Feed on Posts or Comments 28 December 2014

Christianity Johnson on 19 Aug 2008 12:05 am

It is time to ban the crucifix in amusement parks, shopping malls, schools and other public venues

I went to an amusement park this past weekend. After parking, I walked to the tram that carried me to the front gate of the park. While on the tram, they played a tape that summarized park policies. This press release demonstrates the policies of a typical American amusement park:

Six Flags Announces Guest Code of Conduct for All Its Parks

In particular, this policy was given special emphasis on the tram ride:

Clothing with rude, vulgar or offensive language or graphics is not permitted at any time (shirts cannot be turned inside out as a solution)… Park admission may be denied if clothing is deemed by management to be inappropriate.

Policies like this are reassuring. Why would I want to have my trip to the amusement park disrupted by oafs wearing intentionally offensive apparel?

I was therefore shocked to walk into the park as an atheist and to be confronted at every turn by religion. Religious clothing was everywhere.

But the thing that was even more ubiquitous than the religious clothing was the crucifix. Crucifixes are worn on necklaces by men and women alike. In a typical visit to an amusement park, I imagine that the average visitor sees hundreds of crucifixes.

It is amazing that crucifixes are allowed in an amusement park that has a dress code. The reason is simple: crucifixes are highly offensive to anyone who is not a Christian. A crucifix is no different in its impact than a Nazi Swastika or a Confederate Flag.

Why are crucifixes so offensive? Because people who wear a crucifix are making the following statement:

“Anyone who does not believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection like I do will be sent to Hell – a place of unimaginable torture – for eternity. By wearing this crucifix, I publicly affirm my approval of this form of unending torture. Believe what I do, or you will writhe in Hell forevermore.”

That is the core message of the crucifix, and what a lovely message it is. It has even been proclaimed by Texas Governor Rick Perry according to this article: “those who don’t live their life in accordance with Christian values are ‘going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket.’”

The problem with the message is twofold. First, the wearer is proclaiming that eternal, unimaginable torture is acceptable. The repugnance of this proclamation is obvious. Second, the message separates Christians from non-Christians and then declares non-Christians to be sub-human animals deserving of such torture. The implicit Christian mindset thus becomes: If my “God”/”Father” despises non-Christians this much, why should a follower of God be required to extend any sort of respect or dignity to non-Christians here on earth? Why not begin the torture now?

It would be easy at this point to ask the obvious question: Why would Christians sign up for such a repulsive belief system? But there is no way to explain this. Christians always defend their beliefs, no matter how twisted, using some sort of bizarre logic. The story of Noah’s Ark is a perfect example of the process.

So instead we should ask this question: Why should Christians be allowed to display a message that is this cruel, ridiculous and offensive in a public place like an amusement park? Isn’t it time for non-Christians to acknowledge the message of the crucifix, and to ban the display of such an offensive symbol?

14 Responses to “It is time to ban the crucifix in amusement parks, shopping malls, schools and other public venues”

  1. on 19 Aug 2008 at 1:41 am 1.Snag said …

    I had never thought about the crucifix in terms this stark. But now that you mention it, you are right.

  2. on 19 Aug 2008 at 4:50 am 2.The Warrior said …

    Its sad to think that the world has come to this, christians on every street corner being alowed to preech and display what they want without EVER considering the thoughts of NON-CHRISTIANS. Makes me sick!!!!

    Great post and thanks for sharing!

  3. on 19 Aug 2008 at 8:16 am 3.just a blogger said …

    Here’s a thought. Let’s ban christians from the parks as well. Let’s get rid of those pantheists, too.

    No one but people who think exactly like you do will be allowed into the park.

    While we’re at it, let’s require white T-shirts only. No colors, no logos, no distinguishing characteristics whatsoever.

    Have we all become that intolerant? (remember, refusal to tolerate intolerance is also a form of intolerance.)

  4. on 19 Aug 2008 at 10:53 am 4.Lolrus said …

    I’m agnostic (for all I know God could exist, I just don’t care either way, tis a nonissue for me) so I’m admittedly not an expert on Christian symbolism, but I know you are way off base with what you think it means.

    The crucifix is most literally a representation of Jesus’s execution by Roman authority. The fact that its a symbol of the “one true faith”, that’s just one interpretation of the crucifix (specifically a fundamentalist one). A Catholic wouldn’t tell you you are going to hell. Their belief is radically different (if you live a good and honest life you will go to heaven whether you know of God/Jesus or not).

    A crucifix is really no different than a Muslim woman wearing a burqa. I find it offensive as it symbolizes Islamic disenfranchisement of women. Should we ban burqas too? How about yammulkas for Jewish folks? Should Hindu follows be forces to have clean foreheads?

    Your issue shouldn’t be that they’re allowing Christian things, but that they’re banning other things, which is a curb on free speech. I prefer to believe that everyone should be able to express themselves as they see fit, regardless of whether someone is offended or not. If I really want to wear a vulgar/racist shirt in public its my right to do so.

    Oh and its perfectly cool to wear something with a Confederate flag into Six Flags, I’ve seen some rednecks sporting rebel flags on their t-shirts.

    Also we must remember private establishments can set their own rules, not sure on the legality of it, but just like an office has a dress code, etc.

  5. on 19 Aug 2008 at 11:48 am 5.rzm61 said …

    ” Catholic wouldn’t tell you you are going to hell. Their belief is radically different (if you live a good and honest life you will go to heaven whether you know of God/Jesus or not). ”

    I think you’re a bit confused here. Either way it gave me a laugh.

  6. on 19 Aug 2008 at 12:40 pm 6.Ian said …

    Rather pedantic, but the point is well made and well received. We all know what would happen if a Christian read this though…further evidence to suggest that morality is based on culture not the ineffability of our sky daddy.

  7. on 19 Aug 2008 at 5:58 pm 7.Hittman said …

    You’re way off on this one.

    First off, your title is wrong. Amusement parks and shopping malls are not public venues. They are private enterprises that should be able to make any rules they like. Six Flags is a private enterprise. If you don’t like their rules, then complain to them and refuse to patronize them. That is the extent of your rights regarding their policy.

    Second, you make the mistake of assuming you know the thoughts and motivations of everyone who wears a particular piece of jewelry. Yes, some of them believe God Likes Them Best and delight in the idea of everyone who doesn’t share their superstition being roasted and tortured in hell forever. But others, probably the majority, are every day, run of the mill, Christians who don’t hate everyone who believes differently. Some people wear it out of habit more than anything else.

    “The reason is simple: crucifixes are highly offensive to anyone who is not a Christian. A crucifix is no different in its impact than a Nazi Swastika or a Confederate Flag.”

    Utter nonsense. I am not a Christian (I’m a hard-core atheist) but I’m not the least bit offended by someone wearing a crucifix. I’m likely to consider them a silly, superstitions person, but why should that offend me? OTOH, I AM offended by female Muslim garb, because it symbolizes how horribly Islam treats women. But I wouldn’t ban that either.

    Comparing a cross to a Swastika to a Confederate flag (three very different things with very different histories and meanings) is ridiculous, makes your argument sound stupid, and lets people call in Godwin’s Law.

    Would you like to wear a Flying Spaghetti Monster ornament or T-Shirt? Might that offend someone? Would you care?

    Someday the majority may leave superstition behind, opting instead for reason and logic. But that’s not going to happen in our lifetimes. We will be a minority for all our lives. As such, we need to develop thick skins. There are plenty of things worth getting upset about, but a private business allowing people to wear jewelry we (foolishly) find offensive isn’t one of them.

    People tend to lump individuals into groups, like you just did with Christians. I’d hate to see us Atheists get a reputation as being whiny.

  8. on 19 Aug 2008 at 11:21 pm 8.John said …

    I’m a huge fan of this site, but this post is WAY off base. Hittman said everything that needs to be said, so I won’t rehash it. But just wanted you to know that I’m another staunch atheist who completely disagrees with this post.

  9. on 20 Aug 2008 at 12:39 am 9.Simple Athest said …

    The post might go too far or maybe not, but 1 question for Hittman: “Would you like to wear a Flying Spaghetti Monster ornament or T-Shirt? Might that offend someone? Would you care?”

    Im no FSM thelogian. Does FSM tortur people 4 eternity?

    Pooh Bear on a T-shirt is ok. Pooh never torturs or kills anyone. Poohs a nice guy.

    God OTOH is big into tortur. Isnt a cross a symbol of tortur? If you say no, why not?

    Another one: “Some people wear it out of habit more than anything else.” Don’t some people fly the confedrate flag out of habit (or the swashtica)? r u saying that everyyone ought be able to wear a swastica at Disney World?

  10. on 20 Aug 2008 at 1:49 am 10.Pasta Lover said …

    The hypocricy stinks.

  11. on 21 Aug 2008 at 2:22 pm 11.The Warrior said …

    Hittman,
    [QUOTE]I AM offended by female Muslim garb, because it symbolizes how horribly Islam treats women. But I wouldn’t ban that either.[/QUOTE]

    Thats exactly the point being made in this Topic. Have you considerd the fact that SOME NON-Christians get treated unfairly when they are stopped on every street corner, waring there relgious jewlery, and forcing there religious nonsense down there throats, making rules in private or public places that offends non-religious people. Its pretty much the same thing here, we all get offended either way!! Why should they have to follow religious rules if we not agree with them, why should they. Christians seem to think that there rules govern the rules of the world just because there are so many, now, is that being fair?

    Just like you get offended by female Muslim garb and the way Islam treats women, Non-Religious people get offended by the Christian rule and the rules they set in place – expecting the rest of the world to live by them.

  12. on 21 Aug 2008 at 6:05 pm 12.Ian2 said …

    I’m a Christian, and I’d like to correct something here. This article’s poster, and indeed, this entire website, seems to take umbrage at certain aspects of Christianity. Let me address the one on Hell.

    Hell isn’t a nice place. Yes, it is said in the Bible that people who don’t accept Jesus as their saviour go to Hell. However, I disagree with the accusation that Christians delight in the fact that people are going to roast in flames for all eternity (as the popular perception of Hell is).

    The Bible tells us to feel mercy and compassion for these people, and to love our enemies as much as we love ourselves. Thus, the proper response would not be glee at the death of another person, but sadness at the waste of it all…and I do believe that of all the Christians I have known, not one is ever happy that family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances, or anybody indeed, are going to Hell.

    Just my viewpoints here, that’s all.

  13. on 24 Aug 2008 at 3:41 pm 13.Snag said …

    A perfect example:

    A Free Thinker is…

  14. on 24 Aug 2008 at 7:45 pm 14.Hittman said …

    “Im no FSM thelogian. Does FSM tortur people 4 eternity?”

    Nobody tortures people for eternity. Some superstitious people *believe* their sky daddy tortures people for eternity, but that’s their fantasy.

    ” Pooh Bear on a T-shirt is ok. Pooh never torturs or kills anyone. Poohs a nice guy.”

    But if the picture includes Piglet, it offends Muslims. A government office in the UK just issued a decree that no pigs of any kind can be displayed in the office, and specifically referred to Piglet. Is this the road you want to travel? Is this the class of people you wish to be associated with?

    ” God OTOH is big into tortur. Isnt a cross a symbol of tortur? If you say no, why not?”
    Some gods are, including the Christian god. So?

    Can I wear a V for Vendeta shirt? He tortured someone. How many rules do you want to apply to me and everyone else?

    “Another one: “Some people wear it out of habit more than anything else.” Don’t some people fly the confedrate flag out of habit (or the swashtica)? r u saying that everyyone ought be able to wear a swastica at Disney World?”

    You need to get some history into your cranium. The cross is entirely different than the confederate flag which is entirely different from the swastika. Treating them as if they are the same makes you sound foolish.

    To people who wear a cross, it is a symbol of hope and faith. Most of them are good people, people we need to get along with. YOU consider it a symbol of torture. That’s your problem, not theirs.

    My Piglet t-shirt is a symbol of filth to Muslims. That’s THEIR problem, not mine, and if they don’t like it, screw ‘em. Likewise, my problem with muslum garb is exactly that, MY problem. I don’t demand they conform to my whims.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said anything about wearing swastikas at Disney world. We weren’t even talking about Disney World, but about Six Flags.

    And again, what *we* think about the policies of an amusement park is moot. It’s not our property. We are guests of a corporation that can make whatever rules they choose. If you don’t like their rules don’t patronize them. And write them a letter, explaining that you are staying away because they let people wear crosses. I’m sure they’ll find that very entertaining.

    Religious people live with the fantasy of eternity. We atheists live with the reality that we’re only here for a very, very short time, an eye blink on the cosmic scale, and then we’re gone forever. We can spend that time enjoying life, or we can spend it pissed off at every real and imagined slight. Live how you wish, but for me, being pissed off is an occasional emotion, not a chosen lifestyle.

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