Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What do you think of the Cross on the Hill?

The 199 foot cross at Central Assembly of God Church in Haughton was dedicated Sunday. A permit to build the cross was originally denied by the MPC because zoning regulations say that a structure in that area can’t be taller than 45 feet.
The Church then appealed to the Police Jury for an exception. This met with a mixed response from members. Wanda Bennett was afraid that it would open a Pandora’s box, allowing giant billboards to be erected.
According to The Times, at a meeting in October Pastor Andy Harris appeared to be threatening political retribution when he said "The common man on the street is going to be looking at who's for the cross and who's not, and we all understand the political ramifications."
In this case, I believe that the police jury made the right decision.
"I was pretty neutral on it," said Bossier Parish Police Jury member Barry Butler said. "My view was: it's their money; it's their land. If they want to spend it that way, it's their option." In the end, the Police Jury allowed the exception.
While this may not have been my choice either, I agree. It’s their land, their church and their money, let them spend it as they will.
A lot of comments have arisen at the Times website, saying basically that the money could have been used for better things, such as feeding and clothing the hungry. While that may be true, it was not our decision to make, it was theirs.
The cross is very striking, even from a distance. It even has a website of its own. There is also a Facebook fan page with over 800 members.
What do you think, should the Police Jury have allowed the exception to build?


  1. Should have known you wouldn't like it.

  2. As I said on FB - it's awe inspiring and should make you reflect on the beauty and power of Jesus, even 2000 years later.

    If you are thinking "look at me" then I'd suggest you do some soul-searching and not be quite so cynical. That alone says more about yourself than those who put the cross up.

  3. For those of us who know the significance of the cross, it is a wonderful reminder of His love for us. A beautiful reminder to give thanks and keep our paths in His direction. If it bothers anyone, I would ask them "why?"

  4. Jim, you haven't said what you think about it.

  5. i think the key word here is "exception." what bothers me isn't the cross, it's that the church gets a pass on the rules governing everyone else. if this was just a business asking for a huge billboard, the answer would have been no. but because the billboard is for their imaginary friend, well, all the normal rules are suspended.

    that wouldn't even bother me so much if i didn't routinely hear conservative christians i know whine about "special rights" for homosexuals. fact is, religious groups have more "special rights" than any other group in the country. exceptions to zoning laws are just one example.

  6. I like it. It is not the only one like it though. I can't remember, but I have seen a couple just like it on some of my trips. Should they have used their money on the cross? Who knows? Yes the money could have gone to feeding more people. But this is intended to draw people to what they really need and that is forgiveness and salvation. It is funny how people who have not given a dime to the church is so critical of how they spend their money. We have our own church members complain about what our churches are doing, yet they won't attend a business meeting. So, they spent their money on what they felt led to spend their money on. I would bet they spend plenty of money on ministry needs too. As far as the council making an exception. I agree with the one council member who thinks they may open a pandora's box for billboards. Maybe the best thing to have done (this is hindset) would have been to purchase some property outside of town near I20 and put it there, where more people could see it on a daily basis. As I said, I like the cross and look forward to soon seeing it lit up at night the next time i am in the area. I have always been told that the cross offends the unbeliever. And I have always found this to be true. Someone is always going to fight someone putting up a cross. Just look at the ACLU.

  7. Andi, my thoughts exactly. Oh and wheeler, a billboard for an imaginary friend? I got to remember to use that one in a sermon one day. Thanks for the material.

  8. Andy, here is a thought. Is no opinion and opinion? Is indecision a decision? I was thinking about this the other day for a blog post.

  9. Couple of points:
    (1) Zoning law exceptions are made frequently. Just check your local police jury records.

    (2) Funny how people complain, but typically don't attend the public hearings, etc, to really make their opinions known.

    (3) Since almost all government sessions (federal, state, and local) are opened with a prayer, yeah religions tend to get more attention. Maybe if you can convince the people to open up with an "ode to homosexuals", then things may change. ;)

    Great discussion piece Jim.

  10. Possum you stink!....or is that a skunk..

    If I look at the cross, I will be reminded certainly of Christ. I have no idea if He would approve of spending money in that way...I tend to think He would not, but I think he would approve of their intentions. Anyway, the cross is there and is a moot point now me thinks.

  11. I LOVE IT!! When you see it standing there, it fills you with a peaceful, warm feeling. Thank you.

  12. Darrell, I may have been misunderstood. I said I don't have an opinion that I want to give.

    I've got one. I just didn't want to put it out there for a variety of reasons.

    You are on to something with the idea of a blog post about "decisiveness." It would be an interesting read...

  13. rex,

    yes, zoning exceptions occur frequently, but exceptions for religious institutions happen as a matter of course because federal law requires it. had the parish said no, the church could have sued, probably won, and the parish would have had to pay the legal fees. no other group or business gets that kind of power over zoning laws.

    as for point two, i don't live in bossier.

    as for point three, it's nice to see you admit that religious groups are typically favored over other groups. i think this is a problem. you, obviously, do not. but ask yourself how you would feel if instead of a 200 foot cross you had to look at a 200 foot minaret? there's no principalled way to object to the latter without also objecting to the former.

  14. I think everyone has some good points. Wheeler makes a good point about having to allow other exceptions.
    In the case of a minaret, I'm sure Operation Exodus would roll out the war wagon and take care of that one.

  15. Andy, I just was thinking, thats all. We all have opinions. Just something running through my mind. Wheeler: exceptions for religious institutions happen as a matter of course because federal law requires it.? I will have to go look up that federal law. I never heard of it.

  16. it's called the "religious land use and institutionalized persons act." rluipa for short.

  17. @wheeler

    Are you referring to RLUIPA as far as the zoning laws? If so, can you cite cases where "exceptions...happen as a matter of course..." in reference to structures as opposed to eminent domain?

    Actually I'm opposed to many of the strict zoning laws that are in place anyway for both religious and secular things.

    As far as a minaret, if a Muslim church applied for the zoning exception and received approval, then I would feel exactly the same on a political and community level. I would also feel the same from an architectural and aesthetic level if the design was inspiring.

    As a true conservative, I'm not a hypocrite and really do believe in the 1st Amendment "...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

    Would I be "inspired" on a religious or spiritual level? Nope.

    Nice try tossing out the red herring for "no principled way". :)

  18. Good point about the zoning laws. Their greatest accomplishment seems to be to create a beauracracy. Exceptions are very often sought and approved.

  19. Rex Moncrief said "If you are thinking "look at me" then I'd suggest you do some soul-searching and not be quite so cynical. That alone says more about yourself than those who put the cross up."

    Casting stones and being judgmental about someone you don't know. Nice move for someone professing Christianity.

  20. Hey Anonymous...maybe Rex misunderstood your "LOOK AT ME" comment.

    He could have taken it to be a back-handed slap at the Central Assembly of God church...kinda like "Look how much money we have...look how we can do what we want to" kinda thing.

    If you were just making a thoughtful, loving statement about the Cross, and the One that died upon it...I'm pretty sure Rex didn't catch it.

    To be honest, I did not either. So, if that's what it was...Amen, Brother!

  21. this is really huge,one of my faverout cross memorials. great post thanks for sharing


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