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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, April 23

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fluffy / April 6, 2007 3:03 PM

i think that anyone who supports it should be crucified

fluffy / April 6, 2007 3:03 PM

i think that anyone who supports it should be crucified

Dunl / April 6, 2007 3:11 PM

According to TFA, it's a "19-foot cedar cross" not a crucifix.

adam / April 6, 2007 3:36 PM

I'll probably sound like a total hardass, but what I say seems to be most fair to all religious groups. I'm opposed to ANY religious symbols/imagery used or displayed in any government office or building. That includes "In God We Trust" on our money, prayers in legislative assemblies, and use of a Bible during inauguration ceremonies. I realize that God is cited in numerous founding documents, but despite what some people may say, this is NOT a Christian country (not that the word has any real meaning anyway; too many variants).

Short answer: no crucifix/menorah/mandala/crescent or anything else on government property.

jen / April 6, 2007 4:53 PM

yup - what adam said.

Justin / April 6, 2007 5:23 PM

It shouldn't be there and I'm sorry it provokes such virulent reaction.

A Christian myself, I respect Rev. O'Reilly's sense of calling but not his thin-veiled antagonism. "Just turn the other way" is a dubious argument and I'm sure he knows.

Neither would I support a counter-protest. Let it pass quietly and don't let it happen again.

Pete / April 7, 2007 11:01 AM

I've got no objection, just as long as the primary symbol of every other formally recognized religion in the world is put on display as well. Plus a symbol for non-believers, as well.

anon / April 7, 2007 11:40 AM

As a Christian (yes, I went to a Good Friday service last night), I am wary of religious symbols being intertwined with our government because, lets face it, when religion and government mix, it is usually a bad thing for both. That being said, I don't mind the public acknowledgment of holidays, both religious and secular, but I'm not sure that I want such acknowledgment sanctioned by the government (e.g. when I'm driving down Devon, I think it is great that there are street banners acknowledging the Eid celebration). I like the idea of a sunrise service personally, but there are much better places to hold it. Why not apply for the same permit to hold one on the lakefront? to me that would be an ideal location. Who on earth would want to worship in Daley plaza? Honestly now.

MM / April 7, 2007 12:03 PM

Because our society is one of religious pluralism, we ought to accept religious expression such as this, not condemn it. While we have a long way to go before we are a openly accepting society of all faiths, we shouldn't condemn the Christian expressions because it is a far less exotic faith (to us) than, say, Buddhism or Hinduism. I have the feeling that if what was displayed was one of those Buddhist sand paintings, we might consider this less controversial. Or what about the Sufi Whirling Dirvishes? Religion is so deeply imbedded in the heart of so many cultures that converge in the U.S., and especially in urban areas. How is denying religious expression the correct way to deal with such diversity? How is it any different than censoring people like Howard Stern? The display of the cross (a symbol of both death and life for Christians) seems, to me, to be a very meaningful expression. Much more so than some (most) of the expressions of people like Howard Stern.

While I'd agree that the Roman Catholic Church has far too much influence down town at the expense of other faiths' influence (in the same ways that certain neighborhoods get better treatment by the city), I just think that even in the public sphere, we should allow ourselves to be more open to different cultures of faith.

You know, it is possible to be both progressive and accepting of religious expression.

Justin / April 7, 2007 1:39 PM

MM, you raise a great point about exoticism. An American can admire and respect sand paintings or even Buddhist meditation without feeling threatened. I'd wager that this has some to do with the relative peacefulness of Buddhism (compared with our often bloody Western tradition) but more with the fact there's not a temple every other block. We've got deep-seated issues with power, and it's a sign of our times that once marginal traditions hold a prized spot in our culture.

As I'm at peace with my own faith, I have the utmost resect for those expressing sincere devotion to other faiths. I should add, without cheapening either faith by negotiating a faith of the lowest common denominator. We inherit beautiful, rich traditions worth sharing and celebrating.

The trouble arises in distinguishing these public acts expressing religious or spiritual devotion from (c)overt proselytizing. I'm doubtful the Daley Plaza cross rises in good faith. O'Reilly's out to save souls, and this strikes me as an aggressive performance to that end.

Lola / April 7, 2007 1:57 PM

There's a difference between a religious display on public property and on government property. Whichever group is behind this particular push is not doing it because they wish to celebrate their faith. They can do that in church or on public, but not government grounds. This group is doing it to push buttons. Why City Hall keeps cowering in the face of religious groups, I can't understand. The Constitution protects religious speech and expression on public grounds and in private, but not on government property.

I don't agree that Christian activities are more controversial because they are not considered exotic. They are more controversial because the groups behind these stunts keep arguing that it is necessary because they feel persecuted. A completely ridiculous argument given that approximately 80% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. Their motives are not pure, as someone else stated.

Cappy / April 8, 2007 8:36 AM

If we look at the history of the use of Christian symbols on public property in the U.S., there was not this interest in diversity of religious beliefs... it was about promoting their own beliefs. Perhaps a better way for Christians to be "Christian" is to not put any religious symbol up and live out their beliefs instead.

nobleday / April 8, 2007 11:15 AM

Rather than protest about a cross, you would be better off protesting the prospect of putting up a new skyscraper that is expected to be 2,000 feet high.

It is pride that leads people to resent having religion tell them how to lead their lives. The greater the pride, the greater the fall from grace. In 2007, we will begin to see the signs of an economic recession. There is also the terrorists threats or other threats that if unchecked, will bring the demise of downtown Chicago. If it was so insignificant, then why did it make national/world news?

If you believe in signs and omens, just remember the coyote that wandered into downtown the other day.

amyc / April 8, 2007 1:31 PM

Why, was the coyote wearing a cross?

I never got the idea behind that rhetorical style, nobleday -- that whole "Instead of being upset about This Thing, you should be upset about This Other Only Tangentially Related Thing" argument. It is possible for people to be concerned about more than one thing, you know. The people who don't want religious symbols on government property may or may not also be concerned about skyscrapers and pride and terrorism -- but that wasn't the question.

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