Let's Not Surrender: December 27, 2004
LET’S NOT SURRENDER
Representative Bob Lynn
The unruly Rodney King made a valid point with his famous question, “Why can’t we all just get along”? I can add some questions of my own. “Why are some folks who pontificate the loudest about the wonders of “tolerance” so intolerant of people who take their religion seriously? Why do many who preach the wonders of “diversity” exclude practicing Christians and Jews from their big tent of diversity?
It appears that a campaign is in progress to marginalize or even eradicate America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. We are witnessing a flood of vitriol attacking Christians and other believers, with especial vitriol seemingly reserved for those who give any evidence of being faithful Evangelicals or Catholics. It’s like a jihad in reverse. What’s going on here?
Our country is in the midst of a cultural battle - a conflict of values - between extreme “secularism” (that’s a nice word for neo-paganism) and those who subscribe to a religious world view. As one writer expressed it, there’s a tug of war going on for the future of America.
The problem isn’t garden-variety non-religious people, and certainly not members of one denomination vigorously debating theology with members of a different denomination. The problem is with Christophobic anti-religious zealots with zero tolerance for anyone who actively practices their religion, and zero tolerance for our American Judeo-Christian heritage. They would remove the faithful from the public forum, and revise our history and value system to suit their extreme anti-religious agenda. The battle is evident in national news and local “Letters to the Editor.” Anti-religious jihadists would tear any form of religion expression from the fabric of American culture. They don’t believe in “live” and let live.” and that's not healthy in a pluralistic society.
They would remove “God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. A Ten Commandments monument is dragged out of a courthouse. The Salvation Army is banned from ringing bells to solicit funds for the needy on premises of major retailers at Christmas (excuse me, the “Holidays”). Religious symbols are censored out of historic city seals. Kids can’t sing Silent Night in public schools. Menorahs are outlawed. Nativity scenes are taboo. A teacher gets in trouble for teaching about the Declaration of Independence because the document makes references to God. Teachers a prohibited from uttering the “C word” (Christmas) and the colors red and green - and even red poinsettias - are outlawed because they are associated with (there goes that C word again) Christmas. Christmas trees are out; “holiday trees” are in. A telephone company denigrates three holidays by advertising “Christmahanakwanzakah in a TV commercial. A float in a 30th annual Parade of Lights is disallowed because it included a sign proclaiming “Merry Christmas,” and carolers singing - you guessed it - traditional Christmas carols. A government worker is prohibited from wishing anyone in the office Happy Hanukkah." And the list goes on, ad infinitum, ad absurdum.
Once such things were the absurd acts of kooks, but kookiness becomes mainstream if repeated often enough without resistance from the majority. Things considered absurd a scant few years ago (same-sex marriage, as one example) are today upheld in courts of law and deemed “politically correct” None of this is good news.
This is America. It is not the business of local, state, or national government to force religion down the throat of anyone. That doesn’t foster faith; it discourages it – not to mention that it’s unconstitutional. If someone is non-religious, that’s their business. However, the rights of anti-religious zealots end where freedom of religion and common sense begins.
Anti-religionists have no right to tear religion out of the fabric of our daily life, or to discriminate against believers, or to deny believers their rightful place in a diverse society, including being a respected voice in the political process. If the faithful allow this to happen, shame on us. We deserve what we get.
When we elect someone to office - the PTA, Legislature, Congress, or the presidency - we elect their values, whatever they are. Never mind vacuous statements that politicians shouldn’t bring personal religious values to public office. Nonsense. Everybody takes their values every place they take themselves. Values cannot be separated from the person. There’s no such thing as lack of values, there are just different values.
Believers and non-believers inhabit our same small planet – a planet and people many of us believe to be created by God. I submit America has become a great nation because we have built upon our heritage of the Judeo-Christian ethic that recommends “Do unto others as we would others have do unto us.” One application of The Golden Rule would be tolerance for neighbors who practice their religion. Unfortunately that concept is foreign to Christophobes.
We may not be able to stop prejudice against believers, but it’s long past time for believers to stop being a doormat for discriminatory acts of anti-religious bigots. Perhaps we need to post a cultural road sign that warns, “Caution America, we are accelerating down a slippery slope. Wake up!” Do I hear an Amen?