Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Cross And The Water Tower

OK, this is kind of a review of a book I have not read or bought yet, but it sounds neat, and I researched the story behind the book. Here is a description from

"Every Christmas for 40 years, the little town of Wauconda displayed a lighted cross on its water tower. It was a tradition everyone looked forward to. But this year, the town found itself embroiled in a battle that caught them totally by surprise. Someone had complained about the cross on public property.

But thankfully, a children's club comes to the rescue. Casey Wilkerson, president of the Water Tower Club, calls members together to decide how to deal with the debate over the cross. They can't imagine Christmas without the symbol of the cross, so they come up with a plan.

The Cross and the Water Tower is a new children's Christmas story written and illustrated by teenage cousins and based on real events in 1989 in Wauconda, Illinois. That was when American Atheists challenged the village's annual practice of a lighted cross on the water tower. In the fictional account, local resident Thomas Birdie contacts an outside organization to come and help him get the cross removed. The organization is not named in the book, but its representative, William Hebert, interrupts a town meeting to declare, "We believe in a constitutional separation of church and state."
Hebert then threatens the town with a lawsuit and the town leaders realize they cannot afford a costly legal battle. Hebert gives them until Christmas Eve to remove the lighted cross, and officials comply with his demand. That's where the kids come in – with an ingenious way to counter the outsider's demand that the cross be removed.
Seventeen-year-old Patrick Mangan, co-author of the book, says, "The true story of the town's heroic stand was the inspiration for our book. Kids today inherit a culture hostile to our faith – and so we share this story with other children to give them hope and a positive way to deal with the attacks on Christianity they will probably experience."
"This is a great story," said Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association. "It addresses the reality of what the next generation faces in our nation, and it reflects precisely the kind of issues AFA has tackled for more than 30 years."
I googled the town name and a few key words to find out a bit more, and here is what I found from the Lake County Journal:
'The Cross and the Water Tower, A Christmas Story'

That’s the name of a wonderful new book that is based on a true memorable 1989 incident, or Wauconda fights back, as Your Friendly Columnist puts it.
Here’s what happened in Wauconda.For years a sturdy cross sat atop our water tower, and during the Christmas season it was lit by tiny Christmas tree lights. It was a positive beacon of faith and good will toward man.
One day a stranger with a different belief system from ours, who lived 50 miles away, showed up with the intent of getting the cross removed. He planned to go to court and fight, using the funds and power of a strong organization with his belief system and misusing the constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state. That doctrine really means that the federal government should not establish a church.Wauconda, however, did not have the money for a court battle.
So, the cross came down. But Wauconda residents fought back. Suddenly crosses started to appear all over town. On roof tops, in windows, on lawns - everywhere you looked there was a cross.
Last year, a few talented teens were so moved by hearing this story, they were inspired to write the book. It’s a fictional novel based on the 1989 incident. Patrick and Mary Mangan have written a wonderful book and K.P. Sullivan has beautifully illustrated it. A group of their teen friends helped with the research. It is a lovely book and would make a great Christmas gift.The book is dedicated to the 1989 residents of Wauconda. Your Friendly Columnist is happy to live in a country that honors religious freedom, and she’s proud to be a part of a town that fights for it. She is also grateful for our future that looks to be in good hands, if they are all like Patrick’s, Mary’s, K.P.’s and their pals."

I think the book sounds good, and may try to get hold of a copy some day. The thought that hit me when I read about the book, and then read the newspaper article, was why can't we be more like that? When the atheists cause the 10 Commandments to be taken from a court house, all of the Christians in that town should post the 10 Commandments. When it is a nativity scene, put out Nativity scenes. We are letting the atheists get away with too much, and though this story happened almost 20 years ago, it is refreshing to read about a town who didn't take it sitting down.