Away with Crucifixes, Crosses, and Christmas As the Muslim presence in the West grows, so do the calls to do away with long-standing insignia that retain their Christian origins. This weblog entry keeps tab on some of the more colorful demands.

A Muslim traffic warden, M'Hammed Azzaoui, resigned from London's Metropolitan Police Authority and threatened a racial discrimination case. He complained that the St. Edward's crown on a police badge — a symbol of the monarchy's authority since the eleventh century and the constitutional symbol of the political independence of the police — contains a tiny cross and, as a Muslim, he could not wear the symbol of another faith. In response, Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair proposed an alternative badge for Muslim officers and those of other religions. But Commissioner Sir John Stevens abandoned this plan after it got him an earful of protests. (Aug. 14, 2002)

A Muslim provocateur, Adel Smith, a resident of Ofena, Italy, sued his son's public school to remove the crucifix in his classroom because it "bothered him." A district judge handed down a decision agreeing with Smith. "Public schools must be impartial regarding religious phenomena," he said. Italians responded with outrage. President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi called the crucifix "a symbol of the values that are at the base of our identity." (Oct. 30, 2003)

Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers forbade British prison officers from wearing a St. George's Cross tie-pin, although it is the national flag of England, due to its connection to the Crusades. Chris Doyle, director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, approved of the step, noting that "A lot of Muslims and Arabs view the Crusades as a bloody episode in our history," Doyle added that it was now time for England to find a new flag and a patron saint who is "not associated with our bloody past and one we can all identify with." (Oct. 4, 2005)

An Islamic group in Australia, the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations wants to do away with the word Christmas, holding that the term excludes too many people in a multicultural society. Its director, Kuranda Seyit, says it's time for Australia to fall in line with the UK, where councils renamed Christmas as Winterval and refer to it adjectively as festive and winter. (Dec. 4, 2005)

Muslims in Russia are demanding that the cross and other Orthodox Christian symbols be removed from the Russian coat of arms. Damir Mukhetdinov, deputy head of the Spiritual Board of the Nizhny Novgorod region's Muslims, said his people's feelings are insulted because "this violates the secular nature of the state and doesn't contribute to the unity of Russia's peoples." Ali Visam Bardvil, head of the Spiritual Board of Karelia's Muslims, noted that "The cross is not a Muslim symbol. We respect the religious feeling of Christians but do not recognize the crucifixion of Christ. Therefore, in my opinion Orthodox symbols should be removed from the coat of arms to make it acceptable to all religions." Nafigulla Ashirov, chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Asian Russia, went further. "This is not only a question of the Russian coat of arms. We can say that icons are all but put up on the walls of state offices," plus a host of other problems. (Dec. 6, 2005)


Principal crosses out hot buns

Suffolk - A school has banned hot cross buns - in case they offend pupils from religious minorities.

Head teacher Tina Jackson asked for the crosses to be removed from all buns supplied by caterers in case it upset some of her pupils who are Jehovah's Witnesses.

Parents have accused her of "political correctness gone mad" reports The Sun.

But Miss Jackson, of The Oaks primary school in Ipswich, said: "For our students who are Jehovah's Witnesses, hot cross buns are not part of their beliefs.

"We decided to have the cross removed in respect of their beliefs."

The local Vicar, Father Haley Dossor, said: "I'd be amazed if anyone was offended by the cross on a bun. The school is wrong to act like this."


High School Valedictorian Has Speech Censored

June 21, 2006

Help AFA gather 100,000 signatures thanking Brittany McComb for her courageous stand against censorship of her free speech rights

Dear Lee,

Brittany McComb was the valedictorian at Foothill High School recently. She graduated with a 4.7 GPA. She earned the right to address the other graduates at Foothill, located in Henderson, Nevada.

She gave a copy of her graduating speech to the school administrators. It contained some Biblical references and even mentioned (one time) the name “Christ.” The school administrators censored some of the Biblical references. They also censored the single reference to Christ.

Then the school officials handed the speech over to the ACLU for approval and/or more censoring. After getting the OK from the ACLU, Brittany’s speech (minus the censored references to the Bible and Christ) was approved. Brittany was warned that if she deviated from the ACLU approved language, her mike would be cut off.

Then came the moment for the big decision. She would not bow down, she decided. She would go with her original version. She stepped to the mike and began her speech. But just before she could utter the name “Christ,” her mike went dead. School officials silenced her. The crowd of 400 jeered for several minutes, angry at the action of the school officials. The ACLU was happy. They had silenced another Christian.

“I went through four years of school at Foothill and they taught me logic and they taught me freedom of speech. God’s the biggest part of my life. Just like other valedictorians thank their parents, I wanted to thank my lord and savior,” Brittany said.

Because she refused to bow down to the ACLU’s idol of gold, she did not get her wish. She was censored.

This young heroine deserves praise and a thank you from those who believe in free speech.


Crosses in court

Religious symbols on L.A. County's official seal and elsewhere prompt lawsuits.


Los Angeles Daily News

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cast into the heart of a nationwide controversy over the constitutionality of religious symbols in public areas, three members of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit challenging a decision to remove the cross from Los Angeles County's official seal.

The cross had been part of the county seal since 1957 but after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened a lawsuit, the Board of Supervisors voted in 2004 to change the seal.

The Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit against the county on behalf of county Department of Public Works employee Ernesto R. Vasquez, alleging that the decision violated the Constitution by conveying a state-sponsored message of disapproval of and hostility toward Christianity. The new seal features a mission and an American Indian, who replaced the goddess Pomona.

Robert Muise, an attorney with the law center, argued that a clause in the First Amendment that prohibits the government from establishing a state religion also forbids the government from taking actions that convey a message of hostility toward religion. He noted the history of the nation and the county are inseparable from the history of religion.

But Senior Deputy County Counsel Jennifer Lehman argued that Vasquez does not have the right to dictate through litigation what historical or cultural symbols the county places on its seal.

She said the county chose to redesign its seal to exclude a symbol that some courts have found to be unconstitutional.

Judge Richard R. Clifton said he doubted the notion that replacing the cross with a mission could be construed as an anti-Christian statement.

"I happen to be a Christian," Clifton said. "I'm not offended that they decided to put up a mission instead of a cross."


Cross called a “stumbling block” for Mormonism

By Lynn Arave
Deseret News
Published: Monday, Aug. 11, 2008

The cross is the near-universal symbol of Christianity. However, the cross is not used in any chapels or temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nor do church members generally wear the symbol.


Robert A. Rees, former editor of the LDS-theme periodical Dialogue, addressed "On the Cross of Calvary: Mormons and the Broken Tree" at the Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium Thursday morning at the Sheraton Hotel. He said there are "no good reasons" why Mormons could not make the cross more central to their religious experience and that rejecting the cross is "illogical and unnecessary."

"Mormonism has no single identifying symbol." Rees said. "Where is our Mormon Star of David?"

"If you want to get a reaction in sacrament meeting, just wear a cross," Rees said.

He stressed the absence of the cross is one of the "very large stumbling blocks" why other Christian churches consider Mormons as non-Christian. Mormons aren't even neutral about the cross, as church beliefs seem to identify it as a symbol of the apostasy. Some songs in the LDS hymn book refer to the cross and that's the only way the symbol is openly celebrated, Rees noted.

He said the cross symbol has been found in Crete -- dating from 1500 B.C. Mesoamerica also has included some symbols of the cross. Rees' research revealed that many early LDS members had Puritan roots and Puritans swayed away from religious symbols.

"It is likely that Joseph Smith never saw a church decorated with a cross," he said. Then, because of the LDS Church's isolation in the West, it missed the cross' surge when Protestant churches began to adopt it.

Rees said the fact that LDS Church members believe the most crucial elements of the Atonement took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and not on the cross also tends to shift importance away from the cross. He said the Encyclopedia of Mormonism states that Mormons prefer the good news of the resurrection and choose not to dwell on his death, but the living Jesus Christ.

Rees also quoted the late President Gordon B. Hinckley in the April 2005 Ensign Magazine, where he said:

"I do not wish to give offense to any of my Christian colleagues who use the cross on the steeples of their cathedrals and at the altars of their chapels, who wear it on their vestments, and imprint it on their books and other literature. But for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the Living Christ."

President Hinckley then said the symbol of the LDS religion is: "the lives of our people must become the most meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship."

Rees said Elder B.H. Roberts, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, once stated he saw positive elements in the cross symbol. Also, the late LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball saw a cross symbol in a tree in the Colorado mountains as a confirmation that his call to be an apostle was indeed divine and to be accepted. He also said an original photograph of Brigham Young's daughters shows one wearing a cross. However, later versions of the picture have had that symbol omitted.

Recently, the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized LDS Church) began including some crosses in its buildings.

In essence, Rees said he'd like church members to rethink the cross as a negative symbol. It can challenge us to re-examine the beauty of God.

Sunstone has no official ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame; who set their mind on earthly things. Philippians 3:18-19.

Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ,

our salvation and our hope.

Let us bow in homage to the Lord of life,

Who was broken to make us whole.

There is no greater love, as blessed as this:

to lay down one's life for a friend.

Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ

and the triumph of God's great love.


Let us make our journey to the cross of Christ,

Who surrendered glory and grace

to become a servant of the great and small,

that all people may know God's face.

Though his birth was divine, he knelt as a slave,

to wash common dust from our feet.

Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ

and the triumph of God's great love.


Let us tell the story of the cross of Christ

as we share this heavenly feast.

We become one body in the blood of Christ,

from the great to the very least.

When we eat of this bread, and drink of this cup,

we honor the death of the Lord.

Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ

and the triumph of God's great love.


Let us stand together at the cross of Christ

where we see God's boundless love.

We are saints and sinners who are joined

by faith here on earth and heaven above.

Neither woman nor man, not servant or free,

but one in the eyes of the Lord.

Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ

and the triumph of God's great love.