DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Belgian Red Cross locations have received orders to take down any crucifixes on the walls.
The Provincial Committee of the Red Cross in Liège, Belgium, sent out the instruction in an email last week to all branches in the country.
The international aid organization wants to remove religious symbols to affirm its secular identity. But some Red Cross volunteers are unhappy with the measure.
According to a November 29 report from Belgian website 7sur7, one Red Cross volunteer slammed the uncanny timing of this move, noting that it coincides with the Christmas or "holiday" shopping season — likewise something with Christians roots that has been highly secularized.
The volunteer complained, "Let things be as they are! We said 'Christmas holidays:' now, 'winter holidays.' The 'Christmas Market' in Brussels has become the 'Winter Pleasures.'"
André Rouffart, president of the Red Cross in Verviers, Belgium, felt the removal of crucifixes was pragmatic and uncontroversial. "I think it's a storm in a glass of water," he said metaphorically.
Rouffart explained that the decision was in compliance with the International Red Cross' standards of neutrality and non-discrimination. The goal of removing the crucifixes, he claims, is "to endorse no distinctive religion or race."
On Monday, a Breitbart report compared this move with other efforts in Europe to remove Christian symbols from the public sphere.
For instance, a French high court ruled in October that a cross must be removed from a memorial honoring Pope St. John Paul II. In the aftermath of the decision, government officials from Poland and Hungary both offered to take the concrete cross and put it to new use in their respective countries.
Modern Belgium is a highly secular country and a pioneer in the evils of euthanasia, as well as assisted suicide. In fact, the Belgian branch of the Brothers of Charity, a Catholic religious order, was in the hot seat at the Vatican earlier this year for allowing euthanasia at its hospitals.