I’m really worried about our atheist friends out there. Not all of them. Just those few who find themselves “shocked” and “upset” every time they see a cross or statue of the ten commandments that has been long established as a monument somewhere in our country. These poor people become all whoozy and upset, yet find the strength to run to the courthouse and throw down a lawsuit over this terrible experience. Good golly, what do they do at rock and roll concerts when they see a crosses dangling off of the necks of musicians?
The news has been full of the buzz of some of these recent fights. Two members of the American Humanist Association want a memorial which had been erected decades ago in honor of 49 fallen WWI soldiers from Prince George County, Maryland, torn down because it is shaped like a cross and sits on public property.
Another group has hunted down a statue of the Ten Commandments in a park in Sandpoint, Idaho and threatened to sue the city. Today (March 15th), the statue was to breath its last except citizens found out, and an uproar exploded. A meeting is scheduled next week to discuss the issue. The reason Sandpoint agreed with these atheists? The city is afraid of a law suit.
These fights are going on often, all across the country.
I really worry for these atheists. The sight of a cross is distressful? They are upset and offended to have to lay eyes on a symbol that they don’t like? Wow, these folks don’t have very much stamina do they? Weren’t they raised in public schools? Sounds like they missed out on the lessons on how to be tolerant of ideas and people you may not agree with.
Should follow me around for a day or two … as a Christian, I get to endure public exposure to “upsetting” and “shocking” affronts daily. I was going to include links to a few examples of the ridicule that pours through society onto Christians, but the examples were so many I didn’t know where to start. So check it out yourself. Google “people, songs, TV shows, radio programs, movies, etc. that mock Christianity”. Hope you have some time on your hands; you have a lot of reading and listening to do.
If not an outright mocking of what I believe, the values that I hold as a Christian are affronted everywhere. Cursing God, abortion, premarital sex, on and on … people are very casual and accepting of practices that contradict scripture. To speak up is to incur more ridicule, but I don’t get too bent out of shape. I actually enjoy healthy debate and learning to work together. Sadly that is not what our humanist/atheist friends are after.
Consider this, whether or not an atheist believes that Christianity is anything more than a fairy tale, why does the cross have to be so distressing to them? Suppose that the event of Jesus dying on the cross really was an imaginary story (which is hard to believe given all the historical acclaim given to the event). Even as a piece of fiction, the cross symbolizes sacrifice. Is there a more fitting symbol than one that reminds us of sacrifice for these 49 men? Men whose lives were cut short in order that we have the freedom to protest the very symbol that honors them. Thickly ironic, isn’t it?
I know … I know … the atheists’ point is that these monuments are somehow violating Thomas Jefferson’s reflections in a letter (not a phrase found in any of our actual governing documents) about the separation of church and state. Our 21st Century atheists just want to make sure that nothing religious shows up on public property because somehow all the generations before us just couldn’t seem to get that right.
How weird … I mean … leaders of Jefferson’s time (Jefferson, himself supporting federal funds for the building of churches) and Civil War survivors and survivors of two world wars and citizens throughout two centuries set up crosses and religious symbols … violating the intentions of our founding fathers. Here they were, generations of Americans who lived closer than we do to the actual founding of this country and they were in such violation of this so-called principle. These were educated, sophisticated people, and yet they weren’t intellectual enough to have stumbled upon the epiphany experienced by folks at the Freedom From Religion Foundation 200 years later.
Okay … so maybe our atheist friends feel left out. But, why erase history? If they don’t want to see any more such structures built, they can fight for that. If crosses and symbols of Christianity are reminders of an extinct belief system (which it isn’t) then let generations who follow decide for themselves. They should be able to look at such monuments and become as enlightened as our humanist contenders. Citizens can decide for themselves whether or not the beliefs of our ancestors are outdated. Isn’t that what it’s like when we go through our grandparent’s yearbooks and closets and laugh at the silly way they used to dress and the corny things they said or believed or the dumb music they listened too. We don’t have to scrub away everything they did out of fear that we’ll act like them. We feel perfectly content to laugh at their silly ways OR we have the opportunity to imitate that which we decide is actually cool or right.
Dear Atheist, is that what you fear? Are you trying to scrub Christianity out of the landscape and out of our memory because people WILL follow it and you can’t allow that? That’s not very enlightened of you!
And for the Christians and citizens who say we should fight back … Yes! In love and patience, of course, but don’t allow bitter, misinformed souls to take our history from us. Speak up in city meetings. Know your history. There are some spin masters out there who have invested a lot of time and internet space in revising history, but there is no shame in a Christian Heritage. It paved the way for the very freedoms and discourses which allow these atheists and humanists to keep us on our toes.