Monday, April 19, 2021

D.L. Gardner: Diverse Christians Unify for Cross

The week after Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, gun and ammo sales surged! We’ve seen similar surges now that President Biden has raised the standard of  “amending” the 2nd Amendment. Another similarity between the terms of the two Democrat presidents is the surge of Evangelical prayers and petitions! 

A group of Christians here in Starkville has organized a movement to erect a giant 120-foot cross beside one of the major highways going through our town. Other Mississippi towns have erected similar crosses close to highways. 

Like most Southern cities, Starkville boasts a large number of diverse Christian churches. The label “Christian” encompasses the largest range of diversity of any faith. To that point, the group organizing this project have attracted a diverse membership to its unifying goal of erecting the cross. The cross should unify all those who have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation.

Starkville, home of Mississippi State University, is arguably the most progressive or “woke” city in the state. Residents and students include people from nearly all 50 states and dozens of other countries. Thus, Starkville enjoys more religious groups than most small southern towns. 

Symbols have become “offensive” particularly to woke folks. What does being woke mean? Woke people are “alert to injustice in society, especially racism.” A cross is an offensive symbol here even as a piece of jewelry, much less a 120-foot cross. So, the effort to erect the cross has evoked a lot of negative reactions, including “hostility” from local officials. 

Crosses have always been offensive. The Bible says Jesus despised the shame of the cross. I believe God chose the cross to show us His utter disgust of sin. That’s the dark side of Christianity. The bright side of Christianity is the empty tomb and Jesus’ return! Since the 2020 election, we’ve heard a lot more Christians praying that Jesus would come soon! 

Woke folks apparently believe we can rid the world of any and all things that offend them. They also apparently believe they are not offensive in any way except to those who are intolerant. Don’t you just hate intolerant people? 

Woke folks are also fond of the either-or fallacy that limits one’s choice to two. For example, in the case against the Starkville cross, concerned citizens have suggested “christians” should use the money ($200,000) for needs of the poor, sort of what Judas sneered when the woman wasted all that perfume on Jesus’ feet days before His crucifixion. While the fallacy falsely limits the choice to helping the poor or wasting the money, the truth asks why don’t we do both! It’s never about the money; it’s always about the offense. 

What impact will the cross have on those who drive past it? Who knows? Years ago a friend and I would meet regularly to discuss what’s going on. He’s an atheist, and we enjoyed bantering back and forth. He told me when he stayed in hotel rooms he would steal Gideon Bibles and destroy them! He said he would never patronize a business that had any Christian symbol. 

Will the cross inspire or offend? Yes! It always has and it always will. The group of Christians organizing this effort are unifying believers of all races and socio-economic status. That’s a good thing, right?



Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, MS. You may contact him at


Article about controversy.  



Anonymous said...

Why is it always the case the the most ignorant person in the room is always the loudest and nearly always a bible thumper?

FACT: Roman Centurions never once erected a T shaped cross. People were always crucified on an X shaped cross. Roman records report that they used an X shaped cross in Judea as well. But who’s going to let facts get in the way of their superstitious mythology?

Anonymous said...

If the cross offends people like the authors atheist acquaintance, then so be it. It would probably make Starkville a better town without him and those like him.

Anonymous said...

This guy seems to think the cross is offensive? No. But like any oversized sign in a city, the mammoth size of it is offensive. Just like the gargantuan cross on 49S, it’s an eyesore.

What’s funny is that this guy would probably pee his pants if a gigantic Star of David was erected in him community.

This isn’t an anti-Christian thing. It’s an obnoxious sign thing.

Anonymous said...

9:47. Indeed. Like the “Sabbath”. It ain’t Saturday.

woke-as in treat everyone with respect and civility. not using religion as the basis of discrimination, bigotry, or hatred.

Anonymous said...

The Sabbath is actually sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Also the Roman census and tax collection were done in the spring, not December. Easter and Christmas should technically be the same month.

Anonymous said...

Crosses are not offensive to anybody in Starkville. We know you want to be persecuted, but you're just not. Sorry, snowflake.

What's offensive is displays that scream "look how big my d*** is," by literally any group. You'd have far more opposition to, for example, a 120 foot tall Muslim crescent or statue of Vishnu.

Jesus was not about mounting massive, dominant symbols to loom over people. That's more for used car lots and truck stops. If you think his message is persuasive, you shouldn't need to literally hold it over people.

Anonymous said...

Try an Islamic Minaret.
When the Xtian Bigots start sputtering about giant Mosque Minarets, their love for obnoxiously huge crosses will bite them in the ass. How can they argue against a massive Minaret reaching for the moon or the “Nasheed” call to prayer?

Anonymous said...

Why so butt hurt, atheists? You sure do preach a lot (of hate).

Anonymous said...

Your persecution complex is showing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Daniel: Our country is founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. As others note, a giant Star of David or soaring Muslim minaret or a huge Buddha are as protected in our country as Christian symbols. And Christian symbols vary among the various Christian sects. I suspect you would be incensed if Catholics erected an enormous statue of Our Lady of Fatima or the Virgin of Guadalupe on the side of the highway.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the "woke" leaders in Starkville being against the cross as long as they outlaw Gay pride parades and BLM marches.

What's good for one is good for the other.

And don't give me any of that "religious" argument for the cross. Symbolism is symbolism whether it's men in fishnets marching, massive BLM signs, or crosses they all represent beliefs.

Anonymous said...

"You think when Jesus comes back, he really wants to see a cross? That's like going up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on." William Melvin Hicks

Anonymous said...

The culture of the U.S. is so degraded it is refreshing to see a cross on any road. Let me put it to you this way;
What would you rather have, A cross on the side of the road or "WAP" (Wet Ass Pussy)* sung by Cardi B blasting out from the vehicle next to you while you drive down the road. You decide & live by your choice.

* (BTW) By the Way "WAP" won song of the year. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

The U.S. Constitution is a wholly secular document. It contains no mention of Christianity or Jesus Christ. In fact, the Constitution refers to religion only twice in the First Amendment, which bars laws "respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," and in Article VI, which prohibits "religious tests" for public office.

Anonymous said...

I think Jesus, who was actually persecuted, would be embarrassed by how hard middle class white Christians in a 65% Christian country work to fake persecution.

Also, if you're confident something can make an impact, you don't have to exaggerate how big it is.

Anonymous said...

Do you psychotic atheists really believe Christianity and Islam are equal? Do you not understand Sharia Law? Do you not realize that Sharia Caliphates are less tolerant of your alternative lifestyles than Christianity? Lord have mercy on your foolishness!

Anonymous said...

9:47 - wrong. Your Google history lesson fails you there.

FACT: Romans didn't 'always' crucify on X-shaped crosses. Romans crucified on X-shaped crosses, T-shaped crosses, single beams, and trees. Romans utilized whatever means they had to crucify people. Crucifixions were utilized not only as a form of slow, torturous death, but they were also done as signs alone commonly travelled roads throughout the Roman Empire to warn people against insurrection and disobedience to Roman authority.

HOwever, Peter was crucified on an X-shaped cross.

Anonymous said...

I guess you could call me a woke Christian. It bothers me greatly when "Christians" bash people with whom they do not agree. It bothers me greatly when "Christians" use their "Christian" label to market themselves. I do not mind talking to you about my faith and I pray that the way I live my life and interact with others will cause you to look at the "why" I live that way. God has held my hand through many a challenge and I am happy to talk with you about how my faith has had its ups and downs, but God has not moved. I try not to doubt the sincerity of people who beat their chests and proclaim they are persecuted, but sometimes it seems they are upset because they are not getting their way. When Christians try to too tightly define Christianity they get "Broken Faith...Inside One of America's Most Dangerous Cults" by Mississippi native and AP Investigative Reporter Holbrook Mohr and Mitch Weiss.

Anonymous said...

You included Zero sources to back up your opinion.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy seeing crosses and our country's flag when I'm on the highway but if I don't see either it won't change my beliefs one bit. Also I don't think that makes me any better than or worse than anyone else...... I just happen to enjoy it and some don't.

Anonymous said...

Apparently in the delusional mind of Mr. Gardner, city ordinances are woke.

Anonymous said...

Daniel doesn’t think city ordinances are woke, he just thinks the rules shouldn’t apply to him. He is what is known as a “Snowflake.”

Anonymous said...

I believe that it should be illegal to force religious indoctrination on children. Children are too impressionable and religious zealots are using the fear of a fictional afterlife to suppress their intellectual and emotional development. Religion is emotional child abuse.

Anonymous said...

( "woke" leaders in Starkville )

They sound worse than folks up the road in Oxford.

That's kind of surprising.

On the public university/university town "Woke scale" ... I would have guessed Ole Miss/Oxford at #1,
Southern Miss/Hattiesburg at #2 ... and MSU/Starkville in third place, (almost tied with Delta State in Cleveland)

Anonymous said...

I plan on having some left over pork chops and baked beans for dinner. I might drink a few beers if the mood hits me.

Anonymous said...

You honestly believe that the UofM and MSU are more “woke” than JSU or Tougaloo?

Anonymous said...

Christianity has been hijacked by people who are not Christians.

Anonymous said...

Now that the words, “mom, dad, grandmother, niece etc.” offend , and are banned in schools and Democrat policy, I am truly content to be called a “redneck,” which by the way is not racist according to the woke. Not real sure what they are woke about as never having to suffer without internet, Twitter, or Starbucks. But hey, they think they have lived through a war or depression because Trump was POTUS, Can’t imagine what safe spaces they are going to need if Communism takes hold of this country. Poor little snowflakes will be the first to complain when their government will not recognize all their woke issues. They have no idea that Communist and Socialist nations do not put up with protests, respect religion, or alternative life choices. Why are they being pandered to when the whole wide world exist and would not tolerate them? If some are triggered by the cross, then why not others can say they are triggered by the sheer stupidity of looting, riots, protests, gang signs, criminals breaking the law and other such unlawful activities?

Anonymous said...

I think it is high time to tell the children to grow up, join the “man,” and get a job. There is no communist country in existence that would put up with their shit and safe spaces, My dad use to say we need a war or depression every 2 decades to make youth realize how great they have it in the US.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Liberty College is suing Jerry Falwell, Jr. for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and other things. They'd sue his daddy, Falwell, Sr., if he weren't dead. Allegations include Mr. Falwell's voyerism while his wife, at his behest, had an affair with their pool boy. You can't make this stuff up!
Elmer Gantrys are everywhere you look in "Christian" churches and schools.

Anonymous said...

" @4:33
You honestly believe that the UofM and MSU are more “woke” than JSU or Tougaloo?"

Very much so.

Allow me to explain it to you.

Tougaloo is a private school. Thus I did not include them.

( The same with Millsaps, Belhaven and such ).
Those schools have always been "woke" to a certain extent.
So the recent national "wokeness" is not really new to those schools.

However, you are correct.
JSU is a public university like UM, MSU, USM & DSU.

But JSU students have more pressing matters to worry about.

Multiple killings close to their campus, "Boo Boo Water" ... IF ANY, ect.
Not to mention many of those JSU kid's vehicles are at repair shops due to Jackson's lack of basic street maintenance.

Those are a only few reasons that come to mind.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Christian and I think those crosses are silly and more of a bragging rights thing in these small towns.

But I respect that church members can do what they want with their money.

I personally look at those crosses and think that all that money might benefit our homeless or children in poverty more effectively and perhaps THAT might be a better way to teach people about the lord and something to really brag about.

I grew up in several small towns that thought Christianity was about being the best dressed in church and making fun of poor people who were not in designer clothes. Thankfully I found churches later in life that showed me those people were absolute heretics.

But since my money will not be donated to these crosses, to each their own.

Anonymous said...

Lord God,
Please save me from your followers.
These nuts are making life hell.

Anonymous said...

Gosh continue with 1+x=B.

I doubt you'll get to Heaven based on displaying the Cross.

That you go beyond that to make it a gaudy eye sore with bright paint, won't likely increase your chances.

Perhaps, if you spend more time reading The New Testament...especially Jesus''d see it's behaving like a Christian and being pleasing to God that is important.
If God wanted to overthrow the government that existed , he'd have sent His Son with arms, armor, an army, made sure he had a war horse,and would have made him the immortal King on Earth.

He sent His Son with a message on how to behave and perhaps a hint that His prophets aren't likely to be found in a limo in expensive suits but in a more humble setting and more humble manner.

Anonymous said...

10:04, how in hell is a benign symbol of faith "making" your life hell?

Stop trying to dress up your anti-theist bigotry as non belief.

Anonymous said...

Just remember, every Christian is a 99.9% atheist.

You rightly view history's other 999 major gods as dumb superstition. Placeholders that frightened, ignorant, ancient people used to explain the world around them for lack of better information.

You readily accept that the tropes in their holy books (like floods, arks, parted seas, and resurrected messiahs) are literary devices borrowed from past traditions and reworked by human authors for present purposes, not accounts of actual events.

Atheists just make it an even thousand, rather than balking at the final threshold due to fear of death. Which you know --deep down-- is the only reason you cling to your rickety, duct-taped-together supernatural beliefs.

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