Something I have always wondered about but never pressed to find out is why does a group that embraces Christianity burn crosses as a symbol of defiance. Yes, I am talking about the Klu Klux Klan. Now before you all go, “oh no he isn’t going down that road”, chill, and hear me out.
What I can’t understand is how someone can embrace Christianity on one hand but promote defiling one of its more iconic symbols? Well I researched here and there and found some explanations. None of which put the puzzle pieces I have in my mind together for a complete comprehensible picture.
I managed to trace this cross-burning practice back to Medieval Europe, a time, it has been reported that the Klan idealizes as morally pure and racially homogenous. In the days before floodlights, Scottish clans set hillside crosses ablaze as symbols of defiance against military rivals or to rally troops when a battle was imminent. Though the original Klan, founded in 1866, patterned many of its rituals after those of Scottish fraternal orders, cross burning was not part of its initial portfolio of terror.
Author Thomas Dixon included a pivotal cross-burning scene in his 1905 novel The Clansman; in an attempt to legitimize the Klan’s supposed connections to the Scottish clans. Twenty years later, D.W. Griffith‘s The Birth of a Nation brought the Klan and cross burning to the silver screen. This movie is said to have jump started cross burning as Klansmen started burning crosses soon after to intimidate minorities, Catholics, and anyone else suspected of betraying the order’s ideals. The first reported burning took place in Georgia on Thanksgiving Eve, 1915. They have been associated with racist violence ever since.
Modern Klan groups have been careful to refer to the ritual as “cross lighting” and charge the media with using the term “cross burning”. The Klansmen insist that their fires symbolize faith in Christ. The days of so-called disciplinary burnings, they add, are long since over.
From the webpage The Official Website of the Knights Party USA, this is what is said about cross burning or lighting.
“The cross lighting ceremony is another example of how the national media distorts the Klan image. They purposely use the word “burn” because of the negative image that is conjured up in the minds of many people. To them it is a desecration, a desire to destroy the cross any attempt by hoodlums to use the lighted cross as a symbol of hate or a threat is strictly NOT advocated by The Knights. These acts are cowardly and counterproductive and are usually the actions of folks who watch too much late night television or Hollywood movies. Serious patriotic men and women never lower themselves to use the sacred cross in such a manner!”
First of all, I cannot believe they are referring to someone else as hoodlums. Second, I have not seen anybody setting fire to crosses but them. The website piece goes on to charge disturbed Blacks, Asians, non white Hispanics and Jews with burning crosses for fundraising publicity and insurance claims. Well it is a concrete fact that racism and hate are bastard children of ignorance and to stake a claim that African Americans and Jews burn crosses for insurance claims is definitely a racist and ignorant statement.
Still, nearly 1,700 cross-burnings have been documented since the late 1980s, many of them in the front yards of African-American families—although, in all fairness, the majority have been carried out by renegade racist cowards, rather than by organized Klan groups.
Moreover, The Klan needs to bone up on the definition of lighting and burning before they attempt to address just what it is they are doing with crosses.
Lighting – to illuminate, shine light on somebody or something.
Burning – producing fire or flame
When you set fire to something with no intention of extinguishing it, you set out to destroy it. There is no way around that one.