Space City Skeptics

The Official Blog of the Houston Skeptic Society

Two 150 ft crosses allows Grace Community to claim Houston as theirs.

with 21 comments

I am personally not a very religious person.  I am also not ant-religion. However, I do get offended and a little worried when a particular church proclaims that the city I live in is theirs.

Just north of Houston, Texas is the Grace Community Church.  It is your average megachurch, except for a peculiar billboard next to the freeway.  On this billboard is a picture of a large cross and the proclamation:

Marking our city

After staring at this billboard everyday while I am stuck in traffic, I decided to check out what exactly they mean by “marking our city.”  I had assumed that they were talking about their complex of church buildings. They aren’t.  The city in question is actually Houston itself.crossproject_markhouston

Their intentions can be found on the church’s website. They are planning on building two 150-foot tall crosses, one on each side of Houston on  I-45.  According to the website (emphasis mine):

These will stand as a proclamation of the Grace of God over Houston with a prayer tower inviting people to pray for God to move in our city

There is also a quote from Lou and Paula Gallardo (could this be the guy from Amerisciences?) that says:

A cross at each end of the city is a great dream and will draw people to God in an unprecedented way. I want Houston to be marked for God.

I know I am making a mountain out of a mole hill, but it still bothers me.  The assumption that everyone in the city believes the same as they do disturbs me.  Or worse, they know that others don’t think the same, but they don’t care or they want to convert the nonbelievers.

More information can be found here.

Written by bort901

January 24, 2009 at 10:07 am

21 Responses

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  1. Ah, yes. I haven’t been looking forward to this. I live near one of the future locations of a giant cross. The thought of it really irritates me. However, it’s pretty par for the course when it comes to a lot of Christians…at least around here.

    There’s always this overwhelming assumption that only Christians can lead fulfilling lives. They think that folks who aren’t Christians either haven’t heard the “true” word of the Lord and will eventually “get saved” or they’re just cold hard hearted miserable people who are going to rot in Hell because they’ve turned their back on Jesus. So, I don’t think it’s so much that they don’t “care” that others have different belief systems so much as it a disbelief that people with different belief systems can possibly be happy.

    I was somewhat guilty of this myself when I was a believer. I honestly thought that Jewish people or Muslim people just didn’t get it. They were fooling themselves into believing that their religion was right…but I knew better. I had felt God’s presence and *I* could distinguish between the *really* feeling the lord, and just being delusional. I did believe that all non believers were unhappy.

    Funny thing is, I lost my faith a year ago and have now learned how very wrong I was. Not only am I not miserable, but I’m happier now than I ever was as a believer.


    January 24, 2009 at 5:48 pm

  2. I pass by the billboard on the north end of town twice a day. This irritates me to no end, and I would love how to see how this can be stopped. I don’t want to look at billboard of any type, but a 150-200 foot cross will be an eyesore.

    I also think a church spending this kind of money an an ‘in your face’ advertisement negates their claimed missions of healing the sick and feeding the poor. I have personal friends who struggle each day to put food on their table (we take them food or given them gift certificates to grocery stores) and people who can’t afford vaccines and routine doctor visits for their children. And this church is spending money on a cross.

    Every time I pass it, I think two things: first, you can’t think of any way to honor the creator of the universe except with a big metal cross; and second, yes, my dog marks things, too.


    January 25, 2009 at 7:31 am

  3. I wonder where exactly they will be placed, and if they will be violating any laws in that regard. The FFRF might be a good resource for this.


    January 25, 2009 at 8:00 am

  4. Ladymitris, I feel the same way about my own loss of faith. It was supremely relieving, and possibly one of the most sublime experiences ever. I have likened it to taking a deep breath of air after being underwater for a long time.

    I, too, would be interested to know if their plans violate laws or local ordinances. There would have to be a heck of a lot of architecture and foundational construction for two 150-foot structures! Have they really thought this through?

    The Perky Skeptic

    January 26, 2009 at 6:26 pm

  5. I just checked the map on their website and I’m very concerned. What will all of the poor Christians entering Housont on I-10 think when they don’t see a massive cross?


    January 26, 2009 at 8:27 pm

  6. I am especially looking forward to checking out their Heritage Museum:

    “The Heritage Museum will contain original documents on view from our Nation’s history. On display will be writings from our founding fathers, and other historical documents that speak to a person’s faith. The Heritage Museum will be a place where schools can bring classes and they can read the actual historical documents to make their own mind about what they believe. There will be a place where people who lecture on history can come and give lectures. The museum will be open to the public. Schools will be encouraged to come and take field trips to the Museum, bring their classes in and read the writings of our founding fathers. The Heritage Museum is about telling the truth and letting people come in to read and make up their own mind about our Nation’s history.”

    I can’t wait to make up my own mind about our nation’s history, and I’m sure that their propaganda and quote mining will help tremendously. I bet none of this actually happens, yet I doubt that the donated money will be returned.


    January 26, 2009 at 8:33 pm

  7. It doesn’t appear that any laws will be violated if the crosses are built however:

    “Situated on two 80 acre campuses that mark the entrance to the city from the south and the north along I-45, Grace has grown from 12 people in 1983 to over 12,000 active members today, with more than 100 ministries.”

    They will certainly violate the aesthetics and possible Houston’s Feng Shui.


    January 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm

  8. Wow. This sucks.

    I guess I’ll just have to go and mark their cross in my own way: the time honored method of marking territory employed by males of many species.


    January 30, 2009 at 7:33 am

  9. If there is no legal reason that they can’t build these crosses, then I guess the only thing left to do is to shame them into not building them. My wife and I have both sent emails to the church stating our opposition to the crosses. We tried to be as nice as possible.

    I agree with GeekGoddess in that this money could be better spent. What ever happened to WWJD? I know one thing, Jesus sure wouldn’t have built these stupid crosses.


    February 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm

  10. Maaaan, you know there is such thing in the web like search engine, if you don’t, go there to understand why this post is bullshit


    February 21, 2009 at 5:15 pm

  11. Aspittecype,
    Please explain. I have heard of google before and use it frequently. I don’t see the relevance.


    February 24, 2009 at 9:42 am

  12. Yes, I don’t understand what google has to do with these crosses.


    February 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm

  13. Sagemont church beat Grace Community church to the punch.

    More information about it here:

    On a personal note, my grandmother passed away recently. I had to drive past this cross every day on the way to see her while she was in the hospital.

    I know it doesn’t really matter, but, somehow, seeing that cross, along with hearing all the promises family members made of how they were gonna pray for her…made her death feel even worse.


    February 27, 2009 at 6:48 pm

  14. I can understand why. While they certainly mean well, offering prayers is no different than offering to throw salt over one’s shoulder or to go out and find you a nice fat rabbit’s foot. To me, it makes light of a grave situation with useless words.


    February 27, 2009 at 9:23 pm

  15. Personally, I think it sends a message of positivity in troubled times. Why should I be concerned or threatened about a symbol of peace and hope? There are a lot of things to worry about in the world. A symbol of peace and hope isn’t one of them.


    March 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

  16. One man’s symbol of peace and hope is another’s symbol of hatred and restriction of personal freedom. Obviously neither is entirely fair but I just wanted to make the point that the cross isn’t all that positive a symbol for many people.


    March 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm

  17. I drive by this twice a day. About two weeks ago, the sign was replaced with a generic ad for their Easter services.

    Geek Goddess

    March 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

  18. To those who say they have lost their faith, I am sorry. VERY, VERY SORRY. I am a believer (please read as “I try my often not nearly good enough best to follow Jesus’ example” not as “Christian” as is defined by many) and must say I despise the one cross I noticed on a visit to Houston this weekend. Trying to find which church it was, I find that there are more going up? I just don’t understand. I don’t know how much they cost (along with the church itself), but I can just imagine how many lives could be saved and changed with what that thing costs. Again I am sorry. Please do not associate all Christians with over-the-top extravagance and with serving ourselves under the guise of Jesus. Perhaps it does some good for someone, but I don’t see it.


    May 27, 2009 at 12:44 pm

  19. To say I lost my faith implies I am looking for it. I wrapped my faith up in a paper towel and placed it in the wastebasket. I know exactly where it went to.


    May 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm

  20. Many of the comments are based negativity towards Christians. Don’t focus on christians as they are mere flawed mortals, focus on Christ. He is the one that can save your soul period. whether you believe or not it won’t change the outcome. If you believed and there is no God, no harm done other then living a good honest life. If you don’t believe and there is a God, according to God’s word you will be condemned to Hell. pretty simple plan.


    September 6, 2009 at 9:59 am

  21. eagle-eye, thanks for your comments. I don’t think the comments were particularly directed at people who happened to be Christians, but rather should be focused on the supernatural belief system that they have.

    There is too much wonder and beauty in life to spend it believing in any sort of supernatural myths, including the religious myths. You are speaking of Paschal’s wager, and it’s been discussed and discredited over and over.

    There are hundreds of versions of gods, even in this country there are hundreds of versions of a Christian god, all demanding different things of his believers. They cannot all be right. The devout Muslim or Hindu is just as sincere and convinced of his loving god as you are of yours. You can’t all be right. You are not a Christian because you carefully studied every possible religion and chose it because it was the one with the most evidence. You chose it because you were either brought up from birth to believe it, or because you converted to it, and because you converted to the predominant religion of the country you live in.

    Geek Goddess

    September 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm

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