AFA selling burning-cross Christmas decoration

White American, and proud of it?

Not sure what to put out in the yard this Christmas?

Want to express your lurve for the Real American Family?

The American Family Association has just the decoration for you.


Let Your “Light” Shine For Christ This Christmas Season!
Looking for an effective way to express your Christian faith this Christmas season to honor our Lord Jesus? Now you can…. with the “Original Christmas Cross” yard decoration.

Light up your front yard, porch, patio, driveway, business, organization or church this holiday season with a stunning Christmas cross.

[via Dispatches from the Culture Wars.]

Categories: religion, violence

Tags: ,

41 replies

  1. I saw this via Jill from Feministe on Facebook yesterday, and was too disgusted to write it up. Way to totally dismiss recent race related history in your own nation, American Family Association.

  2. I thought the idea was to put it in someone else’s yard. Doesn’t it defeat the purpose if you burn it in your own—rather like putting a horse’s head in your own bed?

  3. Scary stuff…So much the ‘Peace on Earth’ sentiment that’s supposed to be going on this time of year.

  4. You wouldn’t THINK it was possible to miss the KKK/cross-burning connection, but given the target market there’s a small but significant chance they may have…

  5. You didn’t have a good take on this one.
    With public displays during the holiday season on the wane in America, people put more of this in yards.
    An observant Christian would do a display of a cross or creche, a Jew a menorah, etc.
    It would make as much sense to interpret seeing something that showed a family celebrating Eid with being a terrorist.
    Bad call on this one.

  6. @ Kim:
    Kim, you are missing the point that it is a BURNING cross. Any other sort of cross would not be a problem.

  7. In case readers without the context are still lost:

    This organisation is a conservative fundamentalist hate group based in Mississippi.

  8. Y’see, not knowing anything about the AFA, I don’t know whether that’s convergent evolution or not.
    Either way, it does seem insensitive: It’s *not* a ‘burning cross’—they’re fairy lights, not flames—but surely anyone in the US knows about the KKK and what that ‘decoration’ looks like. However, maybe they haven’t made the connection?
    I prefer other types of Christmas art myself.
    rpg’s last blog post..There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

  9. rpg: as I mentioned one comment up, they’re a conservative fundamentalist hate group based in Mississippi. Mississippi and Tennessee were KKK heartland from the start, and the reborn White Knights of the KKK started there. They had a public rally right in Tupelo two months ago.
    missi ssipp iwhi tekni ghts (remove spaces) dot com slash firstpage.htm (warning)
    Whether there is membership crossover I can’t say, but ignorance is highly unlikely, and I’m confident that this organisation will dogwhistle to its heart’s content.
    The AFA boycott companies who won’t say “Merry Christmas or put religious paraphernalia on their December advertising; they’re anti-immigration and anti-Semitic; they were huge donors to Yes on Prop 8; they’re currently hyperventilating about why whether Teh Muslims voted for Obama (Gloss: “Is it because he’s an Islamist, a terrorist, a seekrit Muslim, a Democrat, or all of the above?”); they whine about Christians being “oppressed”. Yadda yadda.

  10. Thanks for the heads-up, L.
    I did read and note ‘fundamentalist hate group’: I do, however, like to have corroborative evidence. And while I don’t agree with the AFA’s stance on many things (I can’t say ‘all’ because I haven’t taken the trouble to go through everything of theirs 😉 ) I’m still leery of guilt by association.
    You might accuse anyone who puts fairy lights on a cross of being KKK. You’d be wrong. I would object to such a thing, sure; but on the grounds of taste, not because they’re KKK.
    rpg’s last blog post..There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

  11. You might accuse anyone who puts fairy lights on a cross of being KKK.

    I did not do this. Nor did I accuse the sellers of being KKK. I’ve tried hard to say exactly what I mean in this thread. The aim of the elaboration was to explain my rationale for not believing that there is ignorance of the symbology on the behalf of the sellers.

  12. Hokay, I can go with that.

  13. And apologies if I came over a bit hard-arsed: while fighting nut-jobbery is an essential task, I’m very aware that we have to make sure our standards are impeccable when we do it.
    rpg’s last blog post..Name that tune—2

  14. Speaking of hate groups like the KKK, there’s been a disturbing amount of hate crime in reaction to Obama’s victory.
    The Southern Poverty Law Centre says there have been hundreds of instances of racist actions directly linked to Obama winning the Presidency:
    The Southern Poverty Law Center also have a map of where these hate groups are:

  15. @Laurhel I still say that you have been far to generous in your appraisal of this image. I cross lite up like that on a front lawn is reminiscent of the crosses burned by the KKK. If they wanted a Christian symbol, what is wrong with a manger scene? This is evoking white pride and fear. I don’t see what other way this could possibly have been interpreted.
    @rpg if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.
    Renee’s last blog post..For PETA Women Have Their Uses

  16. If they wanted a Christian symbol, what is wrong with a manger scene?
    That’s a joke, right?

  17. @ rpg:
    Why? I see plenty of them every Christmas.

  18. Because if there’s a uniquely Christian symbol, it is a cross. It’s perfectly appropriate at Christmas (fairy lights, well, yeah. Bleh.)

  19. @ rpg:
    But Christmas is all about celebrating the Nativity of Jesus, so surely a manger scene is actually far more appropriate than a cross, which should really be kept for Easter?

  20. Why?
    The Nativity means nothing without the Crucifixion. That’s the point they’re making. That’s also the point of the art link I posted above.
    Now, you might not agree with the christian message, you might not believe any of it—and you’re completely within your rights to do that—but any theology of the Nativity that pays no attention to the Cross is substantially incomplete.
    From a mainstream christian viewpoint (by which I mean it’s not just the wingnuts, it’s pretty—hah—fundamental) the Cross is the message of Christmas.

  21. rpg, I’m repsonding to your characterisation of Renee’s suggestion of a manger scene as “a joke”. Again, I see lots of manger scenes around in people’s house decorations every single Christmas. Of course I understand why some people would prefer the cross, and they are within their rights to do so, but why characterise the manger scene as “a joke”?

  22. Because the ‘christian’ symbol is a cross, not a manger scene.
    If we can absent all thoughts of the KKK from the discussion (this little bit of it), then I have a great deal of sympathy for the idea of displaying crosses at Christmas—if I were into iconography, which I’m not, but let that slide for now. To say “If you want a christian symbol, display a manger” makes the argument quite forcefully for displaying crosses (not burning ones. Let’s get that straight).
    They didn’t want a “christian symbol”. They wanted the Cross, with all that implies.
    (Actually, I think the AFA want the money they’ll get from selling a glitzy bit of tat and don’t give a monkey’s fart about the symbolism. But that’s a different issue.)

  23. rpg, none of what you say above addresses why you characterised Renee’s mild suggestion as “a joke”.

    They didn’t want a “christian symbol”. They wanted the Cross, with all that implies.

    They wanted a cross that specifically used “candle globes” that simulate flames rather than any other sort of fairy light, with all that implies.

  24. Because, Tigtog, I didn’t think that anyone would seriously suggest using a manger *instead of a cross* for a christian symbol.
    Silly me.
    I remain unconvinced that it’s a deliberate reference to a KKK symbol. If it is, well, then add my condemn to yours. Absolutely.

  25. Because, Tigtog, I didn’t think that anyone would seriously suggest using a manger *instead of a cross* for a christian symbol.

    Even though, in actual practice, domestic Christmas decorations feature manger scenes far more commonly than they feature crosses?
    Seriously, when have you ever seen a cross as part of a domestic Christmas tableau? I cannot remember *ever* seeing a cross amongst the other Christmas decorations. Most people go with Santa rather than Jesus at all, but if they do go with Jesus they show baby Jesus in the manger.
    That’s why suggesting a manger scene is in no way a joke, it’s asking simply why don’t these people do The Usual Thing?

  26. Yeah, I see where you’re coming from, and from my point of view it’s a pissing shame that not doing the usual thing is associated with this race-hatred symbolism.
    You see, I would *love* to see challenges to the usual Christmas chintz, just as Betjeman did: and sticking a cross up in your yard is actually a reasonable way of saying “Wait a minute folks, why don’t we think about the ‘Christ’ in ‘Christmas’ a little bit?”. Not, necessarily, as an evangelistic tool but as a wake up call to christians themselves. So, maybe I am a little over-sensitive to the appropriation of the cross as a race-hate symbol, when to the christian Christmas is actually meaningless without Easter.

  27. Just as a little experiment– I typed both “Christmas cross” and “Christmas Manger” into Google. The top results pertained to the AFA cross we are discussing, a Christmas picture book, and one company that sells cross-shaped tree ornaments and jewellery. However, most of the hits were for Christmas cross-stitch patterns, Christmas cross-words, and some “Christmas Cross-Examination” thing– ie, they weren’t actually about crosses at all. “Christmas manger” resulted in a plethora of different results, from different companies and personal sites about creating nativity scenes, right down to page 37 of the search (it goes on longer, but I didn’t look farther than that).
    So– results that actually refer to Christmas crosses: 3
    Results that refer to Christmas mangers: >370

  28. (rpg, I hadn’t seen your most recent response when I posted those Google results– I apologise if it comes across as laying it on after you’ve acknowledged Tigtog’s point.)

  29. No worries Beppie. Your data again, I think, make a point—but maybe not one that we’re discussing here.
    And I’d like to take the opportunity to say how much I love that photo of Helen Mirren.

  30. sorry, that should read “should be discussing here”.

  31. I think there’s been a lot of talking at cross-purposes here (although I’m glad that you love the Mirren)

    So, maybe I am a little over-sensitive to the appropriation of the cross as a race-hate symbol,

    Again, it’s not that it’s a cross, it’s that it’s this particular flaming-look cross.

  32. and dammit, I didn’t include the image I wanted to illustrate the point: I don’t think anyone would object if it was this cross, for instance.

  33. OK, I can live with that.

  34. Actually, I just repeated (half) of Beppie’s experiment. Up high on the list was a piece by a Baptist pastor from two years ago. He puts a lit cross in his yard, but one year he

    cloaked the cross entirely in red lights. It was my attempt to emphasize that the blood of Jesus was shed on the cross to pay for mankind’s sin. A visitor to our home commented that she thought it looked like the flaming cross of the Ku Klux Klan.

  35. Sometimes Christmas lights are just that….Christmas lights.
    Of course it is lit up. 😉
    This was a long bow.

  36. @ Kim:
    Kim, is this particular cross with the burning candle-globe effect necessarily a blatant intimidatory attempt to evoke an image with a particularly repugnant racist terror campaign history? Nope, not necessarily.
    Is it, at the very least, an insensitive choice of an image with a particularly repugnant racist terror campaign history? You betcha, especially coming from an organisation based in Mississippi.
    There are plenty of other ways to illuminate a cross that don’t make it look like the KKK came to visit.

  37. Lit crosses on front lawns evoke the KKK. No matter it’s historical or religious connotations that is what they bring to mind and it is inappropriate. To put this in perspective, how about if it were not a cross lets say it was a swastika..we all know that is the symbol of light, but its meaning has been so perverted that such a suggestion would immediately be attacked. Having a burning cross on your lawn evokes the same sort of thing.
    Expressing Christian belief with a manger scene would have gotten the message across without offending or harming anyone, but then that was not the intent was it? They could even have put a Christ like figure on the cross to diffuse the whole burning KKK symbol but they did not. It is exactly what it looks like, a symbol of racism and terror.
    Renee’s last blog post..Blogging Awards

  38. Why do people like this have to live in Mississippi? At this rate, everyone will think we’re all like this!

  39. RPG, the cross ISN’T a uniquely Christian symbol. The cross is actually a pretty common symbol. Ever heard of an Ankh? Odin’s cross?
    The problem with this cross is its design. There’s a reason cross decorations like this have their lights along their sides, rather than sticking out. The color scheme is bad too – if it was multicolored, like christmas tree lights, it wouldn’t be a problem. As-is though, its pretty much like putting out a sign saying “I’m a part of the KKK!”
    Then again, the difference between the AFA and the KKK isn’t all that great; they’re pretty much the same sort of people with rather similar ideologies. They just emphasize different parts of “white Christian”.

  40. Not just Hoydenizens made this connection, they just got a mention on The Daily Show.
    Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..Unwarranted Intrusion


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