I hope I would have the humility to remove it if anyone found it offensive, though. From this I discount my former Jehovah's Witness colleague, because lovely guy that he was, I don't care if I wind up the JWs in general. At least, not in any areas of specious and/or totally made-up theology. But in other areas ...
All this sparked by a recent blog post from Hal Duncan, a writer with whose work I am not familiar. An Open Letter to the Usual Suspects is a little more polemic than I would usually go for, and probably contains no words that your children don't already know (but let's not pass judgement), but it makes a couple of good points that I have not thought of before.
- The recent hoohah over the nurse forbidden to wear a cross with her nurse's uniform tends to miss the point that dangly jewellery is a good vector for germs and diseases, and her freedom to witness to her faith is not the same as her freedom to give her patients MRSA. I don't know if this has been taken into account or not, but feel it's worth mentioning.
- (The big one.) The cross really is offensive to some people with good reason - specifically, as cited by Mr Duncan, gay or transgendered persons who have been on the receiving end of so-called Christian hate. I also think of Palestinians who lost loved ones in the Sabra and Shatila massacres, children abused by priests ... I suspect the list could go on. Wearing a cross really is not going to get you any friends here. Hal puts it thusly: "every cross is a burning cross."
St Paul can bang on a little about the virtues of the cross, and he was no great fan of homosexuality, and if you asked him about transgendered people you would have just got a blank look. But he also gives the exemplary advice of 1 Corinthians 10:23-33: our freedom to do stuff with a clear conscience does not come at the expense of other people's hurt. Other people are more important.
I heard Nurse Chaplin on the radio this week saying that she put her cross on when she got confirmed and doesn't want to take it off again. She is proud to witness for her faith. Well, fair enough. But putting your cross away, if it genuinely hurts people, is a much more powerful witness than displaying it come what may.