(You grammar police have fun with this one as I didn’t feel like proofreading it!)
The ACLU or Americans United for the Separation of Church and State or some other extreme left-wing group is always calling for God’s name or prayer or any other demonstration of Christian faith to be banned or banished or ruled unconstitutional. An example is the recent story of a principal and coach in Pace, Florida facing possible jail time for praying at what may or may not have been a school function(which is irrelevant, in my opinion). This is only one of the most recent examples of the many, many times where someone is offended or threatened by something like this.
How in the world is a prayer offensive or threatening? Who goes home at night and says, “The principal of the high school prayed today! I almost wet my pants out of sheer terror! I’ll bear these scars for the rest of my life!” Was this person picked on as a child and are they simply looking to exact revenge of some sort on the rest of the world?
I refuse to believe that someone is so offended or threatened by an expression of faith in Christ, whether that is in the form of a prayer or the quoting of a Bible verse or something printed on a t-shirt, that they feel they may be damaged if they should be exposed to it again. So, they get an attorney and they file a lawsuit and get extremist organizations like those mentioned above involved and valuable time and money is wasted so that they won’t get their tender little heart broken again.
Guess what? I don’t care for having to walk by magazine stands in grocery stores or drug stores with my children and have them see what could almost be considered soft-core pornography on the covers of several magazines that are prominently displayed there.
I don’t like hearing someone’s loud, booming music with lyrics that are often vulgar and misogynist while I’m sitting at a gas station or at a traffic light.
I don’t like having to explain to my three year old daughter what those things are that are hanging off the back of the pickup truck, obviously of the male variety, in front of us.
I don’t like all of the vile, tasteless stickers that I see on so many cars these days, often with a cartoon character urinating on something the driver of the vehicle obviously is not fond of.
I don’t like that TV and radio advertisements use language and subject matter that is inappropriate for family viewing and/or listening. Not just late at night, but at all hours.
I don’t like these things but they neither scar me or scare me. I understand that things like this will happen throughout my life and the lives of my wife and children and I deal with it. I am trying to teach my children to do the same.
My advice to those who wear their fragile hearts on their sleeves is this: Toughen up and grow up! Between 75 and 80 percent of Americans identify themselves as “Christian.” You’re bound to hear a prayer now and again and will likely see a Nativity scene displayed prominently somewhere during the Christmas season. Maybe even on some courthouse lawn somewhere. If this offends you when it happens, stop, take a breath, and remember that you are in a small, small minority. If it’s a prayer that offends you, “amen” is coming soon. If it’s a Christmas Nativity scene, it’ll be boxed up and in a storage room somewhere in just a few weeks. Last time I checked, there were no uniformed national guardsmen at each place forcing you to worship a God in whom you don’t believe or don’t care to worship publicly. You may turn and freely walk away when you see fit. You may keep your eyes open during the prayer or plug your ears if you wish. I have done both in certain situations and actually lived to tell about it.
A…..MEN!! That is what I have thought on so many differnt occasions, but never pieced together in one thought! We should start a class action lawsuit against people playing loud music and cosmo!!Best post yet!
Thad,I read your blog from time to time and, when it comes to social or theological issues, usually find myself on a different page than you.In this situation, I have no desire to berate old arguments, as I figure your mind is clear on how you feel about the issue. I would, however, like to offer an alternative viewpoint.As a citizen, I don't want my government officials in their government jobs advocating A faith, mine or another.As a Christian, I don't want my goverment acting in the name of my Christ. Not all Christians practice Christianity the same way. While many are supportive of a stronger official Christian presence in our government, many are not. For example, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (bjconline.org) has many supporting bodies. Baptists such as John Smyth and Thomas Helwys found themselves in the oppressive state-established Christian Church in 17th century England, and fought FOR the Separation of Church and State. Many Baptists today still fight for the same goal.And, as a Christian, I don't read the Gospel of Christ in such a way as to say to others, "If you don't like things the way I like them, then just toughen up and grow up." In the Gospels, I find a Christ who identifies with people of a variety of backgrounds, and validates them all as children of God. I find a Christ who changed the world by love, not by forced acceptance.I do not seek a faithless society. I seek a society where all faiths and people are respected equally. I believe to do so is the act of a good citizen and a good Christian.Peace,~Rev. Ryan K. Yaun
Sorry…Had to delete and repost. Didn't realize I was signed in as Gigi!Ryan…As a licensed, ordained minister myself, you might be surprised to hear that I don't exactly disagree with you. My point is this: If I hear a Muslim prayer offered up to Allah or a Buddhist, Hindu, Scientology, or any other prayer offered up, I may not share the belief of the one doing the praying, but I can assure you that I would not be offended. I have absolutely no problem with anyone practicing their religion in public as long as it doesn't infringe upon my right to do the same. I also think this is an issue of honesty. I have an incredibly difficult time believing that any reasonable person would be offended or threatened by something as relatively benign, at least in worldly terms, as a prayer, regardless of who or what that prayer is voiced to.I am very aware that there are many of the Southern Baptist persuasion of Christianity who believe and practice their faith differently than I do. There are people in my Sunday School class who do! I, for the last 2 1/2 years, eat lunch every Wednesday with two Mormon missionaries. Sometimes we debate theological issues, sometimes we simply enjoy each other's company and talk about football or their life back at home or any of a thousand other things.You'd be hard-pressed to find someone more tolerant toward other belief systems than me even though I know that many of those belief systems are, quite frankly, wrong. After all, Jesus did say that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man can get to Heaven except through Him(my paraphrase, obviously).I don't want to force everyone to practice their faith exactly as I do. I would love for everyone to have a personal relationship with Jesus. The rest, we can disagree peacefully on. I think it is safe to say that the government, federal, state, and local, is not trying to do that either. Just because someone doesn't like something or disagrees with a certain idea or practice, especially as it relates to religion, doesn't mean that their rights have been violated nor does it automatically make that idea or practice unconstitutional. I get over and deal with things I don't agree with every day. I think it would serve litigious individuals, and society as a whole, well if the ACLU and their ilk learned to do the same upon occasion.Thanks for your very well thought out and insightful post, especially in light of my disjointed one! Feel free to express your thoughts here anytime!!!Peace to you as well,Rev. Thad Hankins
If I ever decide to hang a pair of Truck Nuts off the back of my Jeep, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you in the rear view mirror.
LOL! Jim…Gotta' be one of the top 5 posts of all time on here!!!!!!!