Group calls for Nativity scene to be removed from Harrison County courthouse,” read the Biloxi Sun-Herald headline.
Seems a humanist, freedom-from-religion group wanted the scene removed because, “Nativity scenes in courthouses, like any blatantly religious display on public property, show government favoritism toward religion and to Christianity in particular,” according to Monica Miller, senior counsel at the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
While the Nativity scene has been on display in the courthouse for years, most of the officials inhabiting the courthouse these days are Republicans. And, Republicans tend to fight to maintain things reflecting Christian values – Christmas displays, the Ten Commandments, public prayer, etc. No doubt Harrison County Republican officials will do the same to the extent allowed by law.
This follows a small uproar resulting from the Ole Miss Student Activities Association deciding to rename its annual tree lighting ceremony from “Grand Ole Christmas” to “Hotty Toddy Holiday.” Notably the ceremony still featured a Christmas tree and a gospel choir, but the change “to be more inclusive to the entire student body,” caught the eye of the Republican leaning American Family Association.
Too bad many Republicans’ fervor for Christian displays and activities doesn’t seem to extend to Christian behavior.
My Bible teaches me to love not only my neighbors but also my enemies. (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:43-44; and more.)
But many Republicans are telling me to hate Muslims, illegals, and, oh yes, liberals… doesn’t even seem to matter if they are American citizens, patriots, or Christians.
My Bible teaches me to “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Romans 14:19.)
But many Republicans enthusiastically pursue war and the tearing down of others… doesn’t seem to matter if the others are good Republicans or not.
My Bible teaches me that if I believe in Christ Jesus that I need not be a slave to fear. (Romans 8:15.)
But many Republicans want to enslave me to fears of all sorts, especially terrorism. (For a relevant epistle on fanning fears of terrorism read Sid Salter’s column from last week.)
The clean-up hitter for these unChristian behaving Republicans is presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. The Bible is “incredible” and his favorite book says Trump. Yet with every other breath he unashamedly utters some new message of hate, fear, intolerance, or mud-slinging. On deck would be Ted Cruz who somehow appeals to evangelicals but has his own mud pile of fear-based and hateful messages. He seems to have never met another Republican he couldn’t tear down.
They, and too many other would be Republican sluggers, seem intent to hustle us to an unfaithful, joyless Mudville.
Thank goodness for Christmas and the joy it can bring us when we fervently celebrate our faith and not muddy politics. Indeed, that amazing joy would stick with us year round if we would stick with the Bible’s teachings.
» Bill Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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