If a Survivor actually did the cross thing, do you think real life reaction would be as negative as Society Islands life reaction was?
I think you would see some very loud, very strong negative reactions from the named alphabet groups, along with a few others who decided it was a good time to jump in. (Protesting government officials weren't seen, but someone would have made a speech just to promote their own agenda and get in on the publicity.) Most of us are currently living in a country where people are screaming protests against a cancer vaccine because they think keeping women from dying that way is giving them permission to have sex. Using a religious symbol as a tool would get a lot of the same people upset and then bring friends. Never underestimate the power of people with no sense of humor -- or proportion -- or perspective.
Would it be as bad as it was for Alex? No way to tell, and it could be worse in some ways: she was isolated enough that shunning wasn't going to affect her, and she couldn't be laid off from a job for no cause when she was self-employed. But would something happen? I think so. It's basically a flag-burning issue with a religious element added: not with our symbol, you don't!
I think one of the smaller subthemes for the season became how faith is used as a tool (and lens). Phillip and Gary both use it to help build a foundation for their lives. Connie uses it as a weapon. (Remember, she helped unleash those particular hounds, encouraging the protest -- but they would have done it anyway.) And when you look at those protest groups and their tactics, that starts to sound really familiar...
WND would have been all over the premiere. Pat Robertson probably asked to have all the footage struck down... Cue the usual suspects.