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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yet Another Christmas Rant

     You know what I want for Christmas? I want Christian men to grow some balls. Because, quite frankly, I'm tired of tolerating hatred towards us. The ACLU is busily forcing communities to remove Nativity Scenes while public education makes special concessions for Muslims, Buddhists. and homosexuals.  But if your kid bows his head to give thanks to Our Heavenly Father before a high school football game, he's in big trouble. The atheists claim that allowing Christians to express their faith in public schools oppresses the non-believers, or something. They also insist that, since public schools are funded by tax money, the government should  enforce the separation of church and state rules and prevent Christians from doing so.

     Forget that no such separation exists in The Constitution, or that the majority of that tax money they're so worried about is, by and large, paid by Christians; like little children, they want what they want when they want it and no one else's opinion matters. They have no problem oppressing Christians, or offending them. The popular culture thinks Christianity is only good for a punch line and that Jesus is an object of ridicule.

     We, as Christian men, tolerate, and tolerate, and tolerate this stuff, without doing what every fiber of our beings wants to do; find the perpetrators of these deeds and give them a serious ass-kicking (in the spirit of Christian Love, of course) because that's what we have been told that Jesus would do. That we should follow his example and turn the other cheek, love our enemies, and let it all slide like water off of a duck's back.

      What about the Jesus that picked up a whip and a bundle of rods and chased the moneylenders from the Temple? What about The Guy that stood in full view of the public and called the reigning religious authorities of the day, "a brood of vipers?" I mean, The Guy was a carpenter! If you've spent any time at all around construction guys, you would know that they aren't exactly the "turn the other cheek" type.

     Now, before I get accused of trying to get Christians to go all "Medieval Crusades" on the non-believers, understand this: this fight will not be won on the streets. Bar-room brawls are no way to spread The Gospel, and certainly no way to bring people into the fold. No, I want us to simply stop being silent. I want us to stop being ashamed to confront those that would spew inaccuracies and hatred. When some TV show decides to disrespect The Savior, we should inundate the network with complaints. When some child is persecuted for professing faith, we should make our support known. And when we are attacked by haters, we should defend ourselves with the same fervor, intensity, and tactics that they use. Jesus was a proponent of self-defense; He knew that the world the Disciples would face was hostile and brutal. He admonished them to arm themselves in order to prepare for what awaited them. We need to do as He said and arm ourselves with the weapons of our day and fight the fight.

     We, who believe, have nothing to fear.

    

2 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure that the constitution was written to protect our god given rights!

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  2. Separation of church and state is not an atheist concept, but rather a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of "We the people" (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders' avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

    It is important to distinguish between the "public square" and "government" and between "individual" and "government" speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square--far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment's "free exercise" clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views--publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment's constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

    Wake Forest University recently published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

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