Remember back in 2001 when President George W. Bush told Americans that “this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while”? That C-word, crusade, alarmed quite a few of us (Jews, Muslims, people with an appreciation of history), and Bush ended up taking some heat for the comment, especially in the European press. Historically, a crusade was a specifically Christian war; the word comes from a Latin root that means “to mark with a cross.” The Crusades were a stupendously bloody three-century-long series of religious campaigns to bring the Holy Land under Christian control.
All of which is background to this news flash: Campus Crusade for Christ announced this week that it’s ditching the name it’s used since its founding in 1951 in favor of a short, peppy nickname: Cru. The change will become effective in 2012. The organization owns the corresponding domain, cru.org, which currently rolls over to ccci.org.
Current name and logo
New name and logo
“Ministry leaders worry that the word ‘crusade’ has too many negative associations,” understated the subhed on Christianity Today’s article about the name change, posted on July 19:
“It’s become a flash word for a lot of people. It harkens [sic] back to other periods of time and has a negative connotation for lots of people across the world, especially in the Middle East,” said Steve Sellers, the CCCI vice president and U.S. national director who is leading the name change project. “In the ’50s, crusade was the evangelistic term in the United States. Over time, different words take on different meanings to different groups.”
Can’t argue with that last point.