The month of December means something to a lot of religions and faiths. To some it means the birth of a man that would save humanity from its own sin, for others it is the time to celebrate family and friends but to a small pocket of people, it means nothing. You have your own beliefs, morals. Those beliefs and morals may be shared by millions or are yours alone. I am not writing this to debate the meaning of religion or the holidays that populate the month of December. What I am writing about is the meaning of America and our rights to freedom of speech and to believe what we want at our own choosing.
Recently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and their placement of a placard criticizing Christianity alongside a Nativity scene near the entrance to the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington has spurred a battle. If you have not heard or read about this, it is a hotly debated subject in a month known to bring people together. The placard reads "At this season of THE WINTER SOLSTICE may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds." This placard has caused an outcry from Christians nationwide but are their cries nothing more than rage or do they have merit for wanting the removal of the placard that they claim attacks Christmas and Christianity?
Before I give you my opinion on that subject, let's go to a matter that is related through faith but somehow feels ungodly. "With sport-utility [hybrid] vehicles at the altar and auto workers in the pews, one of Detroit's largest churches on Sunday offered up prayers for Congress to bail out the struggling auto industry." Reuters.com Detroit's Greater Grace Temple Rev. Charles Ellis actual had one hybrid SUV from each of the Big Three on the altar for display; a Ford Escape, Chevy Tahoe and a Chrysler Aspen were parked in front of the choir. Ellis said he and other Detroit ministers would pray and fast until Congress voted on a bailout for the troubled automakers.
Praying for hope and a better tomorrow isn't what's wrong in this story. Having actual vehicles in a "holy" place seem excessive, almost downright sacrilegious. Can you tell me that Rev. Ellis could not give his sermon without huge SUVs in the background? He couldn't make his point without what boils down to showmanship? I would argue that the placement of vehicles on the altar is worship of false idols, unless these vehicles are going to be sacrifice, which I doubt. Yet, Christians have no problem going after those that happen to question not only their religion but religion as a whole? Who needs one way atheist's attacks when Christians give cannon fodder for others to attack Christianity on other fronts?
If you are one of those that believe that an atheist placard has no place near a government office, then I call you a hypocrite. I am a Republican that has strong values and morals but I also believe we live in a FREE nation where everyone has a right to their own beliefs and opinions. Yes, the placard attacks religion and more so, Christianity, but if you are strong in your beliefs why worry about what others think? What happened to Love Thy Neighbor or Turn the other cheek? Another hypocritical point that is beaten to death but I must say. The government is supposed to be separated from church, but there are many city halls and other government buildings that have bibles, 10 Commandment placards and other religious links. Host of Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly, tries to clarify this "[Displays must] be consistent with the intent and decorum of the seat of state government and the appropriate, non-disruptive use of public facilities." Foxnews.com Mr. O'Reilly, like a lot of other topics, I beg to differ. The Nativity scene in some interpretations set forth a belief that if you do not bow before the son of God, admit one's sins, you will be thrown into hell. Is that an appropriate message to other religions or faiths? I guess Mr. O'Reilly believes in the Christians that spew hate towards gays who only want basic marriage rights or rape victims that want to rid their bodies of an intruder's seed in an abortion clinic. Bill, you're a saint in my book.
While many believe December is a month of pure rapture or a renewal of faith, others have a total different belief set. You can say December no longer belongs to religion but the almighty dollar, thanks to the retail industry. What I still believe is America is a melting pot of many. While we still can't seem to separate religion from state due the fact that the majority rules, may be everyone can be a little more attentive of others and their beliefs. That is what is comes down to, nothing more, nothing less.