Giant Houston crosses stirring controversy

July 10, 2008 9:54:35 PM PDT
A local church has a bold plan to put up giant symbols of Christianity at two entrances to Houston. That church feels it will present a positive message about Houston, but another church leader thinks it's a bad idea.Pastor Steve Riggle and Grace Community Church plan to a build two massive crosses. One would be at the New Grace Campus in Spring, the other at the Grace Church in southeast Houston.

"They'll be a minimum of 150 feet high," Riggle told us.

The crosses would tower over the North and Gulf Freeways, greeting visitors to Houston. Riggle hopes the crosses will counter messages sent by other symbols that line I-45.

"When you drive up and down the freeways of our city, you see a lot of sexually oriented businesses that speak to what I think is the side of our city that none of us really care about," he said.

"He's not going to get rid of the strip clubs by putting up two crosses," said Reverend Matt Tittle of the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church.

Reverend Tittle does not think giant crosses are a good idea.

"For any faith community to have a 15 or 20 story monument to their particular faith is unnecessary," he told us. "I think there's better ways to spend that money."

Tittle believes the crosses would be a waste of money.

"The similar cross that's in Illinois where I used to live cost about a million dollars," Tittle said. "And I can think of a lot of things to do with a million dollars besides put up a giant cross."

This concept drawing shows the crosses towering over a 60 foot wide globe that would in turn sit atop a prayer center. Riggle says Houstonians can go there to pray for the city.

"Our mayor, our city council, the fire department, the police officers. to pray for protection to pray for our business community," he advised.

"I think that's a great idea," Tittle countered. "But rather than a prayer center with a cross on top, why not make it an interfaith prayer center?"

The FAA is also involved. It still has to approve both of the proposed locations.

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