A little while ago, I was traveling with a colleague in the small town of Port Neches, Texas. While driving, we kept seeing white crosses in people’s yards and in storefronts. Even the fast-food eatery Sonic had a big one. So, we asked the lady we were visiting why there were so many little white crosses all over the city. Her explanation was an encouraging example of the fighting spirit and conservatism in America.
Our friend explained that in the city’s Riverfront Park, there is a 45-year-old monument of a large white Cross. In November 2015, this Cross became the object of a great battle between right and wrong when the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened the city with a court case if it did not remove the Cross. The locals reacted immediately. A church bought a twenty-by-twenty-foot plot of land containing the monument from the city for $100, thereby protecting it.
In support of the Cross and as a reaction against the atheist organization, a group of locals made little white crosses for people to put in their yards or wherever they wanted. Literally, thousands were distributed. Even the local Chick-fil-A was giving them out for free.
The reaction of the locals was amazing. What the locals were saying to the outside atheist group was something like, “Bring it on! No matter what you do, we will stand up for what is right. Look at the cross in my front yard as proof.”
Not the First Nor Last Time
The Port Neches attack against the Cross is one of many recent cases in America. Such cases do not get major media coverage. However, there is definitely a pattern as can be seen by these examples.
The most shocking case of Cross removal attempts was the famed cross-shaped steel beams from 9/11. Despite its consoling symbolism for traumatized citizens, American Atheists Inc. tried to have it removed from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Fortunately, the atheists failed to take away this beautiful reminder from God that He is with those fighting against evil.
Another example did not turn out so well. A Cross, outside one of the Longview Texas fire department stations was challenged. The Cross was part of a Christmas display. In spite of protests from the locals, the Cross was removed because of complaints from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Belle Plaine Threatened
In the Veterans Memorial Park of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, stands a very beautiful monument to American soldiers. It is a steel image of an infantryman from World War II, helmet doffed, rifle unslung, kneeling before the grave of a fallen comrade marked with a Cross. The Cross headstone was created by a local veteran.
Why the Cross in such a scene should concern the Freedom From Religion Foundation is unclear. But the outside group challenged just the Cross part of the scene. In January 2017, their protest and pressure convinced the city to remove the Cross from the monument.
Patriotic Americans of Belle Plaine pushed back on the city’s secularist decision. An article by a local newspaper The Star Tribune reported: “Almost overnight, dozens of wooden crosses popped up in private business windows, on mailboxes and in front yards. More than 1,200 people have signed an online petition in support of restoring the cross.”
The Star Tribune story quoted a local resident as saying, “A lot of people are turning in their graves. People are mad at that group. It’s not just us (the veterans club) but the whole city of Belle Plaine.”
Along with distributing crosses, the patriots of Belle Plaine arranged for a security detail composed of members of the veterans club and a motorcyclists club called the Second Brigade to stand guard day and night to protect what was left of the monument.
“Sometimes You Have to Fight”
On Feb. 6, 2017, the Belle Plaine City Hall was packed with people. All of them were there for a hearing on whether to return the Cross or not. Andy Parish, a strong advocate for returning the Cross, spoke his mind to the City Council members.
According to the Belle Plaine Herald Andy Parish delivered these fiery words: “We’re here tonight because of an out-of-state group, driven by extremism, has attacked our Veterans Park. We’re here tonight not by choice, but because the residents of this city feel a sense of duty. …[N]ot all fights involve money. Sometimes you have to fight for what’s right.”
The remark drew loud applause from the audience. After long deliberation, the City Council voted 3-2 to pursue a limited public forum at Veterans Memorial Park. This allowed the Cross to be placed back on the monument. Just like in Port Neches, and so many other cases, the truly patriotic Americans of Belle Plaine proudly stood up for what is right and won!
The white-cross-episode in Port Neches is not the first nor the last time the symbol of Christianity will be attacked. Nationwide, Americans should be vigilant and look for similar occurrences and be ready to react because, as it is said, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for the good to do nothing.
What lessons can be learned from the struggle over the Cross? The first lesson is one of hope. It shows that when good Americans stand up and do not give in on their principles, they can win. The second lesson is that it is a difficult fight in which they can also lose. Citizens must be prepared to go to the end as the people of Belle Plaine did to obtain final victory after losing the first round.
Finally, a small group of loud radicals are trying to destroy the symbol of the Cross in America. All it takes is a small group of dedicated Americans to counter their efforts. People need to stand up for the Cross of Christ because it is a symbol of victory. The feisty people of Port Neches, Belle Plaine, and so many others are beautiful examples of what can be done when good people do something.