If the “illegal”
Ten Commandments are not the symbol of Western Civilization and morality,
the Cross of Jesus Christ is. It too is considered a dangerous figure in
public and in private. Recent attacks on the cross have been channeled through
city councils and churches alike.
the City of Ventura, California is under fire for displaying an historic
cross that was erected 221 years ago by the missionary-explorer Junipero
Serra. Serra established the San Buenaventura Mission in 1782, naming it
and Ventura after the Franciscan Priest St. Bonaventure. Today, Serra’s mission
is a registered state landmark.
of three atheists called the Freethinkers of Ventura became offended by the
historical cross and threatened to file a lawsuit against the city. Last
week, the Ventura City Council voted to sell the cross along with an acre
of land around it. On September 22, the city will accept bids to purchase
there is discussion amongst anti-Christian interest groups in the city to
purchase the cross and to remove it from public view or destroy it. City
council members who are opposed to dismantling the cross are considering
selling the icon conditionally to someone who will maintain it with respect
and reverence. “I would rather fight it in court than sell it under those
conditions [to someone who would destroy the cross],” said City Councilman
And it appears that such a court battle is approaching. Americans United
for Separation of Church and State and the California First Amendment Coalition
have threatened a lawsuit on behalf of potential cross-destroyers if the
city blocks their bids.
To make matters worse, the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) held
a conference in New York last week to promote the removal of crosses from
Christian Churches. ACLC was founded by the cultic Rev. Sun Myung Moon to
eliminate barriers between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Earlier this
year, ACLC reported that over 285 Christian clergy “directly affirmed the
taking down of the cross” and 123 churches have removed crosses so far this
like something you’d hear glorified at a meeting of the Freethinkers of Ventura
rather than a gathering of “Christian” leaders. According to the Apostle
Paul, both the atheists and the ACLC are equally misguided: “The message
of the Cross is foolishness to the perishing, but to us who are saved it
is the power of God.”
Archbishop George Augustus Stallings of the Imani Temple African-American
Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. exclaimed, “We have realized that, as
expressions of faith, there are certain symbols that have stood in the way.
The cross has served as a barrier in bringing about a true spirit of reconciliation
between Muslims and Christians, and thus we have sought to remove the cross
from our Christian churches across America as a sign of our willingness to
remove any barrier that stands in the way of us coming together as a people
Contrary to the word of Archbishop Stallings, the Word of God says that the
Cross is unifying. “[Christ] has broken down the middle wall of separation
. . . that He might reconcile [Jews and Gentiles] to God in one body through
the Cross, thereby putting to death the division.”
And if Archbishop Stallings himself was a “person of faith,” he might have
defended the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Jesus Himself said, “He
who does not take his Cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Instead,
Stallings said the history of the Cross is one of “religious intolerance,
forced conversions, inquisitions and even racism used by white supremacists.”
It is true that the unreformed church has been corrupt and evil. But the
heinous abuses of Christendom have consistently occurred when the church
has forgotten the essential Cross of Christ, not when it exalted the cross.
Phillip Schanker of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification
told the ACLC conference that churches must do more than remove crosses.
Schanker said they must overcome “the religious arrogance, the religious
chauvinism, the narrow-mindedness, the judgmentalism that often comes from
dispute that the Cross has much to do with murder and sin and intolerance
and hatred. Those hideous parts of our nature were the driving force that
nailed Jesus to the Cross and that made His suffering all the worse. Thus
the Cross has much to do with grace, because there on the Cross, Jesus Christ
the Lord was sacrificed for all of the sorrow and shame that ever was. There
on the cross is all of the justice that is demanded by an eternal God, and
all of the mercy that is needed by a dying people.
The Ten Commandments are gone in Montgomery, but we can’t give up. Its time for the Law and the Cross to be restored in America.
Hans Zeiger, 18, is a columnist, speaker, and activist. An Eagle Scout, he is president of the Scout Honor Coalition.