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Atheist Holiday Ads and Christian Freedom

Atheist Holiday Ads and Christian Freedom

The Christian Post reports that the American Humanist Association has some holiday ads out. These ads have messages such as “Bias against atheists is naughty, not nice.” Such a message seems pretty straightforward to me.

But the Christian Post writer chose to quote Matthew D. Staver:

Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, said that the campaign was a crass attempt at restricting the religious freedom of Christians passionate about Christmas. As the birthdate of Christianity, he said no other holiday deserved more public worship.

Now as a Christian, I’m fully in tune with the idea of being passionate about Christmas and in worshiping on this holiday. That is my choice as a Christian. In addition, there are a number of things I like to do about Christmas to make it more a matter of worship and less a matter of commercialism. This includes paying close attention to the advent season and the worship involved, and in also following the season, always noting that Christmas, as a liturgical season, begins and does not end on Christmas day.

But all of that is my choice. I can be passionate about what I want to do. Nobody else can prevent me from worshiping during the Christmas season. Nobody can prevent me from being passionate about the incarnation during this season.

But the incarnation does suggest something else to me. It suggests that I shouldn’t want to try to exclude others. The incarnation represents the greatest inclusion, or gap crossing, in religious thought. Infinite God reaches across the gulf to the finite, us, and draws us in.

So should we, as does Mr. Staver, complain that our freedom is being limited or that these ads prevent us from passionately celebrating our own holiday? Or perhaps we should see this as an opportunity to treat people in a respectful way ourselves.

They aren’t hurting Christians in any way by disagreeing with us. That’s their choice. Complaining about it just suggests that in this country we have a majority (Christians) who are so thin skinned that they can’t tolerate a very small minority asking for a little respect.

And that’s pathetic.


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