Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Every year around this time, it's the same old thing:
Christmas becomes a referendum on Religion, Government,
Free Speech, Truth, the Constitution, and TOLERANCE.
It seems the Secular Humanists and Liberal Freethinkers
have stepped up their offensives this year, as the cacophony
over CHRISTMAS – with its patently “religious” themes –
has reached something of a fever pitch...

I'm not an Attorney, nor a "real" Philosopher, and I don't
pretend to be an expert on interpreting the Constitution
of the United States; I also do not have an Historian’s
grasp of the evolution of CHRISTMAS over the years...

But I feel compelled to publish a few thoughts relating to
the fact that the nearly 2000-year-old Tradition of celebrating
the birth of Jesus has, in modern times, morphed into yet
another fierce political struggle in this country, adding to
the din in the Public Square over “religion”, Free Speech,
and the political “greased pig”, Tolerance...

I’ll do this by gathering my comments around four words:
Democracy, Fairness, Segregation, and Eternity…

Democracy defines “Democracy” as (paraphrasing)
a system of representative government driven by the
Rule of the Majority. This is precisely what we have in
America, and the recent “Red State / Blue State” elections
make this concept graphically clear.

The framers of the Constitution had the Church of England
in mind when they wrote the infamous First Amendment,
intending to prevent the Federal government from
ESTABLISHING an "official" religion AND to prevent the
squelching of any EXPRESSION of religion by the Citizenship.

But when the will of the Majority (Democracy) effectively
prohibits the “speech” of the Minority (Free Expression),
and when Government appears to be endorsing one viewpoint
over others, what is a Citizen to do?

Here’s an idea: Get Out The Vote. Even local governments
(states, counties, municipalities, sheriffs, mayors, etc.)
are all ELECTED by the will of the people. Citizens have
a good deal of power in deciding who governs them (and how)
on the Local level; Democracy is a hands-on effort that
allows voters to affect CHANGE in what goes on in
the politics of our communities.

Where did the idea come from that says that governments
(and school boards and county courts and mayors’ offices, etc.)
need to – MUST! – at all times demonstrate “Fairness” in the
Public Square? Who made the Public Square a political
“pageant” of Faiths, World Views, and Political Agendas?

The Secular Humanists, the Liberal Democrats, the Atheists
and Agnostics, and all of similar persuasions, have gotten a
good bit of Media exposure with what amounts to WHINING
over these issues; at CHRISTMAS time, the Whining grows
loudest as they protest figurines of the Baby Jesus on the lawns
of local government buildings, police stations, etc…

But if local officials are elected by the local Majority, shouldn’t
the Will of that local Majority prevail? If MOST of the citizens
in County “X” want to see Baby Jesus at CHRISTMAS time
on the lawn of the county courthouse, where do we get this
silly notion that “offending” the detractors creates a political
mandate to censor the Majority?

Someone may reply, “Fine, but what would you do if the Majority
changed their affections and suddenly YOU were the Minority?
What would you do then? Do you want to see (protected) displays
of Satan worship on the county courthouse property?”

I will tell you: I would work very hard, locally, to prevent such a
state of affairs, but if it did come to be, I would either find it
within myself to “tolerate” my environment as I continued to
work toward Change, OR, I would MOVE and find communities
that DO reflect my Values and Beliefs.

There is, for example, a school board in the upper Northwest,
I’m told, that is FORCING students to take a class in Islam,
complete with required Muslim clothing and "mock" prayers
to Mecca 5 times a day...

I would not stand for that; I would pull my kids from that school
in a New York Minute (after attempting to persuade the local
school board to reverse that biased policy).

I’m sure most parents would do the same. And I’ve been a bit
amused by reports that a large number of Kerry supporters are,
or are seriously considering, moving to Canada in the wake of
this past election…

And there are efforts all around us to promote one Agenda
over another: Consider this story, about a young feller who
feels he must worship Satan:

And of course, the so-called “Religious Right” is, in my opinion,
under heavy attack these days:

So what, then? Are we becoming a nation rushing toward
deep divisions – SEGREGATION – into “Red vs. Blue” regions,
and into factionalized states, counties, even neighborhoods,
along the lines of collective Values and Beliefs?

It seems obvious that we are already far down that road…

As a Christian, I am very concerned about the danger
of placing too much emphasis on political “victories”.
Even IF we believe that traditional, Judeo-Christian values
are the foundation of our country and the basis of our
system of laws (and that’s a VERY big “if”), we must
continually ask ourselves, what are we GAINING by
aggressively pursuing political causes that only alienate
the World and make the message of Jesus even more
repugnant to those who need to SEE it in us?

It only adds to the problem when Christians, rebuffed in
the political arena, then turn around and say of their
political opponents, "they're just rejecting Christ!"...

Injecting GOD into the Public Square does nothing to advance
the Great Commission nor the Great Commandment:
Jesus did not say, "Go ye therefore and form
Political Action Committees and get George Bush elected",
nor did Jesus say "Love the Constitution with all your heart
and soul and mind..."

What are we so AFRAID of? Why waste time and money
exploiting Politics, printing Tracts, fighting on Talk Radio, and
commandeering School Board meetings (among other things)
in some "fight" against "The World" when those fights DESSIMATE
the Love we are supposed to share, even in politics?

You don't BLUDGEON someone into considering Jesus,
and you don't shove a Tract in their hands and shout, "Trust Jesus!"
over your shoulder as you run as fast as you can the other direction...

We need to return to a focus on ETERNAL Values. Sure, we ought
to be involved in political efforts, but as good stewards, rendering to
Ceasar what is Ceasar’s, and all with an attitude of Worship
toward God and Love toward our fellow men…

And we accomplish the MOST through respectful, intelligent, patient
conversations (perhaps over coffee, perhaps over a nice dinner)
in which we plant the seed of Truth and then pray that the Holy Spirit
waters the seed…

In the end, this old World (left to itself) will never understand the Faith.
Attempts to coerce familiarity will only breed contempt, and the truths
of Christianity will only seem foolish to those who are perishing
(1 Cor. 1:18,21,23,25).

Into this cacophony steps JESUS: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God...
Prince of Peace... (Isaiah 9).