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Austin Cline

What Does the Red Cross Mean?

By August 20, 2006

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Some people seem to think that the red cross which is used as a symbol by the American Red Cross and International Red Cross is a Christian symbol - and therefore that these organizations are Christian in character. I don't know why, but these people don't seem to realize that cross are and have been used as symbols outside of Christianity.

Media Matters reports:

[A]ccording to the American Red Cross website, it was “[i]n honor of the Swiss ... [that] the symbol of a red cross on a white background (the reverse of the Swiss flag) was identified as a protective emblem in conflict areas.” While the cross on the Swiss flag originated in the 1200s from “a symbol of the Christian faith,” according to the Swiss Embassy in the United States, the Red Cross makes no mention of Christianity as a reason for adopting the symbol. ...

In addition to stating that its symbol was chosen as the reverse of the Swiss flag, the American Red Cross website adds that “[t]he Red Cross idea was born in 1859, when Henry Dunant, a young Swiss man, came upon the scene of a bloody battle in Solferino, Italy,” and that the “emblem was adopted at this first International Conference as a symbol of neutrality” at the first-ever Geneva Convention at Geneva, Switzerland, in 1864.

Media Matters put up this information to explain how Bill O’Reilly was incorrect to use this as an example for why it’s wrong to remove the large Christian cross from Mt. Soledad in San Diego. O’Reilly isn’t the only person who thinks that the red cross is a Christian cross, though — that appears to be a belief held by many Muslims and why Muslim organizations use a red crescent. Vehicles with a red cross on them might be targeted as a Christian vehicle in wrong place. Thus, Christians like Bill O’Reilly who are trying to defend Christianity are making the same mistakes as non-Christian terrorists who would like to attack Christianity.

The irony of this is truly astounding.


Separation of Church & State:


Christian & Religious Privilege:

August 20, 2006 at 5:21 pm
(1) John N. says:

It certainly hasn’t helped that fundamentalist Christian and now Senator Elizabeth Dole was once the head of the American Red Cross, implementing negative changes, but that’s a matter for another article.

August 30, 2006 at 2:41 pm
(2) Todd says:

It’s not a cross it’s a plus sign! If hackers formed a nation their equivalent would the the Red Plus Plus.

/tip your waitstaff

April 15, 2011 at 4:25 am
(3) Disturbing says:

I recently went to a Red Cross meeting; it was explained that the red crescent represents Islamic regions and the diamond between the red crescent and the red cross represents Hindu regions. Why isn’t the christian faith not apart of this organization? Is it because the christian organization have their own humanitarian works or that the Red Cross whats nothing to do with christianity?

June 7, 2012 at 9:50 am
(4) Amanda says:

People mistake things all the tine. Why would someone get so defensive about this?

November 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm
(5) War says:

It is confusing because most people think of a “cross” as the Christian symbol, the murder weapon. The cross or plus sign on the Swiss flag is actually a symbol of the Christian faith as well so the red cross flag, a symbol which is derivative of the Swiss flag, is also a Christian symbol.

The plus sign is in all aspects a cross in the religious sense and does represent a specific religion on the Swiss flag as well as the red cross symbol. I might as well be in the shape of the murder weapon itself more traditionally presented by religious people. There is a red crescent flag and a red star of David flag as well, clearly religious symbols which were made as alternatives it the Christian cross or plus sign on these flags.




May 30, 2013 at 10:03 pm
(6) isaac not ishmael says:

To show your ignorance on Christian matters….. Bill Orielly is no Christian. John 3:3,5,7… You must be born again, not of the flesh, but of the spirit. Orielly shows no sign of being a new creation, or any spiritual revelation that comes only through the Holy Spirit…. A saying for all atheist- An atheist can’t find God in the same way a thief can’t find a policeman! …….. Seek & u will find!

June 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm
(7) Austin Cline says:

Bill Orielly is no Christian.

He’s no less a Christian than you are.

An atheist can’t find God in the same way a thief can’t find a policeman!

You’re basically accusing atheists of being criminals, which is as bigoted as being a racist or an anti-Semite.

June 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm
(8) Jeanne says:

Some Christians will try to find a cross in just about anything to further their cause. Some even claim that the laminin protein which holds cells together is shaped like a cross and to them that proves that Christianity is holding people and civilization together. These are probably the same people that see Jesus or Mary in tree fungus or think that one of the teletubbies is gay.

July 12, 2013 at 11:05 am
(9) Jimmy Hoffa says:

“While the cross on the Swiss flag originated in the 1200s from “a symbol of the Christian faith…”

So… long and short of it. The Red Cross symbolizes Christianity and the cross that Christ died on.

Boy, that must really get your goat.

July 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm
(10) Austin Cline says:

So… long and short of it. The Red Cross symbolizes Christianity and the cross that Christ died on.

Only if you deliberately avoid looking at the very next sentence – in other words, if you lie to yourself in order to preserve some delusion of religious relevancy.

Boy, that must really get your goat.

That religious believers lie to themselves and not just to others? Not in the least. I expect it.

October 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm
(11) john says:


February 5, 2014 at 11:09 am
(12) Nelson says:

What a bunch of wishwash that artical is. Dunant (founder of the red cross aswell as YMCA, UNESCO and other orgs.)was a very devout Christian from Geneva which was deeply rooted in Christian faith. It was his Calvinist upbringing that inspired him to want to treat all injured despite their religion. That is a Christians duty. The commitee however,didnt like his ideas of being neutral so the barred him from it to make a long story short. And the swiss flag, along with others that use the cross on them like England for example, are all based on Christianity. As the matter of fact, most hospitals if not all were founded by Christians doing their Christianly duty. You can probably remember when there were nuns working as nurses back in the day. Then came the atheists to steal the credit and boot them out. Red cross, same story. Same with the education systems.

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