There Will Be No 11-Story Cross in Brandon, Mississippi; Church Decides Issue is Too Divisive

Last night, supporters of the planned 110-foot cross that was to go up in Brandon, Mississippi, were sorely disappointed by this message that appeared on the Facebook page dedicated to the initiative:

After prayerful consideration, the Pastor, Staff leadership and Deacons of First Baptist Church Brandon have elected to immediately withdraw the churchʼs application for a variance from the City of Brandon Zoning Ordinance to allow construction of a 110 foot cross on church property. The decision to withdraw the variance application and end this controversy is motivated by our churchʼs love for our community and our deep desire to effectively minister in the Name of Jesus to our community. First Baptist Church of Brandon believes that our ability to minister to our community, our Jerusalem, is a priority calling that no amount of controversy or negative exposure should be allowed to damage. This decision is not a reflection upon our belief in the merit of the cross project. We steadfastly believe that the symbol of Godʼs plan of redemption, the symbol of His unmerited favor, the symbol of His sinless substitute for sinful man, should be raised and displayed in as many places as possible.

In the comments, Pastor Scott Thomas refers obliquely to a “family dispute” within the church (he means his own religious tribe, not an actual blood-relations family), which I suppose is good news, as I interpret that to mean that even some local Christians were vocal about opposing the zoning-law defying structure.

Others still don’t get it:

Many supporters juxtaposed the church’s voluntary decision with Brandon’s voters’ recent thumbs-up to liquor sales, arguing that this means the “evildoers” have won.

Most likely, the prospect of litigation had something to do with the revocation of the plan, but I appreciate the fact that the church does not lay the blame for the death of the project at the feet of godless outsiders.

In any case, this is a win for constitutional restraint, and possibly a win for Brandon’s poor and destitute; with any luck, some of the approximately $100,000 that the cross would have cost will go toward helping them, rather than toward erecting a bizarre and prideful giant replica of an ancient torture instrument.

(Thanks to Lorinda for the link)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.


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