Don? To borrow the cross-humpers’ argument: this website costs 1/80,000th of the price of a Super Bowl ad and it brought real meaning to my life today. Not to mention that nobody here is bragging about how many good deeds they have done… I gave a homeless guy my lunch the other day, but did I tell anybody about it? Why the fuck should I?

     
  50. Tetragramm

    January 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I found another picture of something similar. This one’s even worse. http://cache.virtualtourist.com/1134350-Washington_Monument_at_Night-Washington_DC.jpg

     
  51. FPM

    January 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I used to be a homeless rodeo clown but now I am a world class magician !

     
  52. the chaplain

    January 4, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Wow – I’ve got to check my stats and figure out what brought so many people to a 5-month-old post!

    Damon:
    I didn’t go to McDonald’s yesterday, but I did go to Arby’s today. So what? I spent my money that I earned working at my job – not money that I conned from others. Christians frequently brag about how much good they do with the money that others give to them to do good works. They also remind everyone, incessantly, that Jesus commands them to care for the poor, etc. I was simply measuring them by their self-avowed standard. As far as that standard goes, this cross is not one of their better efforts.

    Don:
    Don’t jump to the conclusion that I don’t donate time and/or money to charities just because I’m not a Christian. As for trolling the internet, if you read the post, then you read that I saw this thing on the road. I didn’t just read about it on the Internet and write about it; I wrote about my own experience with the thing.

     
  53. the chaplain

    January 4, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Tetragramm:
    I take it you object to your tax money being used to pay for national monuments? You may have a good point, since you don’t have a choice about paying taxes. At least the people who paid for this cross did so willingly.

     
  54. chris

    January 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Anyone who has seen this in person should report that it has a very sterile lack of artistic … well… ANYTHING. It looks like it’s made from old aluminum siding.

    Not only is it an eyesore, but it’s not like a fine marble sculpture or anything. The chemicals in the surrounding corn fields will probably be around longer …

     
  55. PhillyChief

    January 4, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I gave a homeless guy my lunch the other day, but did I tell anybody about it?

    Uh, you just did. Wow, you’re like, so AWESOME because you waited a few days before showing off your selfless kindness. LOL!

    The cross is an eyesore, but of course that’s subjective. Should the money have been spent actually helping people? Maybe, but it’s their money to spend. Are they assholes for spending it this way instead of in some helpful way for the needy? Maybe, since that’s what allegedly their religion is supposed to be about, but that depends on which brand of Christianity they are. There are the prosperity brands with megachurches with helicopter pads, and of course the Catholics with their gilded Vatican.

     
  56. James

    January 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Since our economy is based on exploiting a continuous stream of starving poor people this cross does represent what America is all about. The Christian message isn’t to make the poor rich, it’s the make the poor shut up and stop complaining, to accept their lot.

     
  57. The de-Convert

    January 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Wow – I’ve got to check my stats and figure out what brought so many people to a 5-month-old post!

    See: http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/7naiq/this_monstrosity_of_a_cross_on_the_side_of_the/
    :)

    Paul

     
  58. Chuck

    January 4, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Modern Christianity sucks, and this monster cross is a proof.

    (not that other religions that I know are any better).

     
  59. Spanish Inquisitor

    January 4, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Does anyone here get the same sense I do, that someone in the particular Christian organization responsible for this is overcompensating for some perceived inadequacy?

    Can you say teeny tiny penis?

     
  60. Jim

    January 4, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    What a monstrosity. If there was a god she would strike this thing down.

     
  61. Doubtful

    January 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    So, how many of you Christians railing about how great the cross is have done anything to help poor people?

    And how many of you atheists (who I tend to side with) have helped poor people in a big way?

    $125,000 will build a well to give water (and with it, water, plants, animals, etc.) to 6000 people. And at least make the crosses pretty, for God’s sake (literally).

     
  62. SoTired

    January 4, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Some of the posters in this thread are the reason I tell people I’m agnostic rather than atheist. I cannot believe how full of hate some of you are. If you don’t like it, just keep walking.

     
  63. Spanish Inquisitor

    January 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Don’t mistake criticism for hatred.

     
  64. Danny in St.L

    January 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I know where this cross is. In fact, I have stood in the exact same spot where this picture was taken. To get to that spot, you had to have exited the interstate and driven a mile or two out of your way to get there, then a mile or two back to the interstate. Think about the money you spent in gas to do that that you could have instead used to transport an unemployed person to a job interview or driven supplies to a shelter. If this big cross offends you, then are you offended by every tall church steeple you pass as well?

    Do I agree with the cross? Not really. Are there more important things in the world to worry about than this cross? You bet! What one person sees as donating to a worthy cause, another scoffs at. Everyone has the right to do whatever they want with the money they earn, just like I have the same right. Just worry about yourself. Just because you think they should have done something else with their money, they might think that you could do something else with your time. I see things every day that I don’t agree with. Big deal. Who cares? I move on. That is life.

     
  65. the chaplain

    January 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Paul:
    Thanks for the original reddit link and the update about its spawn.

    Danny:
    I agree that the Cross-builders have a right to do whatever they want to do with their money. I also have a right to state my opinion about what they’ve done with their money. That’s what I did. No, I’m not offended by every church steeple I see. In fact, I admire the architecture of many old churches. This particular eyesore is not in the same category of aesthetic objects, in my opinion.

    By the way, I didn’t take this picture – it’s a photo from the Cross organization’s web site. So, your rant on what I woulda-coulda-shoulda done with the money you assumed I wasted was, well, wasted. Too bad you wasted some of your own time and energy by commenting on the basis of your wrong assumption.

    I’m amused that my little post bothered you so much that you couldn’t “move on” without dropping your little pearl of wisdom: “just worry about yourself.” Thanks – and right back at ya.

     
  66. seantheblogonaut

    January 4, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    @So tired,

    me thinks you have lived a sheltered life if you think the criticism on this site = hatred.

    Such an ostentatious display of wealth and power runs contrary to some of the better tenets of christianity no?

    Humility? Charity?

     
  67. Danny in St.L

    January 5, 2009 at 12:04 am

    I guess I struck a nerve.

     
  68. Spanish Inquisitor

    January 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    That’s what I like about atheist blogs – they strike nerves.

     
  69. Pauline

    January 6, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Well I think instead of criticizing others we can see what we can do with what we have. How many times instead of giving to the poor have we lavished all the money on entertainment or unnecessary pleasures or bought things just for the sake of our prestige. We do not question such things.

    As Bob has said, the cross might be a source of inspiration and encouragement and for some a life changing thing that affects their eternity. That is something that feeds not just their physical need of food, but does something more; it feeds their soul and changes their entire course of the journey of their life.

    Lets check out our lives and be a ray of hope, a lighted candle in the corner for the suffering around us.

     
  70. PhillyChief

    January 6, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Yes, but can you really know if the atheists are filled with hatred SoTired? Such certainty from an agnostic is comical.

    If you don’t like it, just keep walking.

    You mean like how you kept walking? Oh wait, you didn’t keep walking, did you? No, instead you saw this thread and instead of just passing by, you stopped to take a shot at the atheists, and then had the balls to tell us we should just keep walking. LOL! You, pal, are a laugh riot dripping with ironic goodness.

    Lets check out our lives and be a ray of hope, a lighted candle in the corner for the suffering around us.

    You know if I was destitute, I’d have much more hope in humanity and my future if someone gave me a blanket or a sandwich than erect an ugly monument, but hey, that’s me.

     

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