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Church Crosses Get Updated as Cell Towers, But What Message Does It Send?

cross in longwood, floridaDoes God like cell phones? For a couple of churches in the U.S., religious iconography has has been updated with high-tech function, and that sends quite a message. Rolling Hills Moravian Church in Longwood, Florida partnered with T-Mobile last month to propose a cross-shaped cell phone tower, although we gather that it's still under debate by the county. Even more recently, St. Gregory's Episcopal Church in Parsippany, New Jersey got a new steeple (that happened to be embedded with a cell tower, also provided by T-Mobile) to replace the one destroyed by a storm 30 years ago.

The Longwood cross/tower had residents up in arms, but not because the 130-foot structure would have a religious icon dominate the skyline; neighbors are more worried about the aesthetic of a massive cross, and what it would do to their property values. The St. Gregory's steeple is minuscule in contrast, and the parishioners are more than happy that T-Mobile would pony up the cash in exchange for a little bit of cell phone radiation.

We think it's wonderful that a cash-strapped church got its steeple replaced, and bizarre that the chief complaint in Longwood is aesthetics, but we wonder if there isn't some unintentional symbolism conveyed with cell-tower-powered crosses. Does it mar the purity of an icon to imbue it with quotidian function? Would a smaller object, like a cross-shaped fork and knife set or Virgin Mother USB drive, be considered sacrilegious for relegating the divine element to a common piece of consumer detritus? We think Luis Eslava's Maria USB is intentionally and cheekily blasphemous, but can a radiation-emitting steeple be considered unholy, or is it just a modern take on the Holy House? [From: Orlando Sentinel and Daily Record]

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