Stolen Mojave Cross Replaced

Last week, the Mojave cross at the center of the recent Salazar v. Buono Supreme Court decision was stolen.

Now, someone has put a new cross in its place:

The National Park Service said in a press release Thursday afternoon that the replica cross would be removed.

Late Thursday, Mojave National Preserve spokeswoman Linda Slater told reporters in California that the new cross is illegal and must come down.

Still no information has been found about who placed the replica on the memorial site. “We’re scratching our heads over this,” said Joe Davis, national spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The white, painted replica was made of metal pipes and resembled the 7-foot original that was stolen on May 9 or May 10, but workers soon determined it was a copy, [Mojave National Preserve spokeswoman Linda] Slater said.

“The paint job is new and there are none of the marks of the original cross,” she said.

The latest cross also was 6 inches taller than the original, she said. Four new holes were drilled to replace bolts cut off by thieves who took the original.

What the hell…? Seriously, people.

Can we get a security camera on that site? Would that be so much to ask?

Meanwhile, get rid of the replica. It has no business being there. Not all veterans are Christians and no public property should be used to honor Christians only.

  • Aaron

    Freakin’ bizarre.

  • http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100426/ap_on_re_as/as_taiwan_earthquake_3 DGKnipfer

    The whining will begin in 5… 4… Oh wait, it never actually stopped from the last time, did it?

  • Carlie

    So…. why is the first one legal, but an exact replica illegal? Could it get any more ridiculous? I’m starting to think that was the plan all along, and that the same people both removed the first and replaced it with the second. It makes the contradiction ridiculously obvious when it’s declared fine to have a cross, but illegal to have an exact replica of the cross that replaces the first one.

  • Richard Wade

    I’m getting confused. First it was illegal to have put it up, then it was legal to keep it there, then it was illegal to take it away, but now it’s illegal to have replaced it? So they’re going to take down the illegal replacement of the illegally removed, legally sustained, illegally erected cross. Okay, sounds like typical government work.

    How about a compromise? For only about $30,000 if privately funded, or $200,000 if publicly funded, they could erect a cross with an electric motor that tilts it down out of site for one minute, and then tilts it up in full view for one minute. Up, down, up, down, 24 hours a day.

    The surreal creepiness of it moving by itself has a certain appeal. Tourists would come out to see the “Tilting Cross,” concession stands would appear selling cold drinks and souvenir battery operated miniature tilting crosses, and postcards with three views of the cross up, halfway down, and out of site. Then they could feature t-shirts saying “Tilting Cross, Mojave, California” with a picture of each version: Up for the Christians, down for the atheists or other lovers of the First Amendment, and halfway down for the undecided.

    It’ll be good for the local economy, which is currently non existent, since nobody lives out there in that (ahem) god-forsaken part of the desert.

  • Fett101

    “postcards with three views of the cross up, halfway down, and out of site”

    No way! It would have to be a lenticular postcard.

  • Peregrine

    And when it was up it was up. And when it was down it was down. But when it was only halfway up, it was neither up nor down.

  • Trace

    “For only about $30,000 if privately funded, or $200,000 if publicly funded,”

    hehe.

    Seriously, I think someone should chain themselves to the “replica” cross to stop Ms. Slater from removing it. Maybe, Fr. Jonathan Morris, from Fox, could cover the event?

  • Aaron

    Richard… You are my hero.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Me thinks they should erect a big bust of Justice Scalia at the site as a reminder of the craziness he contributed to. Maybe with a big Star of David around his neck for a little additional humor.

  • Carlie

    And if it turns out that the replica is really the original in disguise, would it be ok to display again?

  • Clyde

    Hickery dickery dock
    The cross ran up the rock
    The clock struck one
    the cross came down
    Hickery dickery dock

  • Robert Gambol

    We’re drowning in information about the ‘Mojave Cross’, but starving for wisdom in this matter. For centuries, a cross has been an accepted symbol placed on veteran’s grave sites around the world.

    Least we forget the huge cost to taxpayers over this particular ‘Cross’. Taxpayers are you and I folks!

    I’m a Vietnam Vet with two combat tours. If I’d been unlucy and had been ‘zaped’ I would expect that a cross be placed on my grave site, if a ground burial had been requested. I’m a Universalist.

    May I suggest a visit to our National Cemeteries and War Memorials when you travel. You might check out the veteran’s grave sites in your local area as well.

    If an opportunity presents itself, pay respects to the family members of the deceased. You may come away with more of an understanding, why a cross is so meaningful for many. Let the ‘Mojave Cross’ remain!

    Bob Gambol, Semper Fi!

  • Carlie

    Bob – thank you for your service.

    However, there has never been a Jewish soldier buried under a cross. They are buried under a Star of David, and always have been (when markers carry religious symbols).

  • Demonhype

    Just because historically there was no consideration for non-Christians, every person deemed valuable to society was invariably assumed Christian, and it was seen acceptable to erect a cross over the grave of a dead man who had no recourse to rebut it (dead or alive, unfortunately, given the high cost of “coming out” even today and especially in our heavily evangelized military today) is not an answer or an argument. The fact that bigotry was blithely accepted in bygone eras is not an excuse for it today. The cross has become the “standard” for soldier’s burial because of that aforementioned bigotry to begin with, and the super-patriotic have come to internalize it as some kind of freely-chosen universal symbol when it is not.

    Seriously, you sound like a lot of misogynistic guys I’ve met, who insist that “because men made all the great discoveries historically, that is evidence that women are not as capable or intelligent as men”, despite the inescapable fact that men were the ones forcibly limiting women to the home and motherhood and nothing else. Historically, the cross has been the marker of soldiers graves because historically Christians have been calling the shots and forcing other points of views into marginalization, if not submission and invisibility.

    I don’t really care if you want to be buried under a cross if you get “zapped”, it being your desire and you being a Christian, but that doesn’t make it an acceptable norm for other soldiers or whatnot who might not want that for themselves. You may freely choose what you want to be buried under, but that big Mojave cross is like taking a big shit on all the freethinkers and non-Christians who have historically been buried under a Christian cross whether they liked it or not. It’s a celebration of historical bigotry against non-Christian soldiers by flaunting an enlarged version of that symbol and claiming all the war-dead essentially for Jesus.

    Well, you’re a military guy and I’m expressly anti-military, but even so, I tend to be of the opinion that if you’re going to honor soldiers, you need to honor all of them in their full diversity and not insult them as the hemogenous mass of Christianity that our ancestors wished was the truth. I see no reason to “respect” bigotry just because it’s historical. When I think of atheists in the military today being screwed over left and right and threatened with fragging and such, this idea that this cross “represents all soldiers” becomes an even bigger joke.

    How about a statue of a soldier or silhouette of a few soldiers (standing bravely or in some kind of action pose), or a flat engraving or embossing of a multi-national array of soldiers, possibly even some historical examples if possible? You could even have a brick walkway or something on the base where you could engrave symbols of all manner of religious (and non-religious) beliefs represented by those soldiers you’re honoring (if you must have religion in there), rather than insult them by assume them all under a single sectarian icon–the icon of the very religion that likely silenced a lot of the unbelievers in that lot of soldiers when they were alive, thus doubling the insult (silenced in life by the Christian majority, then dying in war and being further insulted by being buried and remembered under that very selfsame symbol of your own personal oppression, as if in complete denial that any non-Christian could be seen as valuable.)

    I would say “American Flag”, but I seem to recall that this isn’t just for American war dead, so that wouldn’t work. But engraving the flags of all the countries fighting wars throughout history would probably be even better than the religious angle.

    Fuck, even something like the Vietnam memorial would be better. The whole point, from what I’m hearing, is to initiate some reflection about war and soldiers and the like. Why the heck do you need to fuck that up by putting up a symbol that invariably invokes a particular religious belief and is immediately divisive (endorsing and valuing one religion, as if only Christians have ever been soldiers, implicitly denying the sacrifice of any non-Christians in the mix). Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Unless you’re trying to initiate reflection on the irony that many people who fought died, purportedly for freedom and such, only to have their own beliefs marginalized and denied in markers and memorials. Because that’s what I see when I think of that cross–it’s a symbol of society wiping its collective asses on any soldiers who happened not to be Christian.

    Damn, another wall o’ text. Kudos to anyone reading this far. I guess I get irritated at this subject a lot because I’m an art major and I deal in symbols all the time. And I’m telling you, a cross is much more likely to invoke feelings of “Jesus, God, Christianity” than anything else, and presenting it in this context invariably invokes feelings of “Jesus, God, Christianity, Christian nation, our Founders were Christian, Christians built this country, Christians alone have made all the sacrifices…” It’s the usual thing where Christians try to conflate something seen by society as of-value with their favorite religious beliefs in order to take ownership of the whole thing (especially highly emotionally charged things, like dead soldiers, that might help discourage questioning of the Jesus part of the situation), then backpedal and try to look innocent, making entirely unconvincing assertions that it totally represents everyone. If it represents everyone, then you are taking the liberty to baptise the dead same as the Mormons, which is it’s own barrel of offensiveness. Otherwise, your FOS.

    Same as the whole issue with our Christian-bastardized Pledge and motto. It’s not convincing using just the word “God” and pretending you don’t mean “Jesus” and it’s even less convincing with the Mojave cross, it having even greater sectarian significance.

    Dude, you’re Unitarian. Here’s an atheist’s perspective: You know how often the “Christian nation” lie gets shoved in our faces exactly because of little fast-ones like this, or are asked “how dare you insult all those (presumed Christian) soldiers by being a damned atheist, why not spit on their graves”? A lot, that’s how much. Perhaps you are not one of those Christians, but unfortunately a rather alarming lot of Christians are, and this is nothing but ammunition for the collective wilfull ignorance and jingoistic piety they are so proud to throw at us.

  • Robert Gambol

    Hey Demonhype…You may have a problem with God but I don’t.

    And, you use the ‘f’ word for emphasis when it’s not needed. It says something about your character. Let me offer some advise. Start by cleaning up your language in conversation and on forums you post on. It’s not really ‘cool’ nor are you impressing anyone by using the ‘f’ word in messages. Sure it may be appropriate in some instances. I used many ‘choice’ words when I returned from the war. Wasn’t long before friends began to avoid me. Soon realized that most folks didn’t want to here ‘f’ this and ‘f’ that, or pass the ‘f’ salt, all the time.

    Do yourself a BIG favor and crack open a thesaurus for better choices.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m not a ‘Dude’. I go by Bob. Good luck!

  • grneyedmonster

    I await the lawsuit that will follow the removal of the replacement cross with great anticipation. The briefs will probably look like Richard Wade’s comments, which I found to be delightful.

    On a more serious note, I agree with Demonhype: a more inclusive symbol (or symbols) should be used for a war memorial on public land.

  • Fett101

    Way to completely sidestep all his points, Robert.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    May I suggest a visit to our National Cemeteries and War Memorials when you travel. You might check out the veteran’s grave sites in your local area as well.

    Mr. Gambol: you might visit a Jewish cemetery and an Islamic cemetery, and take notice of the lack of crosses.

    You might also know that veterans buried in military cemeteries have over 30 approved choices of religious grave markers, including Wiccan pentacles and a special marker for atheists.

    Since the alleged point of the Mojave cross was to commemorate the service of all veterans, why would a sectarian religious marker be used in lieu of a patriotic marker such as a flag?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Here it is:
    U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
    Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers

    I count 41 choices, including this:

  • Reginald Selkirk

    So I can preview images, but can’t post them? Oh well, that was the Atomic A for Atheist.
    The Seicho-no-ie symbol is interesting, it incorporates a swastika.

  • jemand

    Hey Robert Gambol…You may have a problem with “fuck” but I don’t.

    And, you support using the Christian symbol for emphasis when it’s not needed. It says something about your character. Let me offer some advice. Start by acknowledging the sacrifices of non Christians in building this nation in conversation and on forums you post on. It’s not really ‘cool’ nor are you impressing anyone by ignoring the contributions of others. I used to be unaware of the activities of non-theists when I had just left fundamentalism. Wasn’t long before I realized that I had been sheltered and missed out on real knowledge. Soon realized that my new accepting friends didn’t appreciate my small-minded perspective all the time.

    Do yourself a BIG favor and actually read and address the points of people responding to you.

    Good luck!

  • Vas

    Oh wow “Bob” so what exactly does the use of the word fuck say about someones’ character… really I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. So someone writes 10 paragraphs of lucid points relating to the discussion at hand and all you have to say about it is you think the word fuck is uncool to use. Nothing to add to the discussion besides that? Pathetic. Here’s a thought… you don’t set the rules for anyone, so go sell pious somewhere else, I have no need for it, your rules for decorum or anything else you are peddling.


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