Annoying the Neighbors 101: Install a 24 foot illuminated cross and tell them “Jesus asked for it.”

I’ve mentioned many times in my various entries on religion that I generally don’t have a problem with most believers until their beliefs start to cause problems for others. This article is a perfect example of that concept.

Lowell Sun Online – ‘Jesus asked for it’

PEPPERELL—The cross is blue and stands 24 feet high.

And it’s illuminated, shining so brightly that it has been compared to the lights that road crews use for construction work at night.

“Jesus asked for it,” said Noel Dube, 83-year-old proprietor of the Our Lady of Fatima Community Shrine, which he founded 12 years ago next to his home on Heald Street.

Its light was bright enough so that the neighbors inside their house could read a book at night. Dube has since added backing to the cross so the light doesn’t shine directly into their home, but it still produces glare.

And because it was installed a mere 10 feet from the property boundary, the cross has revived questions about the legality of Dube’s intentions.

“It’s unneighborly, and that’s all I want to convey,” said the neighbor, Nancy Caldwell, an equine muscular therapist whose family moved to Pepperell for its peaceful rural charm.

The article describes the “community shrine” Noel Dube set up as being a collection of religious statues, grottoes, walkways, benches, gardens and religious artwork featuring a 60 by 20 foot mural of the fabled Fatime miracle as well as a three-story-tall painting of Jesus Christ. The 30 foot Jesus has already prompted one lawsuit from the city and neighbor complaints over the illuminated cross will likely start another. All of this because some poor old guy believes Jesus contacted him personally and requested this of him. I have no doubts that Dube sincerely believes he is acting in good faith on a request from a higher power.

To their credit the current neighbors have been pretty tolerant of all of this nonsense. At least until the lighted cross went in. Naturally, Dube is laying claim to his rights of freedom of religion as a defense for his shrine, which he estimates receives around 4,000 visitors a year.

There are a few parallels between this dispute and the dispute over “Roy’s Rock” in Alabama that you may have picked up on. Both Mr. Dube and Judge Roy Moore believe they are merely doing what God wants them to do, both believe they have received these tasks from personal communication with Jesus Christ, both shrines infringe on the rights of others (though in different ways) and both are laying claim to their right of “freedom of religion” as justification for their actions. The key difference being that one infraction was by a representative of the government of Alabama in a public building whereas the other is by a private individual on his own private property. Of the two, Mr. Dube probably has more of a legal leg to stand on than Judge Roy Moore. I also tend to think that Moore’s motivation is based more on the political mileage he gains from his grandstanding than anything else.

Good intentions or not, I don’t think most folks would want to live next to shrine that had a 24 foot Biblical beacon shining into their home all night long. For a lot of folks who are not Christian the two ton granite Decalogue in the Alabama Supreme Court rotunda is just as offensive and annoying as a 24 foot light up cross would be. Perhaps more so because it implies an endorsement by the government of Alabama for Christianity over all other religious viewpoints.

21 thoughts on “Annoying the Neighbors 101: Install a 24 foot illuminated cross and tell them “Jesus asked for it.”

  1. Couldn’t it be considered a nuisance if it is all lit up after say 10pm? I mean, I would be upset if it was on all the time keeping me awake. hmmm.

  2. I see this as a fairly clear infringement on the rights of others if he leaves it lit all night. He has the right to his religious beliefs, and he has the right to express them, but he doesn’t have the right to intrude on others in doing so. They shouldn’t make him remove it, but he should be limited to lighting it only during reasonable hours.

  3. Damn!

    It’s such a wonderful little town, too. I used to live in Groton, MA, which is right next door—rural farming community, great for skydiving, and mostly sane people… Except now for one, apparently…

  4. Religion was meant to bring peace and offer hope to humanity. It certainly wasn’t meant to offend, annoy and stomp all over people’s rights to a quiet evening at home.

    Some folks are definitely going too far. The implications of the stone monument reach much farther than just separation of church and state.

  5. Those of us who know lawyers who have practiced in Roy Moore’s court in North Alabama before he was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, know that he was not qualified then, nor is he qualified now to be a judge in traffic court.  Also, his actions in our fair state, from the very start were to establish his brand of religion in his courtroom…..ie. making people stand for “Primitive Baptist” style prayer in his district courtroom.

    “Beware of practicing your piety in public.”
    “When you pray, do so in private.”
    Jesus circa 30 AD

    I don’t know about you, Les….but a 24 foot cross in your front yard seems like a public display to me. So does a big ass monument of the Ten Commandments. These folks love public displays in order to “worship”.

    My husband says…” the Right Wing Fundamentalist church is the antichrist….Judge Roy Moore is a false prophet.”  He is so cool.

  6. Noel Dube is my uncle, always a very devout Catholic who lost his leg, muscles in one arm, and sight in one eye on the beaches of Normandy in World War II.  If you have read “The Longest Day”, you read about his prayers during preparation for the invasion. At his age of 83, having lived with his physical losses for almost sixty years, he continues, through great pain and without complaint, to serve his God as well as his country.  He continues to travel to France to commemorate the invasion and still visits with families he met there so long ago.  Were he to have an illuminated flag would anyone complain?  Noel has raised ten absolutely wonderful children and thrives in the love of his many tens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  The lighted cross makes no noise.  Room darkening shades don’t cost much.  As a servant to both God and his country, please consider giving this man some respect!

  7. Consider giving this man some respect? You mean like the respect he’s not giving his neighbors? And yes, I think even if it were a big illuminated flag people would still complain if it were as bright as that cross is. If you read the news article it’s clear that the complaint is with the amount of light, not with the shape.

    I can appreciate the things your Uncle has done in the past, but perhaps he should practice a little of the respect for his neighbors that you would ask others to give to him.

  8. if i were you i would destroy it and tell him the lord strickly instructed you to.since he is a believer thats it God greater than jesus, so i hope we can listen to his command first.I’m dube by surname and a catholic but i’m not ignorent usually dube people are of a higher degree of intelligence and very respectiful.

  9. I don’t think engaging in that sort of subterfuge and deception is justifiable and I doubt he’d be silly enought to accept the explanation you propose seeing as the man seems to think God wanted him to build it in the first place.

    Kind of an ironic proposal for a Catholic to put forth, don’t you think?

  10. It’s not about it being a cross!! It’s about the “Alaskan nights” being created in…where? MA? What if it were a 24 foot tall depiction of a chocolate chip cookie, which “illuminated, shining so brightly that it has been compared to the lights that road crews use for construction work at night”? There wouldn’t even be a fight on that one!!

  11. Good point Joye, the test of the problem should be in the annoyance it creates for his neighbors. If this was an advertising billboard it would be gone, no contest. The problem is with the timid superstitious people that are afraid of ending up in hell because they enforced the law whether it is a 20 ft cross keeping a neighborhood awake nights or a two ton granite monument in a courthouse promoting a single religious viewpoint.

    That is why people need to elect atheists to higher office, we aren’t afraid of things we do not believe in.

  12. Sir:

          You are the most biased,disrespectful person I’ve ever read about.For your information,The back side of the cross has been “blackened” out so there isn’t even the equivelent light of a nightlight showing through to the neighbor’s house.Find out and report ALL of the facts before you slander and/or disrespect someone!I personally have known Mr. Dube for many years and he could teach you a few moral things,you idiot.Get a real job and while you’re at it,a real life.Who do you think you are anyway?
    You didn’t report the story accurately,for sure so before you get sued over something,do your homework!Bonehead………….

  13. Wayne writes…

    You are the most biased,disrespectful person I’ve ever read about.

    First off it would help if you listed whom it is you’re addressing. If it’s me then you must not read much, this is hardly the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever written. Stick around and I’m sure I can offend you in new and amazing ways.

    The back side of the cross has been “blackened” out so there isn’t even the equivelent light of a nightlight showing through to the neighbor’s house.

    That’s great for the people living behind the cross, so what about the OTHER neighbors? Additionally, blacking out the back of the cross doesn’t eliminate reflected light from what is arguably an unnecessarily bright source.

    Find out and report ALL of the facts before you slander and/or disrespect someone!I personally have known Mr. Dube for many years and he could teach you a few moral things,you idiot.

    You’ll excuse me if I doubt your assertions.

    Get a real job and while you’re at it,a real life.Who do you think you are anyway?

    I’m someone who has an opinion and the right to express it. What more do I need?

    You didn’t report the story accurately,for sure so before you get sued over something,do your homework!Bonehead………….

    I’ve reported it as accurately as I could with the sources I had available. If Mr. Dube feels he has an actionable case then let him file for it if he so chooses to do so, but somehow I don’t think I’ll be getting a summons anytime soon.

    Oh, and learn how to type. The irony of being call a bonehead by someone who can’t even put spaces at the end of their sentences is overwhelming.

  14. Hi…………..I’m back! First of all,who told you,sir that the “cross light bothered anyone?………..I know where it stands and how much light is put out by it and,believe me NO-ONE has complained about it.It was a media thing and some “lost” neighbor” behind the cross that tried to sell her house for over $100,000.00 more than market value.She asserted that mr. Dube’s cross AND shrine in general was the SOLE cause of not being able to sell her “dump”……….Bet you,sir,didn’t know that! This issue also went to Mass. Superior(sp?) Court and guess who won?……….Mr. Dube.Like I said,research the WHOLE story,BONEHEAD!!!!!This all can be verified and if you care to RESEARCH the WHOLE story you just might see the TRUE story.You are wasting your time with this site.Do something constructive.Why,I bet you’re collecting off the system,even!(How do you pay your bills/taxes…..or do you?)………..Why not try a different thing,like doing nice things for people.We don’t need your crap on the internet,or anywhere else!
              W

  15. Wow, Wayne, you sound like the one who needs a life.  Start by moving out of your parents’ basement, going to school and learning about punctuation and proper capitalization.  Until then, don’t be surprised that no one takes you or your “true facts” seriously.  Mainly because no one wants to wipe your saliva-froth off them, you ranting twit.

    Bottom line:  If you don’t like this site, don’t visit.  Nobody’s putting a gun to your head or hijacking the web browser.  And last time I checked ICANN’s news releases, I didn’t see that they’d appointed anyone arbiter of what’s appropriate for the internet.  Most especially you. 

    Now scamper off to a site more appropriate to your mindset, like christianparty.net.  I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people just like you there.  In other words, people who don’t feel significant unless they can concoct some persecution complex, contrary to all reality.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go affix that “So many Christians, so few hungry lions” bumper-sticker to my car…  [extra-sarcastic eyeroll]

  16. I see Wayne is still trying to figure out how to type correctly, which is pretty amusing considering the content of his comment. I suppose I’ll have to dumb down this comment to a level someone of his stunning ignorance can understand:

    Hey Wayne, fuck off.

  17. Pingback: The Grinch Who Ended the “War on Christmas.” « Think Anarchy

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