Bill Vandergraph’s Bald Knob Cross of Pedophilia

I had a Knobber, and Jesus said suffer the children

Well, well, just down the road outside Alto Pass on the way to Anna-Jonesboro is the big ugly KKK cross signaling to African Americans that they aren’t welcome in Union County Illinois. It was a warning light to African Americans traveling along Hwy 127 that they should just keep on going to Cairo, don’t stop in Anna (which local lore erroneously states was named that because there “Ain’t No Niggers Allowed”).  The white Anglo Protestants built the cross in the early 1960s (after a long fundraising drive after Brown v. Topeka….), and it was basically a rotted-out plywood wasp nest. Unfortunately, it has a steel infrastructure or it might have burned down in one of the many cross burnings on the side of Bald Knob. Instead of letting the thing rot and rust, local fundamentalists, aided by the local press and many local conservatives have sought to rebuild the big ugly cross, rather than donate the land to the Forest Service and give the people of the United States a nice camping area adjacent to the Bald Knob Wilderness Area and Trail of Tears State Forest.

What a shocker to learn that the grandstanding Pentecostal minister, Bill Vandergraph who took over the effort to rebuild the big ugly cross (pushing out a nice little old lady who is not a child molester) was just arrested for sexual assault on a child. Details remain sketchy, but my local sources suggest the victim was a four year old.

To add to the insult, these Christianist Cretins just got $30k from the bankrupt State of Illinois to pursue the work of Jesus in making a KKK symbol on land that should be absorbed into the Shawnee National Forest. That this “tourism grant”  is blatantly unconstitutional seems not to phase local conservative Christianists, including the editor of the So. ILL. “newspaper.” Yes, Jesus wants you to fuck children, then shove it in our faces. Thanks.


10 Responses to “Bill Vandergraph’s Bald Knob Cross of Pedophilia”

  1. Steve McKeown Says:

    I doubt this correction will see the light of day, but I thought I would offer it anyway:

    The Bald Knob Cross of Peace has never had associations with racism or the KKK. Conversely, African Americans were among the earliest supporters of the Cross. The Deal Brothers (black smiths from Murphysboro, IL) were African Americans and sat on the ORIGINAL board of directors. Jim Deal was situated between the Wayman Presley (the visionary) and Delyte Morris (then SIU President) at the groundbreaking in 1959 … check out the historical pictures online. In fact, an African American church asked for the privilege to dig the foundation for the Cross and they did so by hand, lifting buckets of debris one at a time. African Americans were among the earliest financial supporters as well. In fact, it is among the oldest standing monuments in Southern Illinois that began to break the stronghold that racism had on this part of the country. Simply said, your article above regarding the history of Bald Knob Cross is completely baseless.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve McKeown
    President, Bald Knob Cross of Peace

    PS An African American choir supplied the music last Easter at the Cross service. We are currently searching for a descendant of the Deal Brothers to be the keynote speaker of the next Sunrise Service.

  2. sherkat Says:

    Well, now why wouldn’t I put your ideas forward! It’s interesting, and maybe somewhat accurate…but, it’s an accurate depiction of the racialized politics of conservative Christian domination in Southern Il. To claim that a giant white cross erected in a rural area doesn’t have some kind of racialized flavor is just a tad hard to swallow. Why? Protestants aren’t even supposed to be into ostentatious displays of public piety. Many think the display of the cross and such constitutes idolatry! The purpose of those erections back in the 1950s and 1960s was to send a signal….a racialized signal.

    And, baseless? Your buddy Vandergraph should be in jail right now, and for the rest of his life. People, like you, who like to shove religion down other people’s throats often wind up being the worst kind of people in every way.

  3. Van Says:

    You’re harsh dude, but I like it:)

  4. Colonel Says:

    The wife and I took a ride to the top on our bikes, (motorcyles, too damn old to pedal!), and enjoyed the location and the view. The only impression we got was a peaceful place in the boonies . No klan, and didn’t get bugged by Bible-thumpers.

    Overall, an inspirational sight, good vistas of some really pretty country.

    It’s a shame that a nice place gets associated with a pervert, but I’ll not hold that against the site, or their restoration project. I hope they put a bad chapter behind them, and go on to do good work.

    By the by, we were given directions to the place by two nice African American ladies in Murphysborough, who were quite fond of the place.

    Tolerance is the key here. There are those who of course, that would find a cross offensive no matter who put it up. Some hate Christmas, some like to fly planes into buildings, neither of which denote a live and let live attitude, or tolerance of others.

    The world at large is a pretty amazing place. Lighten up and enjoy the ride!


  5. sherkat Says:

    I guess us 20% of Americans who aren’t Christian should just lighten up and stop complaining when our scarce tax dollars are used to build religious monuments for other people’s religion. I suspect you’d feel differently if the State of Illinois was giving $30k to the Nation of Islam to build of bust of Louis Farrakhan.

    I’d really like to see these people donate all that money to the Union County Child and Protective Services. Their people have already done an incredible amount of harm to children in Union county, and instead of building a frivolous monument they could at least try to make amends for the damage their leader did to the community.

  6. Colonel Says:

    Other than the accusations against their alleged pervert in chief, I’m unaware of the wrongs alleged to have been committed by “their people”. Unless that is, they’ve harmed the community by constructing the cross, that I’m not buying.

    Funds coming from the state for this project IS out of line, and should be returned. Local politicians cozying up to their constituancy via “pork” is wrong, but from locally to Washington, it’s what politicians do, until voters complain long enough and loud enough. The time it takes to accomplish this is enough to try anyone’s patience, but it’s the right way to go. In the sceme of things, as far as government waste goes, 30k isn’t even a drop in the bucket, and someone probably thought it was going to go unnoticed.

    Do I still advise a big dose of chill? Yes. If you let emotion carry the day, you lose sight of logic, you lose the right to the moral high ground even if your cause is just. Do I still advise tolerance? Again, yes. We cannot rightfully demand, what we are not willing to give. That’s not only part of any belief system I ever heard of, it’s just common courtesy.

    By the way, I’m a Native American, with a multi-racial family, and no, I’m not a practicing Christian either.



  7. sherkat Says:

    Thanks, Colonel…You’re right, I gotta let it go.

    These guys got me back when they took over the Cross stuff from this little old lady. The fundies from this pervert’s church pushed her out in a most unwholesome manner. This was a nice old lady from a big family down here who volunteered to do the finances for refurbishing the cross. She was definitely putting in funds and not taking them out! However, she didn’t obey normal rules for doing that for a religious foundation (which is what the Bald Knob Cross groups are and have always been), and the fundies jumped all over her and sued her to take over the cross renovation project.

    I get you. I was always ok with these old people from Alto with their cross and stuff. I even rode my bike (non-motorized) up there many times and even once for the Blessing of the Bikes! The older people who used to run the board were cool! Vandergraph and the other hard core fundies pushed them out. I haven’t ridden up there since….

  8. Colonel Says:

    Thanks for the info SherKat, I had no idea of all the conflicted history surrouding the site. Man, of all the silly crap to fight over!

    If the perve gets a guilty verdict, maybe he’ll get a dose of his own “kindness” that they showed the old lady. I’m a strong believer in you reap what you sew….he’ll get his!

    Again, thanks!
    Take care.


  9. jason Says:

    I am a life long native of Southern Illinois. I do not claim any religious affiliation or connection to the cross other than a fond observer and an admirer of the cross’ beauty and symbolism.

    I am offended anytime someone suggests that Southern Illinois is a racist community. There may be an incidental amount of controversy surrounding the cross, ownership, ect.. but at the end of the day any claims of kkk connections or racism couldn’t be more off base.

    Whether you are a Christian or Muslim, the fact remains that Southern Illinois is a beautiful area with friendly people. This is America and if you are intimidated or imposed upon by the sight of the cross, then don’t look at it, It may have been repaired in part with tax money, but you have failed to mention the revenue it generates as a tourism attraction. Furthermore, it is unfair to hang the failings of one man on a monument that was built and still stands for everyone to enjoy as a symbol of peace. Nobody is cramming anything down anyones throat. I believe everyone should be able to practice their own beliefs, if you knew where you stand with yourself maybe you wouldn’t have time or interest in spreading hate and lies about something that was built to symbolize peace. What does that say about you. Beat up Vandergraph all you want and i would agree with you,but that is separate from the Cross.

    As for the cross being stolen from a “little old lady”, well, the proof is in the pudding, it was about to fall completely down until it changed hands and today it is almost completely restored to its original state, giving plenty of people from all over the world a reason to come buy gas in southern illinois and discover why so many of us love to call this place home.

    The new cross management made the repairs almost as soon as they assumed power..Why didnt the little old lady do that? You are free to believe whatever you like, but believing there are some hidden affiliations or meanings behind the Bald Knob Cross of Peace makes you no more than a shit stirring conspiracy theorist. If you are so anti-racist and accepting then why does the cross intimidate you so much? If someone wanted to draw connections between things i think there is ample evidence to connect self proclaimed “rednecks” (careful, you call yourself iranianredneck)to racist activity. As for me, I love Southern Illinois and i am happy to see the cross gleaming once again. Its a huge sign to the world that Southern Illinois is not a racist, backward place stuck in the past, but a special beautiful place that is accepting of everyone.

    Thanks for the platform.

  10. schmielt Says:

    That’s funny – ‘Don’t look at it’. Isn’t the point of building such a humongous symbol so that people have no CHOICE but to look at it? Get real!

    Whether it generates revenue is not mentioned in the prohibition against government-subsidized religion found in the Constitution, and so should not be relevant in determining whether public money can be used to pay for it.

    The cross is a symbol of peace like the Inquisition was a peaceful protest movement.

    Southern Illinois is a beautiful area with friendly people who blame all of Carbondale’s problems on “Chicago thugs with guns” and “criminals from the city” (who do you think they mean by that? White suburbanites?), and has a history of violently expunging black people from their communities and passing laws to keep them from moving in, many of which were still on the books until well into the 20th century, and many of which were still “unofficially” enforced even after they were forced to take them off the books by civil rights legislation.

    You may want to believe the cross symbolizes “non-racism”, but it was historically used to symbolize exactly the opposite, and with claims of divine backing, as well. Why else would they have used BURNING CROSSES to drive black people out of town, or intimidate them into doing what the racial order required? Do a Google image search of the terms Klan and Cross and you could easily quit your job and spend the rest of your life reviewing all the results. Just because you want it to symbolize something nicey-feeley doesn’t actually rewrite history.

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