Friday, January 14, 2011

Road Side Cross Removal

This spring I was driving home from an atheist meeting and I was thinking about some roadside crosses I had seen. I wondered how can we have all these atheists around town and no one removing roadside crosses? Someone should be an activist and set an example. I found my niche. This year I removed four crosses from the side of I-75 and one on a side street, all in broad daylight. They had all been there for years. What I did was not illegal, but you might ask, is that the same as the Grinch trying to steal Christmas? Recall the moral of that cartoon story, the décor was removed, but not the memory.

Of all the ways that a lost loved one can be memorialized, why does a cross need to be stuck in the faces of the captive audience that is passing traffic? There are churches and cemeteries all over the place, if I want to see crosses I know where to go! If I were a believer then I would not place a cross where it can be splashed and muddied, but rather at the cemetery or the church or at home. Perhaps the memorial could be something that can be placed on the mantel and shared and circulated amongst friends and family of the crash victim.

To me, a roadside cross is morally equivalent to a cross or a crèche on the courthouse yard. Would I, in principle, personally remove a crèche from the courthouse yard? Yes, I would move it to the nearest church and leave a note on it, “If you move this back to the courthouse I will take it away for good.” A roadside cross is morally equivalent to someone standing there holding a cross waving it at traffic and shouting, “Don’t forget Jesus!” It reminds me of the two-panel cartoon where the Christian is hitting the Atheist on the head with a cross, so the Atheist grabs the cross away and then the Christian cries, “religious intolerance!”

Another thing that bothers me about the cross, it is uncomfortably similar to the swastika in both form and message. Imagine that I am driving I-75 and there on the roadside is a guy erecting a big swastika for all to see, I pull over and ask why. Because his good friend, a fellow nazi, died there in a car crash. He explains to me that the swastika is the revered symbol of his particular sect and because it has to do with religion at all then I should respect it and let it stand on public property. Now maybe he’s fibbing and there was no such crash, but he just wants to stick that thing in the faces of passers by.

The crosses too, maybe no one died there, maybe someone placed them there just to put a cross in the faces of passers by. What am I supposed to do, lots of research, did any one really die there, or maybe in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, or at the hospital itself?  I am not going to check all this out, I do not grind it that fine; it is wrong either way.

Removing roadside crosses, is that going too far? No. I do not go around erecting upside down crosses on roadsides, now that would be going too far. Out of whatever respect or courtesy because I know they would immediately offend many passers by, and they would soon be removed anyway. So the same applies to right side up crosses. Going too far would be to go around stealing those Madonna statues in Catholic yards. Those are on private property and do not offend me much, it would be pointless to remove them, a battle poorly chosen.

It is going too far to use my tax money to promote religion and its pedophiles with faith based funding…

It is going too far to use my tax money to glorify religion with religious graffiti on the currency, and to wage illegal, immoral and unnecessary wars…

It is going too far to taunt unbelievers with roadside crosses on public property to be seen every time we travel the roads…

I removed the crosses not only for myself but for all unbelievers who do not want to look at another damned cross!

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