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