A resolution to the matter described below was announced yesterday. In order to preserve the religious memorial without violating the separation of church and state, the Park Service has agree to give the land it sits on to two private citizens who take care of the monument. Problem solved?
The Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether a cross erected 75 years ago as a memorial to war veterans violates the constitutional separation between church and state. The cross sits on the Mojave National Preserve and, therefore, is on public land. After lower court rulings, the cross was covered in plywood.
In deliberations, Justice Scalia tried to argue that the cross is a neutral and universal symbol. He said:
It’s erected as a war memorial. I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead… What would you have them erect?… Some conglomerate of a cross, a Star of David, and you know, a Muslim half moon and star?
Faced with an argument that the cross is distinctly Christian, he said:
I don’t think you can leap from that to the conclusion that the only war dead that that cross honors are the Christian war dead. I think that’s an outrageous conclusion.
Scalia’s comments reveal a common phenonemon that we’ve discussed in terms of race and gender, but not yet religion. As Jay Livingston pointed out at MontClair SocioBlog, one can only think of Christian symbols as non-specific if one thinks of Christianity as somehow normal, neutral, and for everyone. In the U.S., because Christianity is the dominant religion, many people simply see it as default. You’re Christian unless you’re something else. Something else that marks you as different and specific, Christianity does not.
This is one way that dominance works. It makes itself invisible.
UPDATE! Dmitriy T.M. pointed out that Steven Colbert addressed this issue on The Colbert Report back in 2009:
See our other posts on how whiteness and maleness are the characteristics we attribute to “person,” unless there are reasons to do otherwise, here, here, here, and here.Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Craig — October 14, 2009
Justice Scalia is well-known as one of the great examples of obtuseness in the history of the Supreme Court. I was particularly struck by his inability to even _conceive_ of a war memorial in the shape of anything other than a cross.
Perhaps he should get out of the office more. His courtroom is a pleasant walk or a short cab ride from the National World War II Memorial, the District of Columbia World War I Memorial, the U.S. Navy Memorial, the U.S. Air Force Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, African-American Civil War Memorial, Marine Corps War Memorial--and probably any number of other commerative sites--none of which are built in the shape of a giant cross. Even the Tomb of the Unknowns downplays religious words and imagery, for reasons that are obvious to most people but presumably baffling to Antonin Scalia.
This is an important case. If the Court fails to call _this_ a violation of the Establishment clause, it's unclear that they would stop anything short of a bill that actually created the Church of the United States.
Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist — October 14, 2009
Right. and I suppose having "white skin" makes one neutral, too, right?
the Cross is NOT neutral or universal for many of us non-Christians, Mr. Scalia.
sar — October 14, 2009
The cross was not erected by the government. I think it would be misguided to make them take down a war memorial that private citizens put up to commemorate the dead. The issue is not whether Christianity is somehow "neutral," the issue is whether this action is imposing religion on anyone, which it is not. It is is a public affirmation of one's religious beliefs, and people should be allowed to publicly share their religious beliefs.
Christians are not an "oppressed" people in the way that many of us think of that term. However, all forms of religion and spirituality are suppressed in this country - often for good reason, but with the effect that it becomes difficult to express oneself spiritual/religiously in a way that is healing for many people. If Christians want to put up a memorial to ritually commemorate the dead, more power to them. If another religion wants to do the same, or to hold a ritual in a public space, I say the same thing.
pmsrhino — October 14, 2009
Oh man. And then come the arguments about how Christianity isn't a religion. I don't know if that is a new argument or not but it seems to be popping up A LOT lately, bad enough where I had a pretty intense debate with my dad about it. Just because Christianity is made up of tiny sects of it doesn't make Christianity as a whole any less a religion. I don't need any of this "it's a lifestyle" or "it's a relationship with God and Jesus." Awesome, but that does not make it not a religion. It's got a book/doctrine and you go to church to worship. It's a religion. By claiming it's not a religion it gives one leeway to plaster crosses and scripture where ever people want. And include their "lifestyle" into law, because since it's no longer a religion it's not violating the church and state thing. Bullshit.
And when Christians can't see their own privilege and dominance it just annoys me too. I just wish it was easier to show highly religious people how much privilege they have and how ridiculous they are really being by thrusting their faith and doctrine on everyone else.
Village Idiot — October 14, 2009
It seems to me that being "neutral" and "universal" would strip a symbol of any meaning of deep significance which makes it unsuitable as a proper Memorial for anything. Red meaning stop/danger/caution/hot is a neutral and universal symbol and like any other example I can think of is unlikely to trigger Supreme Court review. When someone sues the government because using red for stop signs offends them then he'll have a point. What's ironically hilarious to me is the very fact that Scalia is deliberating on this case soundly refutes his own argument, but it also occurs to me that if this is the logic employed at the Supreme Court level then it's not exactly funny anymore.
Duckrabbit — October 14, 2009
Thanks for this post. I am a non-Christian American and it really hit home for me.
Reanimated Horse — October 14, 2009
Out of curiosity, if this cross has to be taken down - what about all the grave markers for unknown soldiers? I thought a bunch of those were crosses.
katyhalo — October 14, 2009
Oh good grief. As a Christian (and a Theology graduate) these kinds of statements really irritate me too. The cross is not a generic symbol of, I don't know, 'sadness with a bit of afterlife-related hope' or something, it's a very specific, very political object. Some day I would love to go around churches secretly replacing the crosses with mock nooses or electric chairs to see the reactions...
The idea that Christianity is somehow a cultural 'default' is also really nasty, and silencing to people of other faiths (or none). While I think the default assumption that a person is Christian is less prevalent this side of the Atlantic (depending on where you are anyway) the cultural trappings of Christianity are just as ubiquitous.
Oh_desy — October 14, 2009
As an interesting bit of anecdotal evidence for Christian as the "default" state. I'm a white, middle class gal from the heart of the Bible Belt. When I was a child, I did not attend religious services of any kind. My parents were nebulously spiritual but decided to let me see my own way through spirituality/religion. However, I remember vividly that children asked what religion I was all the time at school or summer camp, and I always responded "Christian" because I just figured that's what people were unless they were Jewish. I was very confused when children followed up by asking what type of Christian I was.
Doro — October 14, 2009
I tried to explain this problem to my Christian mother, and she argued that the cross is a universal symbol because in my native language (German), † is used as universal symbol for death. The corresponding symbol for birth (*) is used too, and both are derived from Christian faith. She still fails to see how this might be problematic.
citizenparables — October 14, 2009
Hmmm. This one has me a little troubled.
This cross was erected 75 years ago. 1934. So it commemorated the dead of the Great War. Also, I may be reading this wrong, but according to this: http://digital-desert.com/mojave-preserve/
the Mojave National Preserve which contains the cross was only 'established by Congress' in 1994. So, does this mean that the area was not Government land at all at the time the cross was erected?
If so, this is a vitally relevant point, I would think.
Because then we're talking about the Govt acquiring land that already had a religious symbol on it, (erected, incidentally, by the community primarily to honour a national, rather than a religious sacrifice). Personally, I consider it grossly insensitive for the govt to apply church&state in this revisionist, retrospective fashion and either bulldoze or reconfigure what is essentially a historical construction. The Mojave National Preserve is part wilderness, part historical/cultural preserve. As such, I would suggest that the cross firmly comes under the category of historical artifact to be preserved by the government, along with the abundant " mail and trade/travel routes, ranching, farming, and mining," relics and the "old Union Pacific train depot at Kelso" also preserved within the area.
Conversely, the contemporary request to erect a Buddhist shrine on what is NOW Govt land, should rightfully be declined on the grounds of Church&State, as should a request to erect a new cross in the area.
John Stark — October 14, 2009
What constitutional separation of church and state? Has anyone even read the constitution?
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
Did Congress make some sort of law to erect this cross in the first place? No? Then why is this a constitutional issue?
George — October 14, 2009
My understanding of the legal issue is that the government is not contending that the cross is non-religious. What they attempted to do is make a land exchange. A deal existed between the government and a private group, which offered to buy the land on which the cross sits and sell to the government an equal area of land that adjoins the mojave national preserve. Thus the cross would be located within the park, but on privately owned land. This deal was approved by an act of congress (not just some agency for example). The appeals court found that this would not allow the government to avoid the establishment clause issue. I believe it is that decision which is before the Supreme Court.
Regarding the social issue - a cross is religious obviously, but despite that I don't see that it's inappropriate as a neutral war memorial as well. I see Scalia's point, what would a spiritual/faithful type war memorial look like without looking like a hodgepodge of various faiths' symbols. Though, perhaps I'm just not creative enough to think of an idea.
Alessandra — October 14, 2009
I agree with George 6:31 pm on October 14, 2009, overall.
And here: "I see Scalia’s point, what would a spiritual/faithful type war memorial look like without looking like a hodgepodge of various faiths’ symbols. Though, perhaps I’m just not creative enough to think of an idea."
Well, you take a cross, you cover it in plywood, and there you have it.
It's so nondescript, and modern-artsy, so perfect for our enlightened-age memorial. Here we have this boxy grayish brown structure, all you need is to add is ACME on it and it's a lovely memorial. Inside there is a cross, but it's so oppressive, we must cover it up. It's like a wooden burqa for religious symbols! A humble, but significant monument to the wasting of public resources in stupid lawsuits, when there are much more serious problems being neglected. Why couldn't the guy just put his little Budhist memorial on the other hill on the side? Nooo, he has to put it on the same rock, on the same hill.
Another idea: How about if they place these big statues of angry faces all shouting at each other something like, "This is my hill, get out, I'm king of the hill!" Each would have visual symbols of different American religions, and we could name the monument the "Why oh why must people be so stupid?" memorial.
If Egypt ever decides to adopt these same policies, they will have to tear down a couple of pyramids to make room for other religious buildings. Or maybe they could build a big plywood box over each of the pyramids, to show the level of their newly acquired enlightenment. We cannot have just one oppressive religious symbol there as well, it's too awful.
Angela — October 14, 2009
A simple solution would be to replace the cross a cenotaph with a nice plaque.
Anon — October 14, 2009
It doesn't really come across to me as Christian... There were a lot of matyrs who died by the cross, and the cross symbol for war heroes seems like a symbol for ones who died for a cause, not for a religion. Maybe I'm wrong in this?
PattiLain — October 15, 2009
Not to veer off topic, but with regards to perceived neutrality (male, white, heterosexual, able bodied, Christian etc) I don't recall anyone addressing nationality. More specifically, American as neutral. Media imperialism can make it very annoying for non-Americans.
Just throwing that in there. I know this isn't the place to discuss it, but I didn't know where else to mention it.
angie — October 15, 2009
[quote]For a long time, a cross was a kind of universal grave marker here in the U.S. (and Europe) so I can see where Scalia is coming from but he isn’t considering why the cross was chosen as that symbol or the fact that times change.[/quote]
I can see why you nick name is "village idiot". Seriously, cross is a christian symbol. It is not an universal one. Please, even if you are probably one of these odd yank cultist baptists do us all a favour and learn just a little bit of your own religion.
Also, spreading crosses all around just for the hell of it seems to be a yank habit to me. It is not suitable christian behaviour. Flaunting with your faith like this is not suitable.
Ariella — October 15, 2009
I am shocked that Scalia, or any judge, could be so obtuse as to argue that the cross is anything OTHER than a religious symbol. The cross is the predominant symbol of Christianity. Jews don't use it; Muslims don't use it; Buddhists don't use it; and no other religion uses it. The use of a cross as a war memorial is the same as if the government erected a sign that said, "Jesus cries for our WWI Veterans."
Well, hello? First, I am nominally Jewish but probably more honestly categorized as agnostic. BUT I have a great-grandfather who died in WWI - and he was Jewish. Do you honestly think that my great-grandfather would want a cross representing his sacrifice? If your answer to that is "yes," then I guess you're not very familiar with oppression Jews have experienced at the hands of Christians, most specifically Catholics.
Second, as an agnostic, I would personally be offended if someone put a cross up in my remembrance. It is inappropriate, and there are MANY other ways to memorialize the dead OTHER than religious symboltry. For example, the Vietnam Memorial and Korean War Memorials in Washington, DC, do not use religious symbols to memorialize the soldiers that died in those wars. And they are no less powerful because of their lack of religious symboltry.
Third, someone above pointed out that erecting a cross is not the same as the government creating a law regarding religion. However, that person is clearly not an attorney and clearly has not read the cases regarding the erection of religious artifacts on government land. Just because Congress has not passed a law stating that the US is now a Christian nation (although they might as well with all this anti-abortion BS going on...) does NOT mean that the erection of a religious symbol on federal land is appropriate or in line with the Constitution. The Lemon test clearly forbids the use of religious symbols in this regard. If you're not familiar with that case, go ahead and check the Wikipedia article on it; I am sure it summarizes the case well enough.
It sickens, but does not surprise, me that this case has reached the Supreme Court. Every year we get a little bit closer to abrogating the First Amendment and declaring that this country is a Christian country. Think about it: prayer in schools, anti-abortion legislation, erection of religious symbols, "moments of silence" in schools, and many other issues that confront us every day let us know that the Christian majority wants to really BE the majority. It's unfortunate because the fact that the US is not a religious state, not even nominally, is what makes this country great. But as soon as we become a religious state - and when we start legislating religion, as with anti-abortion laws or anti-evolution laws, then we go down a path that's clearly unconstitutional and not in line with our founders' intent. So much for Scalia as an "original intent" guy.
Jillian C. York » Links for 10/15/09 — October 15, 2009
[...] pieces on Sociological Images (one of my favorite blogs) caught my eye this week: One, on the debate over the cross that “memorializes soldiers” (David Weinberger also touched on that this week, and I solidly agree with his sentiments), and [...]
Darrel McDonald — October 15, 2009
Christ is the one true Lord and no one should be ashamed for defending him. I really hope you all change your ways and learn more about Him before it is too late. And, as for people attacking Scalia because he's white, there wouldn't be an America with the Anglo-Saxon race.
Please visit my website and support East Texas.
Tim — October 16, 2009
People griping about a lowercase t in the desert, while money (something people deal with everyday) still has "under god" on it. That plywood box sure blocks less of the view doesn't it?
> The use of a cross as a war memorial is the same as if the government erected a sign that said, “Jesus cries for our WWI Veterans.”
lol, no not in the least. A lowercase t is a lowercase t, people put whatever meaning they want on it.
PattiLain — October 16, 2009
The same can be said for any symbol. A swastika is just four corners that are joined and a Star of David is two triangles. That's not a very good argument I'm afraid.
Alessandra — October 16, 2009
You know the other image that came to my mind? Have you seen the pictures of that big Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil? (I have no idea if the statue is actually on government land, just assuming so).
If someone wanted the Brazilian government to put an equally big sitting Buddha on a nearby hill next to the Christ, do you think they would be right to do so?
And if the government didn't allow it, should the government be forced to cover up the big Jesus statue in plywood?
Would that be an improvement in "status quo" issues in Brazil?
I was also thinking about some images I have seen of those very big Buddha statues in Asia, but I have no idea whether they are on government land or not. Just for the sake of argument, if they are on government land, would sticking a cross or a big statue of Christ next to the Buddha improve the evil "status quo" in those countries?
Kind of fun to think about this.
Alessandra — October 16, 2009
I was wondering who was the Buddhist (?) that originated the lawsuit and why.
"The case, officially known as Salazar v. Buono, 08-472, emerged after a former National Park Service employee, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued to have the cross removed or covered after the agency refused to allow erection of a Buddhist memorial nearby.
Frank Buono describes himself as a practicing Catholic who has no objection to religious symbols, but he took issue with the government’s decision to allow the display of only the Christian symbol."
Practicing Catholic? Weird.
"Then in 1999, the U.S. Park Service denied an application from a Buddhist to build a shrine nearby. Some accounts call it a "domed" shrine, which suggests someone wanted to build a stupa. One account calls the Buddhist a "Utah man," although I have found out nothing else about him."
Alessandra — October 16, 2009
This is intriguing as well:
"Long ago, Veterans of World War One suffering from the effects of mustard gas they had inhaled and to recover from physical and psychological injuries sustained, migrated to California’s Mojave Desert and its dry climate. They formed a local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and in 1934 Death Valley Post 2884 erected a simple wooden cross on what is known as “sunrise rock” as it reminded them of a “doughboy” out in the middle of nowhere in what was to become the Mojave National Preserve.
The simple Memorial bore a small plaque reading, “Erected in Memory of the Dead of All Wars.”
Over the years members died off as they aged until the last survivor of VFW Post that erected the Memorial, John Riley Bembry also passed away in 1984. In 1983, Bembry asked fellow Desert Dweller, Henry Sandoz to repair and maintain the simple Memorial as it had been destroyed due to being vandalized.
In 1986 it was vandalized again with some gravesites in the area being disturbed. Sandoz, adhering to his promise to Bembry rebuilt the Memorial one more time out of pipe this time filled with concrete to discourage further vandalized.
The plaque commemorating the Memorial was never replaced.
Bembry, with no known religious affiliation, obviously saw the cross as much more than just a religious symbol. As explained to me by a learned friend,
“The Cross manifestly has a religious aspect. But, equally manifestly, it conveys a secular meaning -- the meaning of selfless service and sacrifice for others, and is so understood. Universally. Beyond language barriers. In fact, there is not other symbol so universally recognized as representing selfless service and sacrifice for others, including the ultimate sacrifice of one's life. That is how it is understood at veterans memorials, and why it is the symbol so often chosen to honor the war dead.”
It's intriguing that he says the memorial had been frequently vandalized in the past.
I agree with something mentioned above, albeit a bit differently. To me, the cross manifestly has a religious aspect. But, equally manifestly, it conveys a secular meaning -- a symbol of death, and not any death, of having fought a war and of having a tragic interruption of one's life exactly because of war.
It is not the symbol that is non-religious nor that it is universal in its religious meaning. But I think it is highly important that the veteran's initial motive was all-inclusive. In fact, as far as honoring war veterans, it couldn't get more inclusive: 'The simple Memorial bore a small plaque reading, “Erected in Memory of the Dead of All Wars.”'
Not only all the dead of WWI, but of ALL wars.
In light of this information, it seems profoundly petty to affirm these verterans were interested in imposing Christianity onto others, as to convert them, or to exclude anyone who died in a war by the choice of their cross symbol.
Because of the context here, I would rule as Congress has. Leave the cross exposed and don't change anything. Concerning the issue of favoring one religion over another, I also would argue it is not the case here, because these were not priests or ministers erecting a cross as a Church symbol, nor Christian folk trying to do the same (religious proselytising), and thus the context is military, not religious. Regarding the fact that it is something that was erected on government land, maybe they didn't follow the laws about putting something in a Reserve area. However, the historical aspect and the nature of the veteran group, and their intent weighs more here. 75 years is a long time. I agree that if it were today, it would be different.
And I still wonder why there's so little information on the original allegedly Buddhist guy, his motives as well.
Meg — October 17, 2009
This is patently absurd.
Before I launch into my rant, let me explain. I'm Asatru; that is, a Norse Heathen. I'm so far from Christian I couldn't see it on a sunny day with binoculars. And I am all for the separation of Church and state. So far as I'm concerned, Christianity should not be the standard by which we are all measured, given our nation is a conglomerate of races, religions, creeds, and sexual orientations. This is not a theocracy, and should never be.
However, this cross is a memorial erected to honor our lost, and it has stood for 75 years. If the families of the dead have raised no objection, then it should stand on. For someone to complain that this is un-PC or smacks of Christian domination does not automatically imply that it is or does, but rather that the complainer is a whiny brat with a god complex. This is not a memorial to dissenters. This is not a memorial to those who might be offended. This has nothing to do with anyone aside from those the cross was erected to commemorate and their loved ones left behind.
As far as the cross as a Christian symbol goes, it has not always been. The cross is present in many religions. Should the Christian connotation offend your sensibilities (and unjustly, I might add, unless you're somehow involved with the memorial), consider it an astrological symbol.
Equality is necessary, respect must be universal, and I disagree completely with the dominance of Christianity. But how far must those of us with different creeds go? No, we shouldn't be oppressed, and no, a theocracy will not suit us. But just as we want to be accepted by others, we must also learn to accept. I don't want to oppress Christians, I simply want to be allowed to be who I am and follow what I follow without having another viewpoint imposed on me. As a human being and an American citizen, I'm prepared and willing to extend that same right to everyone else, and anybody who is going to clamor for freedom ought to do the same. Quit pulling out the "PC, I'm offended" card unless it's something that actually matters.
Matt K — October 18, 2009
Somewhat off-topic, but it seems like some people in this thread want to distinguish between "real" and "fake" Christians. Here's a good post on Shakesville which points out why this is a terrible idea which only reinforces Christian privilege in the US.
Women Can Wear Men’s Shirts, but Men Cannot Wear Women’s » Sociological Images — December 18, 2009
[...] are always female humans; white people can be just people, but non-white people are always other; Christian symbols are for everyone, but non-Christian symbols are exclusive; and so on and so [...]
Brit Hume: Only Christianity Can Save Tiger Woods » Sociological Images — January 7, 2010
[...] an interesting example of how many Americans treat Christianity as the default, “normal,” and the best religion for everyone. Can you imagine Fox News, or any other [...]
Mordicai — April 26, 2012
I think it is interesting-- mostly on account of how the Bible explicitly says not to take the Lord's name in vain...but the Supreme Court upholds saying "under God" in the pledge by alleging that the word "god" is meaningless & just an oath. Seems pretty UnChristian to me, but what do I know?
Kelsey — April 26, 2012
While I certainly don't think that Christianity should be considered the norm, or the cross a neutral, all-culture-encompassing symbol, I fail to be offended by this. If something like this were being erected today on public lands, I would be just as offended as every other non-Christian and fellow atheist, but this thing has been standing there for 75 years, it's a historical site at this point. It's part of history, I just don't see what's to get so riled up about.
AHelin — April 26, 2012
"Christian" is NOT a religion. There are actually countless denominations of Christendom in the US alone, but somehow they've been clumped together into this Frankenreligion that is "Christianity". The concept of Christianity didn't really exist like this before the 20th century. The conglomeration of all "Christianity" into one group has been part of the process of normalizing Christian religious dogma in society, since instead of the 5-15 percent that various separate denominations have, it's all put together into one powerful-looking bloc of something like 80 percent. The peak of this was in the Republican primary this year, where Rick Santorum, ostensibly a Catholic, shared more ideological positions with Baptists than the Latin Church.
Guest — April 26, 2012
I agree with Kelsey in that while the cross isn't a neutral symbol, I really think that this is all that offensive, and if its been used as a memorial for a long time, its historical. It's not like the makers of it built it to give the middle finger to other religions, they we're probably just on a budget that didn't allow them to make a more religiously neutral symbol or something like that. I just don't get what all the fuss is about.
Anonymous — April 26, 2012
Here's my late reply:
The cross monument should be kept up. First of all, taking it down creates even more conflict. Second of all, it's a historic site by now. Third, it's not so much about the religion but about the sentiment.
Village Idiot — April 27, 2012
Cool, I'm going to go out and put a cross on some nice land I picked out in a nearby National Park and take real good care of it so that the Park Service will eventually give me the land (I'm very patient).
And the funny thing about talk of it being "historic" is that even when it was erected it was already technically unconstitutional, so apparently if other unconstitutional actions (for example the Patriot Act, legislation that mocks the principles those who were memorialized with this cross died fighting for) are continued or not noticed or challenged for a certain amount of time (roughly 75 years, it seems) then they get to remain in place.
Still, the timing on this ruling is bad as I was about to announce the formation of my new religion that worships plywood and the covered cross was about to become our holiest shrine. We were even ready for the expected barrage of lawsuits from those whiny pinheads who worship 2X4's instead (I mean c'mon, everybody knows that 2X4's did not create the universe; that's just silly, it was plywood!). Oh well, you win some you lose some.
And wow, over two years to go from "in the process of deciding" to "decided" and all they came up with was declaring the land to no longer be "public?" I can hardly wait to see how they "resolve" the next case, but I might have to if it takes this long to simply dodge a question.
Blix — April 28, 2012
I think it is silly that people default to Christianity. I am a born-again Christian, and I know that trusting Jesus and having a relationship with Him is not in any way a default. Maybe attending church on Easter and Christmas, or putting it as your Facebook "religious views" is what defaulting means. I am sure this saddens God a lot. He wants sold-out people who are in love with Him! Don't even say you have a relationship with Him if it's going to just be a default. If fewer people were lukewarm about Christ, maybe more people would get saved. Christianity itself is not a religion. The name wasn't even given for awhile. Religion is trying to earn one's salvation by means of good works, rituals, and doing specific things. All Christ asks is that you trust on Him.
David — April 30, 2012
I recently made a site specific (art work) regarding this exact issue.
After decade or more away i recently returned to Ireland. I climbed
this hill, very surprised on reaching the summit to find a cross.
Taken aback by religion planted there, in the public domain, i began
thinking of neutralizing it.
This is what i did, i took the conceptual approach.
Called : Bray Head Landwork 15
Mitch — June 1, 2012
May God save America from its Christians!
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