By Dean Lusk
If you're the lone guy out of 300 who doesn't like to hear "Jesus" at the beginning of a football game, for Pete's sake, go buy a $1.97 set of earplugs
, you whining cheapskate. The story is now national news
. Ace news-hound and pal Leroy alerted me this morning that FOX News has given Lauderdale County High Schools, Christians, and an atheist a moment in the sun.
The man who complained about prayers over the intercom at high school football games cites the elusive "separation of church and state
" precedent in the First Amendment. Whoops! Nobody seems to have let him know that this is actually a phrase most famously written by Thomas Jefferson
(who did not participate in authoring the U.S. Constitution or the First Amendment) in 1802.
While Christ-followers may see this as a major issue, we all need to understand that this situation has more depth -- and potential negative consequences -- than we realize
. It's not simply a matter of Christians standing up for their religious rights or yet another argument about whether certain things are guaranteed in the First Amendment.
We may be on the same page so far, but if you keep reading get ready to dislike me, unfriend me on Facebook
, say I'm compromising with the world, or whatever. Think about what I have to say, though.
I have incredible problems with the implications of the Christian community's response and the double-standard it is clearly communicating. It would be better if the local Christian community said, "We DO want Christianity to be the sanctioned public religion," because frankly, that's much more honest.
A pastor is quoted in the article saying during his sermon on Sunday, "It’s very sad. I would think that any other prayer from another religion would not receive this kind of negativity
Really? I'll probably give him that if he's referring to the media
not being negative about other religions or public prayers. But the Christian community would go absolutely ballistic
if a small group of Hindus prayed over the intercom to Krishna or Shiva, or if a Muslim group offered prayers in Allah's name over the P.A. System.
Take the same insulted and indignant Christians in the news story and put them in that circumstance. Spend a few moments imagining their reaction.
Also from the article, referring to the pastor: "Christianity, he said, is under attack. 'It’s going on all over the place,' he said. 'You just hate for it to be coming to your doorstep.
But haven't we all heard sermons on this passage
? Or this one
? What about this other one
? How about when Jesus said this
? Are we seriously supposed to dread it when people attack Christianity? Jesus says that we're supposed to be glad about it. Very
glad. The rest of the Bible reiterates this. Our response is to get PO'ed, though: "You heathens will NOT take away our 'God-given right' to worship the way we choose!
" I can't find that concept anywhere in the New Testament.
The first-century Church's response to attacks was, incredibly, to go out and preach Jesus Christ and leave the defense of their "rights" to God if He saw fit. "And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus." After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness."
- Acts 4:29-31, NLT
While we may feel like we're doing the right thing in the way we publicly respond and in the way we discuss this with friends or co-workers, we're often displaying repulsive hypocrisy to non-believers.