The clerk at my grocery store handed me my receipt and said, “Merry Christmas”.
“Merry Christmas to you too,” I replied. “So happy to hear you celebrating the season!”
“Some of the others just say ‘Happy Holidays’, ya know.” She looked back over her shoulder quickly. “But I’m a Christian, and I figure I got as much right as anybody else to say what I believe. Anyway, they don’t pay me enough here for me to worry about it. They don’t like it, they can just fire my behind!”
I’ve never come closer to tipping a grocery store clerk than that day.
Though some people admittedly overstate the problem, one thing is clear to me this Christmas…
Many people do want a holiday without Christ.
It’s not just “freedom of religion” but “freedom from religion” they want. They want to be protected from ever seeing a Christian’s faith displayed publicly.
Funny, I have never once been offended by a menorah or Buddha statue. But a cute little manger scene has the power to incite an army…of lawyers!
These folks say they’re tolerant of all religions, but that’s not true. In the town where I live, the ACLU just stopped a high school choir from performing in a local church. The choir had sung there for years because of the great acoustics, but somehow just letting those kids breathe the “rarified holy air” of the church stepped over the line of “separation of church and state”.
True tolerance wouldn’t keep kids from walking in a church, synagogue or mosque of another faith. Most parents have no problem with a respectful chaperoned visit to someone else’s place of worship. But what many want now is complete “religious quarantine” in public places – absolutely no exposure to religion. Especially the Judeo-Christian religion.
To the religiously intolerant today, church houses are the new “houses of ill-repute” from which they must hide their children’s eyes. “Faith” is their new four-letter word. Their end game is to ban God completely from the public square, using intimidation and that aforementioned phalanx of lawyers.
For them, religion is the new Ebola.
Come to think of it, they seem pretty scared of religious types like me. I’m amazed at the angry responses to my little blogs on a local news sight and on Twitter. I suppose it’s a back-handed compliment – I’m pretty dangerous it turns out. Who knew an overweight, middle-aged minister could strike such fear into the hearts of the unconverted?
If you’re one of these people, may I ask you one question?
Do you really want religion out of public life? Have you really thought this thing through? Well, George Bailey, be careful what you ask for.
If that angel Clarence really allowed you to see a world where religion Jesus had never been born, not even Scrooge would like the results.
In addition to those Nativity scenes with baby Jesus going away, you’ll witness a ton of “good” done in His name in coming months. For example…Next week, homeless shelters nationwide will ladle out rivers of gravy on mountains of mashed potatoes, and millions of martyred turkeys will be consumed.
Beginning at Thanksgiving and running through Christmas, homeless shelters nationwide will ladle out rivers of gravy on mountains of mashed potatoes, and millions of martyred turkeys will be consumed.
By the way, this food will be donated and served by an overwhelming percentage of Christians.
Atheists counter that they’d rather pass on religion for the holidays and focus on meeting people’s “real world needs” instead. Pop intellectuals like Neil deGrasse Tyson promote the preferred philosophy of “lessening the suffering of others”. They say you don’t have to be religious to do good deeds.
That all sounds very nice…until you look at the facts.
Religious people don’t just talk about helping others, they are the vast majority who are actually doing it. In 2006, the average church-going adult contributed $1500 to charity, as compared to $200 by people of no faith (Barna Group research study). Even if you subtracted all of their giving through their local churches, Christians would still give twice as much as atheists and agnostics combined.
Both ABC News and Harvard professor Robert Putnam’s research reflects similar findings. Putnam adds that 40% of church attenders volunteer to help the poor and elderly as compared to 15% of those who never go. The professor also found the Christians not only volunteered at church but also at non-religious schools, youth programs, civic groups, and health care providers.
My irreligious friends counter that their giving is more noble, because they give out of love while religious people give only out of “fear of hell-fire”. But a pollster from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada found religious people twice as likely to respond that “forgiveness, patience, generosity and a concern for others are ‘very important’” to them than atheists did. So the real motive for giving by the religious seems to be quite simple: they see a need, feel compassion, and respond.
Sorry, but “hell fire” isn’t even part of the equation.
Can you imagine how the national cost of serving the poor would skyrocket if all the money from religious people went away tomorrow, not to mention the innumerable church-based service programs they fund as well? Imagine a society where “love your neighbor as yourself” and “do unto others” are no longer practiced by the majority. Imagine the crime, the suffering, and quite possibly the anarchy that would result.
Still think the world would be better off without God?
Really, Old Man Potter, that’s just a bunch of stuffing.