A "faith over fear" charitable effort where people are putting crosses wrapped in Christmas lights in their yards during the COVID-19 crisis is spreading around the nation, though some have misinterpreted what it is.
In an effort that appears to have its origin at an evangelical church in Byron, Georgia, locals have been selling wooden crosses in order to raise money in order to buy snacks for medical staff at local hospitals. Since many are presently unable to attend church due to state government bans on large gatherings, some are placing crosses in their yards with Christmas lights on or shining spotlights on them, Christian radio host and commentator Erick Erickson explained. Several of Erickson's neighbors in his neighborhood did this in their yards.
When Erickson bought one and put it in his yard after wrapping it in Christmas lights — which he posted on Instagram — Newsweek published a story based off commenters who suggested that the illuminated cross was a "burning cross" like what Ku Klux Klan members used to place in yards in order to terrorize black people in decades past.
Commenting on the Newsweek story and internet trolls who accused him of burning a cross on his lawn, Erickson observed that at a time when Christians are focusing on the resurrection, they remain disliked and misunderstood as a people. He added that he would be buying more lights.
"What is true right now is that Christians need to be the light. We should be way more focused on the resurrection even outside Easter and not just on Sundays and we should be willing to extend grace even when it isn’t returned to us," he wrote Monday.
The placing of Christian crosses in yards has extended beyond Georgia.
"I think placing these crosses in our yards just has kinda given us something to take our minds off of everything and to put our minds and center our minds on God. Crosses lit up with spotlights, some people have made crosses with their porch posts," said Shelli Gibbons, a resident of Hart County, Kentucky in a Saturday interview with local ABC affiliate WBKO.
Gibbons started a Facebook group called "Faith Over Fear" which had approximately 1,500 members as of Saturday. She reportedly got the idea to place crosses in yards to symbolize faith over fear from a pastor friend in Georgia.
"There is even a guy that shared he has a cross on the front of his semi-truck because that's his main home," she said.