Freedom of Religion is for Christians too

I read an article yesterday about how The Freedom From Religion Foundation is trying to get a nativity scene taken down from a display outside of a courthouse in some town in Texas.   Why?  Because it has the baby Jesus in it.  Well, what did they expect it to have in it?  That is what a nativity scene has always been about.    They state that it is offensive and should have a sign with it that says,

“At this season of the winter solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

There are a few things here that just don’t make sense to me.

1-  In an effort to encourage free speech, they have actually stifled it.  Why are they getting bent out of shape for a decoration that celebrates a holiday that the majority of Americans celebrate in one way or another? This is not a public mandate to worship Jesus, it is a representation of a holiday that is being recognized.  The word Christmas has Christ in it for a reason.

2- Their claim that “reason” must prevail sets them up as smart and the rest of us believers as fools.  It is offensive to assume that those who don’t adhere to this atheist mindset are not reasonable.  To say there is only the natural world is, well, narrow minded and should maybe come with a disclaimer also.

3- No one is stopping their winter solstice party.  If they want to have a celebration of the solstice, then go for it.  Having a nativity scene on public land is not going to inhibit that celebration.  No one will post a sign on their solstice decorations stating that worshipping something other than a living God is a waste of time and superstitious, even though it is.

As a youth pastor these things are consistently coming up in schools.  Every year I hear from many students about how attacked they feel among their friends and teachers when they share their faith. Christian students have faced ridicule and sometimes fear of punishment for their positions that they have taken in class or in papers on various topics.  The claim is that “you can’t say that here.”   This, naturally, makes it that much harder for them to actually speak up for what they believe in. The irony here is that they are being belittled and mocked by the people in the schools that are supposed to be encouraging tolerance and acceptance of all.  Where is the tolerance for Christians?

This is not a surprise to us, after all Jesus warned us about this.

“All men will have you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Mark 13:13

What does surprise me is the hyperactive desire to keep people from being offended.  Atheist groups don’t have any special privileges in their disbelief, otherwise that would be an established religion.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. –  First Amendment of the Bill of Rights

Students are allowed to pray, read their Bible and talk about their faith in school. This is something I encouraged and pray they do more of.   A nativity scene on a courthouse lawn does not make a law establishing religion.  Saying “Merry Christmas” or calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree are acceptable things to do.  If someone gets offended by the name of Jesus, that is their right.  It is, however, our right as followers of Jesus to make Him known.  In fact, it is our privilege!

“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10

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18 comments

  1. “A nativity scene on a courthouse lawn does not make a law establishing religion. ”

    No. But it is a tacit approval of a religious symbol by the government. If every kind of religious and non-religious displays were allowed on the courthouse lawn, then it would be fine. If only the Christian one is, then it’s against the law. Simple as that.

    1. My point here is that this group is getting upset about this because it is Christian. If anyone else wanted to put up a display for their holiday, that would be fine. There is no indication that any other group wanted to, but I would suppose it would be allowed. I am not saying that other religions can’t express their beliefs, just that Christians should be allowed to also.

  2. It is not a matter of logic, it is a matter of relationship and love (although the book “A Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel is great) … I cannot prove my love for my husband, just walk it out in such a way that it is evident to all that my love and my husband exist … and so too our faith … and if we stop for the one as we go, and release heaven on Earth, the believer and non-believer alike will know God, they will see God, and they will feel God, for He wants them to know Him more than we want them to. If we will stop for the one in love, stopping at His prompting He will become known … by athiest and pre-believer and Christian alike … they will see He exists, because they see/feel or know the effect and there will be effect because … God is Good. Blessings!

    1. Our actions need to line up with our talk. Jesus did say, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Yes, the motivation is not to prove anything by human logic, but rather to love people and let God do His work. He does things in hearts that no one can do. Thanks!

  3. I have to say AMEN and well said. Sadly, this post will probably fall on deaf ears. Why is it that only the Christian icons are targeted? The good news? All of the furor against anything having to do with God has caused some Christians to wake up and realize they need to get back in the game. Sadly, so many do not have a walk that matches the talk. As the only Jesus some people will see, it’s a grave responsibility and one we should not take lightly. Thank you for your post:) You may spark a post on my blog too 🙂

    1. Yes, this happens all the time. I have read more stories like it since I posted this earlier this week. It is an opportunity for sure. I am also glad this inspires you to write something as well. Spread the word. Thanks!

  4. Just this morning I read:

    “Listen now, you who know right from wrong, you who hold my teaching inside you: Pay no attention to insults, and when mocked don’t let it get you down. Those insults and mockeries are moth-eaten, from brains that are termite-ridden, But my setting-things-right lasts, my salvation goes on and on and on.”- Isaiah 51: 7-8 The Message Bible

    I made a note to discuss this with the youth hanging out with my children this week. Like you said, they face so much mockery and persecution over the way they chose to live & believe. I figured the whole termite-ridden imagery would give them something to smile over. Think Mr. Grinch. 🙂

    Nice blog. Thanks for stopping by mine today.

    1. Termite- ridden certainly does provide an image and your Grinch comment helped me picture it. I think these things need to be discussed with kids because their minds are so vulnerable. My own kids are young, but they have such a simplicity that I would hate to see disrupted by someone’s hatred toward God.

      By the way, I am not remembering how I got to your blog, but I saw the post about honest things kids say and I laughed. I have a notebook full of things from my kids to write about. I especially appreciate how they understand God. So simple, without pretense and ye so profound.

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