A longtime Murrieta resident and father of a former state senator had a visible white cross installed on his property before Christmas, but he plans to keep it on display all yearlong.
Dan Hollingsworth, whose son Dennis Hollingsworth represented California's 36th State Senate district from 2002 to 2010, had the large cross painted on the rocky hillside behind his house and above Clinton Keith Road. Although city officials have said no complaints have been filed with the city, some neighbors have contacted Patch to express their concerns with it being visible from their homes while many other residents have complimented the cross.
Hollingsworth said he did not need the city’s permission to create the cross and he does not have plans to remove it.
“I was just painting on our rocks,” said Hollingsworth, who has lived in Murrieta for 23 years. “It’s all on private property.”
Hollingsworth had a friend create the cross, which he said is about 70-100 feet tall and 300-400 feet from adjacent properties.
“I thought that if people look up here and see that cross that maybe they’d think about discovering the claims of Christ and understanding that he’s the only way they can have eternal life and get with God,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s through him; he died on that cross over 2,000 years ago.”
Visible from Interstate 215, Hollingsworth said the cross took about a week to paint, was completed the Friday before Christmas and then decorated with lights.
Murrieta resident Doug Laramie said he enjoys seeing the cross when he runs along California Oaks Road in the early mornings.
“What a great time of peace and reflection while running that early in the morning,” Laramie said. “I usually love looking up and seeing all the stars, but I now really look forward to the stretch of my run that includes looking up and seeing that cross.”
Adam Huber, who lives in nearby Greer Ranch, said he first noticed the cross while driving with relatives from Egypt. He said they were “amazed” that someone could erect a cross on their property.
“[The cross] reminded me that I am very lucky to live in the U.S. where freedom of speech/expression is a right,” Huber said.
Others enjoyed the hillside more without the cross.
One neighbor who questioned whether the cross adhered to city code declined to comment for this article.
Nearby resident Megan Cusack, who lives on Via Madrid, called the cross an “eyesore.”
“I have nothing against crosses, but I think it looks like graffiti on the hillside,” said Cusack, who can view the cross from her bedroom window. “If Hollingsworth wants to put a cross on his property, spend a little money and erect a large wooden cross on the top of the hill with proper lighting. Respect the cross and make your display meaningful. If you're going to do it, do it right and with respect to the citizens who are forced to look at it every day.”
While Hollingsworth plans to remove the Christmas lights, he said he has no plans to remove the cross because he hasn’t heard any complaints. Instead, he said he’s only received compliments from friends.