Validating religious symbolism…with a poll

This is a cross in Middleboro, Massachusetts. It’s on public land in the town.


Would you believe that the people of the town stupidly looked at that and decided there was no conflict at all between a great big Christian symbol that says OBEY WORSHIP and secular government? None at all. Let’s just pretend that that is a secular message.

They have a poll, of course. It was apparently going very much the wrong way yesterday, but Cuttlefish has had his minions shredding it. I’m just coming along to administer the coup de grace.

What’s your take on the Middleboro cross?

It’s a religious symbol that has no place on public property 53%

It’s an appropriate expression of religious freedom 46%


  1. Randide, Mais il faut cultiver notre jardin says

    *Looks again to make sure that my car isn’t in picture*

    Always good to see my hometown get a little “love.”

  2. Randide, Mais il faut cultiver notre jardin says

    It’s also worth noting that Middleborough also passed a “No swearing in public” law in 2012, and kind of has a Cahulawassee River Valley feel to the entire town. The cranberry bogs, on the other hand, are beautiful.

  3. stevem says

    I thought Cuttlefish had more “minions”. I just voted and the results showed only 302 votes have been cast (so far) (i.e. at 9:12AM EDT). Still only 54% agreeing that it is “religious symbol that doesn’t belong on public land”.
    I am disappoint ;-(

  4. borax says

    I think there is an argument to remove it based on it just being plain ugly. I’m not a brick layer, but given the same number of bricks and mortar, I think I could create something more interesting and pleasing too the eye.

  5. Cuttlefish says

    I am only a very little Cuttlefish in a little pond, Steve.

    Thanks for the big splash, PeeZed!

  6. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hmm…wonder what the vote would be if it was a crescent saying worship?

  7. consciousness razor says

    Well, it’s not enough to win my pointless vote, but I guess it technically might be an “appropriate expression of religious freedom,” since these people always seem to mean power when they say “freedom,” while failing to acknowledge when it means exerting power over others or dominating over all of “creation.” Thus, fetishizing the torture device/torturee, as well as attaching WORSHIP/OBEY/KNEEL BEFORE ZOD/etc., would all be perfectly cromulent ways of expressing this sense of “freedom.” But, of course, sometimes a Kiwanis logo is just a Kiwanis logo. I’m not sure if this is one of those times.

    And maybe I’m being too picky, but I think that cross is ugly as fuck. For one thing, the red bricks are way out of proportion. I mean, I get that you don’t want to be so cheap you cover it in vinyl siding, but for fuck’s sake, you’re not building a house anyway. At least slap some paint on that shit so the seams aren’t so noticeable. Who wants to stare at that for… 50 years???

  8. says

    Hey, anyone know the link to the video of PZ giving a talk about science in the US and it starts with the huge college football stadium and talks about how republicans weren’t always anti science? My search is failing me and I wanted to see that again.

  9. stevem says

    re 15:

    What if they just changed the “O” to “A” (i.e. make it into “WARSHIP”)? Just hang a couple “legs” onto that “O” to make it look like an “A”. {twirling mustache, “That’s the ticket.”}

  10. Freodin says

    I’d say it is an appropriate expression of religious freedom…

    … as long as you place a big sign saying “No, thank you.” next to it.

  11. David Marjanović says

    It’s a religious symbol that has no place on public property 59%
    It’s an appropriate expression of religious freedom 40%
    Total votes: 356

  12. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    I”m sure it hasn’t escaped notice, but I’d like to explicitly point out how ugly and poorly crafted that cross is: That cross is ugly and poorly crafted.

    Remove it for that reason if no other. (And there’s plenty other reason to remove it.)

  13. saganite says

    Yeah, ugly bricks and all-caps sheet metal lettering. This looks like it belongs next the to altar to an industrial revolution factory owner (worship your overlord, no weekend bonus pay, children work extra). When I see that, I think huge, brick-red smoke stacks, not churches. It also belies the “Jesus loves everybody”-warble most church communities like to (at least outwardly) go with these days, replacing it with a simple, assholeish demand.

  14. sundiver says

    62% to 37% with 380 votes. BTW, what kind of omnibenevolent deity demands worship. I mean, isn’t respect and/or worship earned? Ooops, forgot, whatever it is these people think they worship hasn’t had the decency to actually, you know, exist .

  15. anuran says

    Would they be just as cool with “religious freedom” if it were replaced by a pentagram, an eight-spoked wheel or calligraphy saying “Mohamed is the Messenger of God”?

  16. elpayaso says

    somehow that item just screams for a bit of street theater in the interim. space alien cruzyfiction? inverted jebus? smiling and waving jebus singin “look on the bright side”? etc

    alternatively, it helps make the case for private drone usage

  17. jnorris says

    I offer my condolences to the citizens of Middleboro for not having any private property owners or churches willing to host this rather ugly stack of masonry.

  18. says

    I think there is an argument to remove it based on it just being plain ugly. I’m not a brick layer, but given the same number of bricks and mortar, I think I could create something more interesting and pleasing too the eye.

    Many religious people bring up the works of art produced in the name of Christianity when they talk about how wonderful religion is, but monuments like this, and many others I have seen make it clear many Christians love ugly, tacky things. I get the feeling their esthetic tastes are more in line with cheap, nasty Kate and William commemorative plates, or Thomas Kinkade paintings.

  19. says


    Kiwanis. What kind of animal is that?

    White peoples thinking they were clever to coopt Ojibwe language. They mistranslated, of course. They took a phrase which means foolish, wanton; to make noise, and adopted it, thinking it meant “we build”. Foolish animals.

  20. chigau (違う) says

    old movie quote
    In Lilies of the Field the German nuns are writing to various charities asking for donations.
    Lions, Elk, Moose and … Kiwanis.
    I saw that movie when I was about 10 and have never since heard the word ‘Kiwanis’ without asking myself that question.

  21. RFW says

    If someone erected a near-identical structure in Middleton. Mass. but adorned it with a crucified cephalopod instead of that cheap tin “WORSHIP”, the furor would be enormous. And the furor would include screams that the cross is a religious symbol, hence should be exempt from mockery.

    Special alert for citizens of Middleton: it’s a religious symbol; you know that; we know that. Stop lying about its significance.

    At a slightly deeper level, what I smell here is a population that doesn’t realize the world has changed since 1957 and things that may have been acceptable then are not acceptable now. That population is almost certainly dudes now in their seventies or eighties, who were in their twenties or thirties when this horror was first erected. It’s a common mistake among the elderly to fail to recognize that times have changed and what used to work doesn’t work anymore.

    Here in BC, at one time there were lots of TV broadcast relays established and run by amateurs to overcome the issues associated with highly mountainous terrain. These days, what with cable and the web, they’re no longer of any use – but in some cases, those involved (now all quite elderly) just don’t get that their efforts, once useful and admirable, are no longer either. Precisely analogous situation, absent the religious element.

  22. unclefrogy says

    I would bet my last dollar that the age of the men and women who erected that sign were in their 40’s and 50’s at least when they erected it and now the majority are like;y dead already if it has indeed been there for 54 years ago. so now it is part of the traditional character of the town but it is still clearly a religious sign on government property and should be removed.

    uncle frogy

  23. David Marjanović says

    It’s a religious symbol that has no place on public property 76%
    It’s an appropriate expression of religious freedom 23%
    Total votes: 646

  24. nathanaelnerode says

    Seriously? This is worse than the usual crosses on public land. It’s not a gravestone. It has no artistic merit. And it has the word “WORSHIP”, written as a command, in giant letters on the middle of it! How could anyone have ever thought that this could possibly have been acceptable? What was going through the minds of the lunatics who put it up in the 1950s?