Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Branson Cross

It's difficult to know where to begin.  The Branson Cross "began" over a year ago, to the best of my recollection.  The billboard stands tall, north of town on the only highway one can take to travel into our little town.  I became interested out of curiosity at first.  But then some nagging questions began to surface.  "Who are these people?"  "What is their motive?"  "How can this be seen as welcoming to visitors who are not Christian?"  For example:  My neighbor is a very devout Catholic.  Why won't this cross have her Lord and Savior bound to it?   It won't speak to her.  It won't speak to Muslims, Buddhists, Jews or Atheists either, among the many other expressions of ones understanding of one's place in the Universe.

Some local data, to begin.  Branson has over 40 churches.  That information I found from, yes there is even a website.  76% of Taney Country identifies as Evangelical Christian.  This is a VERY religious community.  A.O.C.s (Anything Other than Christian) are not made to feel welcome as it is!!  A visitor to this town would be hard pressed to attend a show, for example, that doesn't end with a lengthy religious tribute...some even begin with a Christian prayer.  So it begs the question, "Why is it necessary to build a huge, monument to one narrowly defined idea of Christianity?"

As this developer has purchased the land and is free to do as he wishes with it, this is not about his right to commence with such a project.  It's about a great many other issues.  Just to name a few:  Taney county has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.  One in four young women in this town will find themselves pregnant before the age of 18.  The list of residents who can't pay their real estate taxes is unimaginable!!  Unemployment is staggering.  The homeless and the hungry IN BRANSON are growing in number week after week.  We have real problems in this cozy little tourist town.  We have real problems that $5,000,000.00 would go a LONG way in helping to remedy.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this developer is probably a staunch Right Wing Republican.  The Conservative model demands that government NOT intervene in such  problems as these on the local level.  Therefore, they speak of "pulling oneself up by one's boot straps!"  "Neighbor helping neighbor" (which I totally agree with) and finding local solutions to local problems.  If this $5 Million dollars does come to fruition, wouldn't it be better spent helping the communities of Taney County?  How is erecting a large, towering cross saying anything other than, "Look how pious I am?  Look at what a Christian City on a hill you are about to enter!!!"  For starters, such piety sounds an awful lot like arrogance to me.

1 Samuel 2:3 

Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

Proverbs 8:13 

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. 

Secondly, if Branson is a Christian City...well then, there are quite a lot of its residents who are not welcome, and yet still pay taxes (unlike any church in this town) and still fuel its economy day in and day out.  We help our neighbors and contribute to the well being of Branson any way we can.

So you see, this isn't about being "offended" by a huge monstrous cross on the highway, not at all.  It's about exclusion, division, arrogance and a total misunderstanding of what it means to be a member of an entire community.

In closing, I'd like all of the Branson community to look a little more closely at this project and see if it really is in the best interest of our little town, or is it truly just in the best interest of some guy who would really like to show the world just how pious he is, and what a "Good Christian" he is...while many members of this community benefit not at all.

1 comment:

  1. This is an affront to basic decency. It's terrifying that enough people exist so out of touch with reality as to think this is a worthy idea.