Who’s cross?

THERE is a strange anti-religious hysteria going on. In this curious world, wearing a veil is sometimes tantamount to issuing a challenge to a fight. And so is wearing a cross.
Why are public signs of religious faith so offensive?
What the secular cultural elite seem to find most objectionable about religion is that it is able to express a powerful sense of faith. And that is sometimes seen as subversive in a society insecure about its own values.
We once considered one’s right to display religious symbols a freedom.
When did we start caring so much about whether someone was outwardly Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Hindu?

Wearing a religious symbol gives notice to others, and awareness to yourself, that life has transcendent meaning.
There are always ways around silly restrictions.
Christians are forbidden to wear crosses in most Muslim-controlled nations but a contractor in the Middle East got around that problem when he asked a local jeweller in a Muslim country to make three gold fish necklaces.
Second century Christians used the fish symbol to avoid persecution when identifying themselves to other believers.
The Muslim jeweller, who had no idea of their real significance, later reported he was now making them for Muslims who thought the fish symbols fashionable.
Jewish groups have been campaigning to remove crosses outside the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz. They were placed there to commemorate a visit by Pope John Paul II several years ago.
But there is one cross at Auschwitz that will always stay.
It was etched on a wall in cell 21 by a Polish resistance army officer before his execution. It’s not a political symbol, but it is a statement, then and now, of hope.

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6 thoughts on “Who’s cross?

  1. This is the treaty of Umar Bin Al Khattab with the Christians of Jerusalem.

    In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. This is the assurance of safety which the servant of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, has given to the people of Jerusalem. He has given them an assurance of safety for themselves for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and healthy of the city and for all the rituals which belong to their religion. Their churches will not be inhabited by Muslims and will not be destroyed. Neither they, nor the land on which they stand, nor their cross, nor their property will be damaged. They will not be forcibly converted. No Jew will live with them in Jerusalem.

    The people of Jerusalem must pay the taxes like the people of other cities and must expel the Byzantines and the robbers. Those of the people of Jerusalem who want to leave with the Byzantines, take their property and abandon their churches and crosses will be safe until they reach their place of refuge. The villagers may remain in the city if they wish but must pay taxes like the citizens. Those who wish may go with the Byzantines and those who wish may return to their families. Nothing is to be taken from them before their harvest is reaped.

    If they pay their taxes according to their obligations, then the conditions laid out in this letter are under the covenant of God, are the responsibility of His Prophet, of the caliphs and of the faithful.

    – Quoted in The Great Arab Conquests, from Tarikh Tabari

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    • And which branch of Christianity did those Christians whom the Muslims tolerated belong to? Because the Byzantines were Catholic before the Great Schism and Greek Orthodox after the Great Schism. History tells us that there were other branches of Christians that were not aligned with either Catholic or Orthodox churches. These had more in common with the Protestants of the 16th Century than either Catholicism or Greek Orthodoxy.
      Among these were the Coptic Church, the Nestorians, the Assyrian Church.

      In fact protestant reformers saw Islam in the book of revelation described under the image of scorpions designed to be the sting and scourge of the Roman Catholic/Greek Orthodox world.

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  2. I do like symbols. They make a statement of where someone stands, enabling us to honour that without a prior amount of misunderstanding. Religious ones are obvious, but status symbols are also useful.

    But religious or status, they don’t cut any ice at the Pearly Gate. I doubt we wear them in the after life.

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    • “But religious or status, they don’t cut any ice at the Pearly Gate. I doubt we wear them in the after life.”

      Spot-on Strewth 🙂

      I loved the thought of wearing a crucifix but always held off from doing so because I felt that I was unworthy, as in a lot of respects, I didn’t live as a Christian ought to. Then came the day in my early forties that I felt I was a good enough to wear one. It was a special crucifix I had picked out for my birthday, and I wore it with pride.

      Well, during ‘Bible Studies’ classes, I realised one day that I had been unconsciously taking my crucifix off from around my neck, every day for a whole week! I was puzzled as to why I was doing this, so I asked God to show me why. BIG MISTAKE!

      As clear a message as I’ve ever received, this is what the Lord said to me, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God!” Ouch! God was not impressed with me.

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    • Actually, the Catholic Knights of the middle ages used to wear the cross as part of their uniform. In my homeland Serbia, we were told that the origin behind this practice was Jesus’ command for His followers to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him.
      Which is fair enough, but when they massacred innocent people, they failed to understand that they no longer represented Christ and the ideals of Christianity, notwithstanding the fact that they were wearing the cross as the symbol of the one who said “My kingdom is not of this world”.

      And now we have Mel Gibson with the film “The Passion”. As soon as the film was released, crosses were sold as a fashion accessory to such an extent that Christ and the significance of His death and resurrection were buried under the “fashion of the passion”. Meanwhile Mel Gibson sends a message similar to Hitler with his diatribes against the Jews.

      Thus wearing religious symbols is meaningless, in the context of Christianity. In fact I would say that it is an insult to God. Whilst people wear religious symbols, they ignore that the covenant with God is not based on what symbols they wear but rather a new heart and a new spirit within themselves; a work which God does.

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  3. A symbol should not be about boasting about ‘being one of these’, but often it is, such as with status symbols. It should be about showing admiration and respect for something. A cross worn should not be about boasting how good the wearer is.

    Anyway – “There are so many things I would rather be than good. I would rather be engaged. I would rather be humble. I would rather be genuinely provocative. I would rather be present. I would rather be interdependent. I would rather be challenged. I would rather be wise. I would rather be real. It will never be enough. It will always be worth the discomfort.”

    http://www.onbeing.org/blog/there-is-no-honest-rest-all-the-things-i-would-rather-be-than-good/6983

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