Why do the KKK burn crosses?

This may sound like a stupid question, but here goes…

Most members of the KKK are (if in name only) Christians. If so, why would they go around burning crosses, which is Christianity’s holiest symbol (maybe aside from the crucifix)? After all, if I (being Jewish) were angry at another Jew, I certainly wouldn’t go burn a Torah on his lawn. Why the desecration of their own holy symbol to spread a message?

Zev Steinhardt

Maybe Cecil Adams can answer this question.

Why does the Ku Klux Klan burn crosses?

Cecil wrote a column about this. See here: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_196.html

The origin is in Thomas Dixon’s racist, KKK-glorifying novel The Clansman, popularized by D.W. Griffith’s seminal film The Birth of a Nation. Dixon falsely attributed the old Scottish custom of burning crosses to summon the clans to war to the Reconstruction-era KKK. The real Scottish clans had used the X-shaped cross of St. Andrew, but Griffith and subsequent Klansmen didn’t know that and consequently used the familiar T-shaped Latin cross.

That’s what I get for not checking whether or not the Master had written on the subject.

Thank you for finding this for me Dr. Lao and Danimal.

Zev Steinhardt

Cecil was pretty complex. Let’s just say it’s to shine that light across the land.