Illinois Mayor Angry That a Cross on Public Property Will Be Taken Down

This is unbelievable.

Mayor Patrick Kitching of Alsip, Illinois intended to have a 19-foot-high cross erected on the village water tower. Why? Because Alsip loves Jesus (and hates Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and everyone else who lives in their village, I suppose). They’ve been doing this for 35 years so the mayor thinks the law doesn’t apply to them because, you know, “tradition.”

The Alsip water tower (Brett Roseman – Sun-Times Media)

Last year, after receiving a tip from a local resident, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent Kitching a letter (PDF) urging him to take down the cross. It was illegal, sending a signal to citizens that the government promoted Christianity:

It is our information and understanding that a cross sits on top of the Village of Alsip water tower… We also understand that this cross is illuminated at night, making the display noticeable to all passersby including travelers on I-294. We are told that the cross is erected each year and is lit during the weeks leading up to Christmas. From satellite images, it appears that the cross is stored year round on top of the water tower.

Kitching received the letter but just ignored it.

You know how I know that? Because he $%&#ing admitted it:

“They tried to get me to take it down last year and I just ignored them,” Kitching said.

Mayor Patrick Kitching

This year, FFRF sent him another letter. It must have been much more direct about a potential lawsuit because Kitching capitulated quickly (PDF):

A tradition for almost 35 years here in the Village of Alsip is coming to an end.
You will notice this year our holiday decoration on the West Water Tower (Holiday Cross) will not be erected nor lit. We have an organization out of Wisconsin, Freedom from Religion Foundation, who is threatening a lawsuit for having a holiday symbol that can be construed as a religious decoration. It is considered to be unconstitutional. Other municipalities have been brought to suit regarding this very same issue and have lost. We have chosen not to waste taxpayer dollars to fight a losing battle in court. The holiday cross will be replaced with a different holiday decoration in the future, however, I am not sure this process can be completed in time for Christmas of 2012.

I am very saddened by this and had hoped we would not have to change tradition, however in these economic times, the Village cannot afford to waste any tax dollars on a lawsuit that simply cannot be won.

Did you catch that last part? Kitching is basically saying, “I know this is an illegal promotion of Christianity, but I was hoping no one would notice. If we get sued by FFRF, we’re going to lose and taxpayer money will be wasted, so I’ll stop stepping all over the Constitution.”

You don’t get credit for doing the right thing after you were forced to do it under threat of a lawsuit.

Also, notice how he uses the same arguments Christians always use in these instances:

It’s “tradition.” (As if doing the wrong thing for a long time makes it right.)

Nobody has ever complained about it.” (As if the minority’s silence means they are ok with everything the majority does.)

Local Christians don’t seem to get it, either:

Derrick Hughes, a village resident and a trustee at Christ United Methodist Church of Alsip, said the mayor “should ignore the anti-religion group.”

“This is kind of silly. I could understand this if it was derogatory like a swastika or a burning cross,” said Hughes, 64, who served in the Air Force.

“This ticks me off. This is about taking more of our freedoms away. What happened to freedom of speech? My goodness,” he said.

As anyone who’s not a Christian can tell you, the cross is just a nice Christian way of telling you you’re going to burn in hell for all eternity. There’s nothing joyous or welcoming about it if you reject the whole Christian mythology in the first place.

And no one’s taking away Christians’ freedom of speech. If Hughes wants to put a cross on his church’s lawn, no one’s going to complain about it. Ditto if he puts it in his front yard.

Much like Pat Robertson did recently, Kitching thought he would also throw in a little joke about how evil FFRF was… because they called him out on breaking the law:

The village plans to replace the cross with a lighted holiday tree on the water tower, Kitching said.

To avoid any potential problems, it will not be called a Christmas tree, he said.

“I thought about putting up a 30-foot Grinch, but I couldn’t find one,” Kitching said.

Much like Pat Robertson, Kitching is being an asshole.

FFRF isn’t trying to ruin Christmas. They’re trying to defend the Constitution. The question we should be asking is why Kitching isn’t eager to do the same thing.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Sindigo

    And he can give the money for creating a new holiday decoration to a local business owner. Sounds like a win/win scenario to me.

  • Xeon2000

    Huh… I remember How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and it didn’t have anything to do with crosses, Christianity, or religion. I don’t think the mayor can borrow the grinch concept in this case.

  • Cincinatheist

    I love how his capitulation statement called it a ‘holiday cross’ no less than three times. As if calling it that all of a sudden magically makes it a nonsectarian cross. 

    So on one hand, these folks say they should be able to put up their crosses and creches because they are traditional and not religious. But on the other hand, when they are forced to take them down, they claim that their freedom of religion is being assailed and we are taking the Christ out of Christmas. So which is it folks? 

    Although I guess I’m not actually surprised, because if circular logic were a problem for them, they probably wouldn’t be religious to begin with.

  • WoodyTanaka

    The only shame in this article (and seeing these pea brains all outraged is quite fun) is that it is unlikely that the citizens of this town (if history is any guide) will not toss this admitted lawbreaker out of office.

  • MM

    Why not offer the town a compromise…rotate religious symbols every month.  All religions get a chance to show off!  I mean, there’s nothing derogatory about that, right?!   But I think such a compromise would somehow violate Christians’ freedom of speech, which to them means their freedom to speak and for everyone else to shut up and listen.

  • Carmelita Spats

    So if a cross is allowed, can Catholics put up bleeding statues of Christ or a giant crucifix? The cross without the little fella writhing in pain is a Protestant bias. Here is a great suggestion to counter Protestant bias…

  • GwydionFrost

    I’ve got a suggestion for a new tradition (no, not violating the law flagrantly, as was the old custom). The “Holiday (should we ignore the obvious origin of the word: Holy Day?) Tree” should instead be a mandatory rotation of religious symbols and philosophical beliefs– and here’s the mandatory part– you can’t do the same religion or symbol twice (as that would be showing a favoritism or endorsement of one religion or belief system over another). So, Christians, you can enjoy your cross this year, and never see it displayed again, or… you can wait, and pull it out at some future point.

    This concept would supply local craftsmen with funding for years to come.

  • Rwlawoffice

    So you equate being a Christian with automatically hating Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists? That says alot about your bias and intolerance.

  • anuran

    Law and taxpayers money are often the two things politicians ignore. I am glad Honorable Mr. Mayor is cognizant of the fact that it is illegal for the government to support a religion and that it is not good to waste the taxpayer’s money (which he anyway did by erecting and lighting the cross). 

  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    I’m trying to promote a new meme or a shift in terminology where we refer to such displays as being on *Government* property, rather than *public* property.

    Terminology is very important. (e.g., I would not call myself pro-abortion, but I am definitely pro-Choice).

    The term “public” is too vague. It lets christians falsely argue that they are not being allowed to express their faith “in public”.

    In reality, believers can “publicly” display their crosses in the front of their homes, businesses, churches, etc. (“publicly” here meaning in a place where all can see it). But they should not expect the GOVERNMENT to spend its resources to promote/display the icons of specific religions.

  • Octoberfurst

     I know I shouldn’t feed the troll but what the hell. No, we are saying that it is wrong and intolerant for the government to use tax-payer dollars to promote one brand of religion.  It’s unConstituational.   I don’t know why you Christians seem to think you have the right to use our tax dollars to shove your religion down our throats.  Oh and one more thing, the Bible does teach that all non-Christians—Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, etc—will all burn in Hell. If that is not hate I don’t know what is.

  • The Godless Monster

    I agree that the statement you mention is poorly phrased. Love of Christianity does not automatically translate into hatred of other faiths (or even atheism). As to whether Hemant is intolerant and biased, I’ve seen nothing to indicate intolerance in any of his prior posts going back many years. If he’s biased, it’s a bias towards reason.

  • 7Footpiper

    I’d noticed that as well.  Constantly referring to  it as a Holiday Cross when most of the time the religiots are railing against anyone using “Holiday” at this time of year.

  • Sindigo

    That’s what I came here to say. A crescent moon during Ramadan, A star of David during Shabbat, A bowl of pasta on on international talk  like a pirate day. Everyone’s a winner.

  • Reginald Selkirk

     This is unbelievable.

    It is not unbelievable. It’s not even all that unusual.

  • TCC

    You might want to check your reading comprehension; no such thing was done. Hemant wasn’t saying that Kitching being a Christian meant that he hated those other groups but that his insistence on putting up the cross meant such. If that’s a bit hyperbolic for you, it at least shows a great amount of disrespect and disregard for those groups, for whom the cross often represents Christian hegemony.
    You can stop clutching your pearls now.

  • Peter

    “Holiday Cross”? You’ve got to be effing kidding me.

  • amycas

     I’ll start doing this.

  • Ubi Dubium

    AND – he could auction off the existing cross to the local churches, to raise the money to pay for the new decoration.  And a local church then gets to display the cross, so they should be happy too.  Wins all around.

  • C Peterson

    So you equate being a Christian with automatically hating Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists?

    You need to recognize snarkiness when you see it.

    That said, if you were a Jew, Muslim, or Hindu in this town I don’t think a giant cross erected by the local government is exactly going to make you feel loved.

  • Rwlawoffice

     ” Why? Because Alsip loves Jesus (and hates Jews, Muslims, Hindus,
    atheists, and everyone else who lives in their village, I suppose).”

    My reading comprehension is just fine.

    So where in the article does Kitching say that despite many complaints from Jewish people, Muslims, Hindus and atheists that said screw them we are doing putting the cross up anyway?  Actually, he stated that at no time did anyone complain. So how do you reach implicit hatred from doing something for thirty years with no complaints? 

  • C Peterson

    Good point. I find myself occasionally caught up in semantic confusion when discussing these kinds of issues due to the ambiguity of “public”. I think I prefer “publicly owned” to “government”, however.

  • The Godless Monster

    Many (if not most) Christians don’t even read their bible and many do not believe that all non-Christians are going to hell.  My point is that Christians as a whole are not as bigoted as their religious text(s) would indicate.

  • Sindigo

    It’s much like the “Holiday guillotines” that they put up all over France on Bastille day. Except they don’t.

  • Xuuths

    Rwlawoffice, no, your reading comprehension is lousy.

    Just above the photo of the mayor is this bolded quote:

    “They tried to get me to take it down last year and I just ignored them,” Kitching said.

    So, clearly people HAD complained and were ignored.  He only admitted to the complaints from one year.  We don’t know how long people had complained and been ignored by mayors.

  • Willy Occam

    “Tradition is the illusion of permanence.” — Woody Allen, Deconstructing Harry

  • The Godless Monster

    “As anyone who’s not a Christian can tell you, the cross is just a nice
    Christian way of telling you you’re going to burn in hell for all

    That’s not what it tells me. All I see if an individual or a group of people that are proud of belonging to a group that believe in something silly and want to impress others with how devout they are. It’s also a way of scoring brownie points with their invisible sky daddy. I don’t view a Christian cross or a crucifix in the same way that I’d view a Hakenkreuz or a burning cross on my front lawn. It should be fought because it is unconstitional and therefore against the law. Attributing sinister motives to the dumbasses who do this kind of thing just throws gasoline on the fire and even worse, confuses or obscures the real issue.

  • The Godless Monster

     Excuse all of the typos…been up since 0330 am with a screaming baby. :-)

  • Rwlawoffice

    Why are atheists so sensitive that they automatically think that people hate them? Hindus belief in reincarnation and that when I die I will come back reincarnated into something else.  Because they don’t think i will go to heaven, I don’t think that all Hindus hate me.

     You understand Christianity better than that and you should know what hate means. Christians do believe that if you don’t accept Jesus as your savior you will spend eternity in Hell.  We also have a commission and the love for mankind not to see that happen to people so we spread the gospel.  We don’t want to see people go to hell, so how is it that we hate them just because we believe that that is the outcome that we strive to have them avoid? 

  • C Peterson

    It’s irrelevant what people think. This isn’t an issue of feelings, but of the Constitutional separation of state and church. A government endorsement of any religion is illegal, and it doesn’t matter how many people feel warm and fuzzy or how many feel hated, because that’s not what this is about.

    You can believe that Christianity is wonderful, and I can feel it is one of the greatest forces of evil on Earth… and none of that matters when it comes to making sure no town sticks a bloody cross up on public land.

  • Rwlawoffice

      I was commenting on Hemnat’s statement, not the mayor’s. Maybe you should reread my post.  But if you want to go there,  I love how you just ignore what he said to make your point.

    Mayor Patrick Kitching says he is shocked that anyone would be offended by the use of the cross and that he’s never heard anyone take offense to it appearing on the tower.

    “Nobody has ever complained about it. They’ve never even commented on it,” he said.

    The year before the FFRF sent a letter without naming anyone who complained just that they had an anonymous complaint.  You coorelate that into there must have been many complaints that the Mayor knew about and ignored because he hates people.  Wow.

  • Cecelia Baines

    I’m pro-abortion. There are quite a few folks out there that should be aborted. Fuck it, I am all for ‘em.

  • The Godless Monster


    “It’s irrelevant what people think. This isn’t an issue of feelings, but of the Constitutional separation of state and church.”

    Agreed, and I’m sure you will agree that Rwlawoffice didn’t start this discussion of Christian hate of other religions. Fair is fair.

  • Rwlawoffice

     Thank you.

  • C Peterson

    Retroactive abortions? You know… it’s never too late for some people.

  • C Peterson

    I didn’t suggest he did. I was only pointing out that this side issue is irrelevant to the matter. Even if he’s correct that Hemant is biased (and I’m sure he is, but not in any extreme way), that’s Hemant’s right. The reasons for him being opposed to this “holiday cross” don’t matter.

  • GDad

    “[I]n these economic times, the Village cannot afford to waste any tax dollars on a lawsuit that simply cannot be won.”

    Would he be willing to waste tax dollars on an unwinnable lawsuit if economic conditions were better?

  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

     Thanks. I think that “publicly owned” runs a little into the same problem, whereas “GOVERNMENT” (especially with the obnoxious all caps that believers seem to like!).

    I thought about calling it taxpayer-owned property, but then it just starts the back-and-forth of “well, we christians are taxpayers, so we should be able to use our property” and us saying “well, we atheists are taxpayers too…”.

    But from a strategic/debate perspective, calling it GOVERNMENT property lets us make the points that:

    1) the government should not be spending resources (space, lighting, maintenance, construction, etc) on religions.
    2) the government has too many other costs that need attention.
    3) the government is bound by the Constitution
    4) the government must be NEUTRAL on religion, not favoring one religion over another and not favoring religion over non-religion.
    5) it is not only unconstitutional but also impractical for the government to decide which religion(s) to display (FSM, Protestant vs. Catholics versions of the 10-Commandments, etc)
    6) why would a believer want big GOVERNMENT getting involved in telling believers which versions of which religions are worthy of display/honor, and telling citizens which religions to believe in?

    See what happens?

    By staying “on-message” that this is GOVERNMENT property it shifts the debate to the role of government in religion, and stays away from the distorted idea that christians being suppressed (not that many of them won’t try to swing it back to that!).

  • The Godless Monster

     All true and I agree. I’d feel a little better if all of us held ourselves to the same standards we hold theists to. If the situation had been reversed, we’d have all piled on like a pack of ravenous dogs.
    The price of being human, I suppose.

  • Helanna

    Well, he did mention swastikas. Let’s put up a holiday swastika! 

    Oh, what’s that? I can’t just pretend that a swastika has no significance in the Western world just because I stuck the word ‘holiday’ in front of it? Oh, and swastika only has a few decades of significance, whereas a cross has thousands of years? 

    Strange, that. 

  • C Peterson

    The important thing, of course, is to be clear that “publicly owned” isn’t the same thing as “public”.

    The reason I prefer to keep “government” out of it is that too many people see the government as “them” rather than “us”. My preference for keeping “public” in the terminology in some way (qualified if necessary) is simply that it emphasizes the latter. It is “we the public” who are defending our rights, rather than “them” imposing some sort of rules on us.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Boy, he doesn’t know tradition from something they started doing yesterday. My grandmother used to live in a house built in 1500s. 35 year traditions are meaningless. Besides, it was tradition among Christians in Europe to descend on Jewish settlements  and burn them to the ground. They really enjoyed that sort of thing(the Christians, not the Jews), but they still stopped, despite doing that for nearly 2,000 years. So what’s a paltry 35 years compared to that?

  • koseighty

    In every one of these articles the people talk about how it’s “always been there” and that it’s “tradition.”  And it always comes out that “always” is about 30 to 35 years.

    Kind of like marriage has “always” been between one man and one woman.

  • Ryan C Woods

    I just wish we could do something about this cross  alas from what I know it is privately funded. I wonder if there  is some eyesore law reason to get rid of it…

  • dsly

    “The year before the FFRF sent a letter without naming anyone who
    complained just that they had an anonymous complaint.  You coorelate
    that into there must have been many complaints..”

    they had an anonymous complaint.

    there must have been many complaints

    What part of this are you missing here?  Just because nobody said “I AM JOE STEVENS AND I DONT LIKE THE CROSS” then there were no complaints?

  • dsly

     Definitely that was just snarkiness, and the only reason to not interpret it that way is if you are deliberately trying to discredit.

  • The Other Weirdo

     As a Jew myself who has been on the receiving end of Christian love, I am a little uncomfortable by his use of that phrase, but I do recognize exaggeration-for-conversational-effect.

    That said, individually I don’t automatically assume that every Christian I meet is a raging anti-Semite.  It’s when they start talking about apocalyptic ideas that I start to worry. Or, you know, lean forward conspiratorially and whisper to me during a corporate meeting, “Do you know why they treat us so badly? It’s because the President’s wife is Jewish.” Or sidle up to a 7 year-old me on a bus and go on an anti-Semitic rant and then lean toward me and whisper, “But you are such a nice boy, you’re not Jewish, are you?”

  • Casey Anderson

    Keep up the good work FFRF!

  • Rwlawoffice

     I’m not missing anything.  The Mayor claimed that no one had complained before. Evidently he did not take a letter from the FFRF as a complaint from a local citizen.

    Don’t try and turn that into a claim that he was ignoring many complaints from local citizens that he ignored because he hated them.

  • SeekerLancer

    I wonder why Christmas and not Easter. The cross is a weird symbol for Christmas celebrations.

  • Michaelbrice

    ‘Holiday Swastika’….love it.

  • Glenna Jones-Kachtik

    Beg to differ…there are quite a number of Christian Religions who while they may believe in the divinity of Jesus are clearly NOT committed to believing one must publicly avow that  they are sinners & only saved through the grace of Jesus.  These also don’t feel the need to cram their religion down people’s throats by telling them that they are sinners nor knocking on doors or witnessing to them.  Some Christian religions never even dwell on Revelations but do concentrate on good actions & living a good life.  Still others may not even believe that Jesus was divine & don’t need for him to be so in order to base their actions on his life.
    Sorry, you don’t get to yell at me for saying Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings.  I don’t need you to give me pencils or see your bumper stickers that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, either.  You guys want to put your crosses on public property, you want to be able to pray, hang religious banners & rewrite History & the rest of us should just let you do it.  When we complain,  right away you cry about how your religious freedom is being usurped & your freedoms are being taken away.  You don’t mind taking them away from anyone else tho.
    This cross should not be up on a water tower.  It is fine on a church or on private property but not on Public Property & certainly not a water tower.  If you were going to rotate religious symbols that would be one thing but you weren’t.
    Every year, I have a creche in my home.  It is a tradition with me that goes back to my childhood.  I would never dream of putting one up at City Hall or in front of the County Courthouse…

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Would not a 19-foot-high cross erected on the village water tower being one giant lightning rod? Now only there could be a early winter lightning storm. Would love to see the response to the cross being struck by lightning. 

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    For your first point you do realize that there is a difference between believing that everyone will come back onto the earth in one way or another and believing and preaching that everyone who doesn’t follow a man who may or may not have existed is going to be in a place of torment for all eternity, right?

    I think history shows that Christianity in general has a clear hatred for other religions, but then again it’s hard to show love when you claim that other people are worshiping demons and/or false gods. 

     We don’t want to see people go to hell, so how is it that we hate them just because we believe that that is the outcome that we strive to have them avoid?

    Hate the sin not the sinner, yeah, heard that one many times before. 


    The thing about traditions is……some of them really suck and NEED to be gotten rid of.  How easily we forget that Jim Crow laws, universities that arbitrarily banned women and minorities, and denying women the vote were traditions too.

  • Joe

    have you considered the possibility that this mayor chose this year to act all butt-hurt about this, b/c it’s a part of the Republican/Conservative Xian response to Obama winning another term and also as part of the Republican “War on Xmas” sad little meme?

    he ignored it last year b/c he would have gotten less political mileage out of it. 

  • MBear

     There’s a problem with your thinking: you expect christians to posses logic skills & an interest in doing right by the community rather than their own selfish wants.

  • MBear

     slavery was a tradition too. Perhaps since it’s biblically supported, the residents of this fine christian installation should adopt it.

  • Baal (resident killjoy)

     Violence and glib use of the word ‘abortion’ isn’t amusing.

  • Baal

     I like the rotating symbols idea.  We could say rotate the cross to have it be upside down and then put red lights on it.   I’m sure that’d go over well ;p.

  • Christophla

     The Nazi’s were hardcore Catholics…

  • kenneth

    All of the Christian Right starts beating the “War on Christmas” drum right about two days before Thanksgiving. You can set your watch to it. 

  • kenneth

    More than that, Christmas is a weird holiday which is timed to Solstice and which has nothing to do with even reasonable speculation on the dates of the Nativity. 

  • Ninibean

    What confuses me is that a cross is a symbol for Easter and has no thing to do with Christmas.  At least that was the case back when i was Catholic.

  • Deven Kale

     Rebirth of the sun = birth of Jesus. Duh.

  • kenneth

    There is a definite aspect of aggression in the public display of crosses crowd. It’s not on the same level as the Klan burning a cross in your yard. That was linked to a real and imminent threat of violence. On a more basic level though, the message is the same: “We own this place. Never forget it.” 

  • Coyotenose

     Which is what he’s attempting. Rw is a lawyer of one of the lousier breeds, and has a considerable history here of twisting words, playing semantics games, and being deliberately tone-deaf. He isn’t even consistent; he switches tactics according to what he thinks will “win” at any given moment, oblivious to the fact that he is speaking to skeptics who have practice dissecting his kind of garbage and time to read it over, not laymen witnesses easily led into verbal traps on the stand.

    It really doesn’t speak much of his depth of thought that he keeps trying even after having this explained to him.

  • SeniorSkeptik

     Great idea to have a cross  with red lights. Let’s also put a frame around the cross so that it looks like a window (with red lights).

  • C Peterson

    To you perhaps. But humor is largely based on somebody or something suffering some sort of injury, and most people appreciate humor even if it’s a little dark.

    Maybe you’d be less of a killjoy if you lightened up a little.

  • Djt1962

    thank you! one step at a time as it goes for those who just want the constitution to be upheld and those who hold what they believe as religious right to be educated.

  • Keulan

    Whenever I hear people saying that their local/state/federal government should keep doing unconstitutional things (like crosses on public property) because of “tradition,” I always think of this.

  • Kris

    “The swastika only has a few decades of significance.” Are you kidding me? :D You’re clearly not educated on this subject. The first swatika to be found was about as early as 10,000 BC. It didn’t have the same meaning ofcourse. Look it up, next time you’ll think 2x before you post nonsense.

  • AN

    F*ck no! Church and state should be separated, why is it so hard to understand!?

  • christian

    I’m sorry, but I’m from Alsip, and we don’t hate Jews, atheists or anybody for that matter (at least the people  that I know don’t). And I’m 21 years old, so I’m for all diversity in our neighborhood especially since I’m Hispanic.  I know generalizing helps your article, and helps prove your point, but it hurts to hear you just call my hometown that I grew up in seem like a bible loving but human hating community. So far I spent 21 years of life, a lot of great memories and met a lot of kind hard working people. I thank you for making me realizing/appreciating that, but from 1 article or instance, it makes me sad that you write off the town that determined my upbringings and education so easily.

  • Sandy Kokch

    I find it hilarious that yet another pig ignorant US Krystyhun yet again throws Godwin to the wind and brings up the Swastika.

    In the Buddhist and Hindu religions the swastika was, is and always will be a symbol of progress and peace.  Yes, its reversed form was abused by the Nazi party, but its proper form is still used all over the world by two major world religions as a symbol of peace and positive progress.

    Yet that cross that the Krystyhun so loves has only one interpretation = a symbol of death and torture. Sado-masochistic snuff porn for the faithful.

    Another example of US Krystyhun doublethink.

  • Rwlawoffice

    I recognize snarkiness, but why does that make it okay ? Hiding intolerance behind an attempt at humor is still intolerance. Happens all the time here

    That being said, I cannot understand the automatic connection you make that the existence of a Christian symbol means that someone who doesn’t believe that way would feel unloved. Do you feel unloved when you see the Star of David, or Buddha ?

    Is the only way I can show love for another to believe the same way he believes? Is it to hide my beliefs because we not believe the same? Flip that around and see how it works.

    Understand, I am not commenting on the constitutionality of this cross on a water tower. I am commenting on the constant argument that to atheists, the mere sight or expression of Christianity is viewed as a lack of love or worse, like Hemant’s snarky comment, hate. It’s irrational and yet it comes from fols who claim to bad life on reason. It’s a smoke screen to interject emotions. Yet it is coming fom the same people ho say Chrstians have no right not to be fended whn the govt. pats an artist to put Christ in a jar of urine.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Could you name for me some of these Christian religions that say you not have to believe in Christ as your savior to be saved?

  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Actually, I totally agree that the word “government” conjures up some negative reactions in many people. Actually that is *exactly* why I prefer using it in this context.

    Religious folks love the idea of being able to see their religion shared “in public”, but would be much more skittish about it if we keep framing it as the idea that “big government” has some authority over how their religion is displayed, or which version of which religion is given preference by “big government”, or the government is telling them which religions worship and how. 

    As far as being clear about “publicly owned” property as distinct from just saying “public”, I think that once we have to specify qualifiers and nuance we will lose many many people who just do not have the time, effort, thinking skills or interests in sorting out nuances.

    Anyway, I am a fan of your comments throughout Hemant’s blog…. often I don’t feel a need to post any comment since you usually get there first… so thanks for saving me the typing! 

    On this word preference, we can agree to disagree. (If this was the extent of the free-thought in-fighting we would all be much further along than we are now!)

    Happy Thanksgiving. 

  • C Peterson

    Of course, the irony is, while the sort of anti-government folks we are talking about complain mightily about government “interference”, they are also the first in line to cheer when that same government puts up a Ten Commandments monument or stamps “In God We Trust” on our currency.

    That sort of dissonance makes any rational response a bit challenging, doesn’t it? There’s probably no choice of words that’s going to make a lot of difference. Nevertheless, it’s always wise to be as clear as possible in our language, and whichever words we prefer in this case, we are accomplishing that.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, as well.

  • C Peterson

    I recognize snarkiness, but why does that make it okay ? Hiding intolerance behind an attempt at humor is still intolerance.

    You assume intolerance. I don’t see it. All I see is a snarky comment intended to emphasize the irony behind a supposedly tolerant mayor who nevertheless restricts his display to one belief system only.

    That being said, I cannot understand the automatic connection you make that the existence of a Christian symbol means that someone who doesn’t believe that way would feel unloved. Do you feel unloved when you see the Star of David, or Buddha ?

    “Unloved” typically carries a stronger meaning than simply not feeling love, which was how I put it.

    I do not feel any love being extended towards me when I see a religious symbol that is not my own (and I don’t have any!) When I see any religious symbol displayed by my government, it feels to me like a slap in the face. When displayed privately, it evokes no emotion at all.

  • allein

    It’s not the existence, it’s the placement on public property by the government. I know you know this.

  • Ubi Dubium

    I said he “could”.  I didn’t say that I expected him to do that!