Palm Bay, FL – A Palm Bay man has been hospitalized after setting up a cross burning display outside of his home and accidentally setting himself on fire.
The man, whose name was not released, was rushed to the hospital Tuesday night with serious burns, according to police. Friends and family said that the 50-year-old man was using gasoline to light a wooden cross on fire at his Wacker Avenue home “as a joke.” It was also apparently a Halloween decoration of some kind.
He caught on fire, and his wife rushed to the home’s water hose and attempted to put him out.
He is currently at the Orlando Regional Medical Center with burns over 40 percent of his body. He suffered second-degree burns on his upper torso.
Authorities told WFTV that the man had been drinking.
If cross-burning is some kind of joke, most folks aren’t laughing, notes the Christian Post. Long associated with the radical hate group the Klu Klux Klan, cross-burning is based on an old Scottish rite. In the words of influential Klansman and white supremacist Thomas Dixon Jr.:
In olden times when the Chieftain of our people summoned the clan on an errand of life and death, the Fiery Cross, extinguished in sacrificial blood, was sent by swift courier from village to village. This call was never made in vain, nor will it be to-night in the new world. Here, on this spot made holy ground by the blood of those we hold dearer than life, I raise the ancient symbol of an unconquered race of men—
We wish the Palm Bay man a speedy recovery. Drinking, fire and racially controversial iconography do not mix, sir.