I guess these folks take a certain interpretation of Matthew 26:11* much more seriously than they do all the Biblical admonitions to care for the poor and needy. Seems the pastor of Hunter’s Chapel Holy Church of Christ saw a big cross in Tennessee and decided Walker County needs one too. The Christian version of keeping up with the Joneses. So he talked his congregation into supporting the idea of constructing a 100-foot cross, with a price tag of $232,000, that will be visible to drivers on the not-yet-built I-22.
“We’ve had a lot of negative things that people remember Walker County for,” [pastor Dale] Hyche said. “We just got through all the bingo stuff, and I think this would be a positive for people driving through Walker County.”
Yep, a giant cross will counteract all that bad publicity. But wouldn’t it be even better to raise funds to help the people who are so desperate for jobs that they welcome new bingo parlors with open arms? For a little perspective, The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham set up a $200,000 Housing Stability Fund in 2009 to help families facing eviction or foreclosure. That money kept over 200 families (some from Walker County) from losing their homes. That’s what $200K can do when it’s used to care for the least among us. You know, these people.
I doubt there’s any shortage of visible crosses in Walker County. It’s just as much a part of the Bible Belt as the rest of Alabama. To my mind, asking people in the community, many of whom are suffering economic hardship, to pony up that much cash to build another one doesn’t glorify God. It makes a point, I suppose — we’re Christians, yay for us! — but it doesn’t actually help anyone. Being the hands and feet of Christ in the world isn’t about building monuments to Jesus.
* When the woman in the Biblical passage anointed Jesus with expensive ointment, she was providing comfort to a fellow human being who knew he was about to face a horrific death. Not the same, as far as I’m concerned, as building a giant cross.