How Many Crosses Does a Family Need…?

Jim Jeffcoat used to play for the Dallas Cowboys in the era when they won Super Bowls. His son Jackson will play college football next year.

USA Today ran a profile of their family. The article doesn’t mention religion. It just focuses on how the dad is a great role model in the family.

But check out the accompanying picture:

I count at least 17 crosses. And we don’t even see the whole wall!

(Because if they had only 16, they’d be doomed to Hell for all eternity?)

At least I know what to send them for Christmas…

  • Valdyr

    Maybe it’s like those old ladies who collect ceramic cow knicknacks or cat-themed wall clocks. Except spookier, because no matter how horrible a kitschy porcelain heifer might be, it couldn’t be called an instrument of execution. A crucifix has rather… unfortunate implications. I’m reminded of the “If Jesus were executed 20 years ago, all the good little boys and girls would be wearing electric chair pendants” joke.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-8947-LA-Atheism-Examinerhttp:// dfledermaus

    I’d “cross” them off my Christmas list.

    Of course, things are not always what they seem. I have a friend, an atheist, who collects antique saint statuettes as well as crosses. There’s one room in his house that makes one of those eye-blistering, bright psychedelically-painted Mexican religious grotto/shines look demure and colorless in comparison.

  • David D.G.

    I think that you are making too much of this, Hemant. In this case, the display of different sorts of crosses is as much an artistic display as a religious one (for all we know, perhaps even more so).

    I have seen on some people’s walls or shelves various sorts of displays, such as weapons or fantasy creature pewter figurines; my dad, an engineer, even used to have a display of calculating devices on his office wall (an abacus, a slide rule, and a pocket calculator). None of these displays had anything to do with religion. But if religion is important to someone, it makes sense to decorate one’s home in a way that reflects that importance aesthetically.

    ~David D.G.

  • Delphine

    Beauty in the masses. I think it’s beautiful. All the crosses are unique and carefully crafted.

    They’re possibly Christians but I don’t think they’re displaying the crosses only for Christian purposes.

  • Andrew Morgan

    When I look at situations like this, it makes total sense to me, if I pretend that I were Christian.

    If I honestly and really truly believed that a man in the sky sent his son down from heaven to die on a cross and save me from an eternity — ETERNITY!!! — of Hell and that I was going to spend FOREVER in PERFECT HAPPINESS with Him, you better f#$%ing believe I’d have a ton of crosses up on every wall. I’d wear a cross, put crosses on my car, and leave crosses on other people’s cars.

    I have to disagree with Hitchens on this one: if I honestly thought that Christianity was more than a total crock of absolute horse manure, I’d be pretty damn happy about it. Sure, this life would totally suck in every imaginable way, but that’s nothing compared to an eternity of bliss.

    But since I think it’s all a sham, all that’s on my wall is an American flag and a poster of Led Zeppelin. :)

  • http://noadi.blogspot.com Noadi

    It’s kind of pretty and I think it’s safe to say they collect crosses. Whether as a religious thing or just for the aesthetics.

    I can sympathize with a collector, I have a lot of cephalopod related stuff.

  • Microbiologychick

    My mom has a wall just like that. Although the crosses are religiously significant for her, it really is mostly for decoration. Because Christianity is so popular, it is easy to find many different styles of crosses to collect and display.

    If it were possible to go to a store and have 2 or 3 dozen different styles of atheist symbols to choose from, I might have a wall similar to this.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Looks like something a designer thought would make good wall decor. He’s a football player, he’s probably hired somebody to “do” his house for him.

  • Demetrius Of Pharos

    Ok, normally I’d find that many crosses a bit odd, but the consensus here seems to be that its a collection and may not even have the same context we would otherwise associate with it. In the same way one might ask Jay Leno how many cars he needs or an NRA-type how many guns they need, its not about need. Fair enough, I’ll bite:

    Typically, the Christian cross that we are most familiar with is a simple “†” – no more, no less.

    The Nordic cross is a sideways “†” used in many flags – while the mythical origins of the flag involve a god of some sort, its interesting to note that the countries that still use the Nordic cross also tend to be more socialist/no religion bent.

    More stylized crosses such as Gothic or Celtic have become associated with certain sects of Christianity, such as in Ireland or Egypt.

    The Sun cross is a plus sign in a circle that represented the Medicine Wheel of Life.

    There are also several versions of ankhs (I cannot find a text representation) which, to most, would look simply like stylized crosses with handles but in fact pre-date Christianity and were symbols used by the ancient Egyptians to signify life. It was later co-opted by Christians.

    This is a short list, there are many different versions in addition to these. All that said, I see only one possible crucifix (“†” with “Jesus” on it) in the far right corner, and the rest look Gothic or Celtic to me. Thats not to say this family doesn’t think of them as Christian symbols, but its not something we should worry about.

    P.S. I’ve always been fascinated by crosses, in much the same way I am fascinated by cathedral architecture. I very well may end up with a collection someday, but they wouldn’t carry the Christian context for me. A collection is a collection, we should all be able to appreciate art without worrying about deeper meaning.

    P.P.S. As a fan of Metallica, Lars Ulrich (I know, he’s an ass, bear with me) once said that some people take a stack of money and put it in the bank, he takes a stack of money and puts it on the wall (referring to buying paintings). So, let’s appreciate the collection for what it is until proven otherwise.

  • Robert Thille

    If I truly believed in the christian crap, I’d book a flight to Iraq or one of those places I’d likely be killed trying to bring christianity to the heathens, and do my best to be killed while doing what would get me into heaven.

    Since I don’t hear/read about tons of christians doing that, I assume they don’t _really_ believe their own bullshit.

  • Laura Lou

    I’m glad most people here could tell the difference between a fanatical shrine and a classy collection. I admit, I’d be a bit intimidated if I went to a friend’s house and saw that on the wall, but not much more than if it were a collection of Buddha statues.

  • Shane

    One for every sin.

  • David D.G.

    Microbiologychick wrote:

    If it were possible to go to a store and have 2 or 3 dozen different styles of atheist symbols to choose from, I might have a wall similar to this.

    Either that, or you could just leave the wall blank.

    ;^D

    ~David D.G.

  • http://toomanytribbles.blogspot.com/ toomanytribbles

    it’s a common design strategy to group varying versions of one type of thing together — sometimes it’s the subject that’s common, sometimes it’s color…

    i don’t thing it’s exaggerated religiosity.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    When decorating the dining room the Jeffcoat family chose crosses as their theme. The kitchen features Iron Maidens and the study has electric chairs. Every room has a different symbol of torture or execution.

  • benjdm

    Jim Jeffcoat was a great player for the Cowboys – a lot of fun to root for. Especially toward the end of his career, when he just came in on pass plays and was always well rested. He was a monster then.

  • medussa

    I think it’s quite possible that they’re insanely religious christian fanatics, considering the situation in the US right now.
    However, the wall of crosses doesn’t demonstrate that. Like others here, I think it’s perfectly possible that they are collectors of crosses. Even if you don’t believe in an imaginary friend, it’s undeniable that the cross has become a culturally influential icon, making this wall a very educational piece of art.

    Almost as educational and classy as my wall of swords from the movie Lord of the Rings….

  • Santiago

    My grandfather used to collect crosses, at last count his collection had about 100 or so, from tiny things the length of your pinky to huge, man-sized beasts. They were enough to pretty much plaster the walls of a bedroom and one of the walls of the living room. As kids we used to joke my grandfather’s room was pretty much as vampire-proof as you could get.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    It looks like 18 crosses on the wall, since that circular one also appears to be a cross. It’s almost like an 18-eyed (cross-eyed?) wall of Lord Sauron, keeping the pious followers in line. And then there are the 6 obligatory necklace crosses, of course.

    Also, that blob on the right side appears to be the end of a cross arm (the cross’ hand?), so set the count at 19.

    Anyway, Jesus Fucking Christ, that’s a lot of crosses!

  • Amy G

    I just wanted to add to the “it’s harmless” consensus. My mom is Christian, but barely religious these days, and she has a wall of crosses as well. I think it’s just that it’s so easy to find a lot of really pretty, decorative crosses.

  • tetsuo

    Nth person with a non-religious family member with wall of crosses.

    Maybe if the FSM wasn’t so dang ugly…

  • Chakolate

    It’s far less obnoxious and much more beautiful than most Christian displays. The crosses themselves are works of art, and they are presented in a really artful way.

    It’s exactly what I’d want to have on my wall if I had to convince someone that I was Christian without doing any actual praying.

  • http://www.lepub.org Matt

    Everyone seems to be focussing on the numerous crosses rather than the fact that the young guy in the middle at the back seems to have a much larger (salad based) dinner than everyone else.

    What can we read into that? Is he another vegetarian atheist?

  • Jeff Little

    Freaking Vampires will not leave that family alone.

  • http://lyonlegal.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    I wouldn’t mind hanging that display and I’m so not christian. It’s just aesthetically pleasing as a grouping. 1 cross = religious. 20 crosses = interior decorator.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    Errr, Hemant. The dining room at our house up in Illinois had exactly the same kind of decorative crosses on it as in this picture, and probably about as many too. And I’m pretty sure that you didn’t notice it at all when you were there visiting our house church (or maybe you did and were just too polite to mention it). :)

    And yeah, we put them up for decoration, not for religious reasons. It’s hard to know how to fill up a large wall like that.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    [apologies to ye & yers if 5 comments show up from me]

  • http://happyateista.blogspot.com happyateista

    Thats not relly surprising. I’m from Romania and those crosses? Not impressed. At all. Many middle aged women have their houses plastered with religious iconography, usually the Virgin Mary, Jesus and a couple of saints.

    Hell, my mom insists on putting the greatest religious crap on the walls.

    This: http://i33.tinypic.com/235v6u.jpg

    is not an uncommon sight here. Then again, we’re currently struggling to get them religious icons out of schools and kindergarden.

  • Twewi

    It’s clear that he’s in the process of converting his dining room into an arena for battling vampires.

  • Kaylya

    @Matt: That “much larger, salad based dinner” looks to me like a floral centerpiece that obscures the view of his plate :)

  • Spurs Fan

    Yep. Though it is odd that the symbols of execution have becone so common (it feels normal to see a cross), it’s harmless.

    It doesn’t reek of other things that bother me in the homes of Christians such as a huge, very anglo-looking picture of Jesus or a copy of James Dobsons “Bringing Up Boys” (or any Dobson book for that matter).

  • Samantha Joy

    That’s a decorating motif, not a religious statement. I think it’s lovely.

  • http://atheistsandchristians.com Mike aka MonolithTMA

    I seem to recall hearing that Ozzy Osbourne collected crosses at one point. I have a number displayed, sure they were collected when I was still a Christian, but I still find them aesthetically pleasing so I keep them.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    [let's try this one more time...]

    @Mike Clawson,

    “It’s hard to know how to fill up a large wall like that.”
    I have an idea how to go about that.

    [... well, holy fuck, I'm not branded a spammer any longer. :] ]

  • http://nutsandreasonsblogspot.com quedula

    Why do people want to have daily reminders of an instrument of torture and an agonising death?

    Because they have a sickness of the mind called religion.

  • http://jessicasideways.com Jessica Sideways

    All that’s on my wall is an ABBA poster, a few shelves and a Canadian flag. FYI, I’m not Canadian and I live on the American side of the rockies.

  • Louise

    How sad that many of you who commented find it necessary to make fun (with vulgar language also) of people who are Christian. Please think of what you are giving up by not accepting the very thing that could lead to eternal life. If a Christian dies and he is wrong the only thing that might have happened is that he lead hopefully a better life here on earth. When an athesist dies, if, indeed Christianity is true, unfortunately he has lost his hope for eternity with God.

    Praying for you and please don’t make fun of prayer. Thank you.

    Louise


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