Does There Seem To Be A Growing Legal War On Christmas?
I noticed as I drove east on Atlanta Highway that Frazer Methodist Church had something on their marquee about Operation Christmas Child; I know it is a common program at this time of year. Many Montgomerians have participated in Operation Christmas Child, generally through their churches. Children get a kick out of giving as they go to stores with their parent or parents to purchase small items that will go to unknown, less fortunate children in another country. I have done this before and you allow your kids to choose toys that in their imaginative minds they can see other children as their eyes widen when they receive their gift. The weird thing is the gift is limited to what can fit inside a shoebox, maybe a lot if it's one of my shoeboxes and not so much if it's a shoebox from a small woman. In addition to toys it may include hygiene items, candies (not chocolates) and maybe a photo or personal note from the one that packs the box. Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse whose President and CEO is Franklin Graham, son of Billy and Ruth Graham. Samaritan's Purse helps in disaster and impoverished areas with physical needs including food and shelter. Pretty good ministry it sounds like.
East Point Academy in West Columbia, South Carolina has participated in Operation Christmas Child the last two years and was preparing for a third year just a few weeks ago. East Point Academy is a Charter School, funded by public money. The American Humanist Association wrote a letter to the school, saying in part, "This letter serves as notice to policymaking school officials of the East Point Academy's unconstitutional conduct and as a demand that the school terminate all promotion, sponsorship, endorsement or affiliation with Operation Christmas Child immediately".
Being a small school with too small a legal budget to fight back, West Point Academy caved to the humanist group. From the website of the American Humanist Association, they go to great lengths (literally) to defend their thinking, saying "So, with modern humanism one finds a lifestance or worldview that is in tune with modern knowledge; is inspiring, socially conscious, and personally meaningful. It is not only the thinking person's outlook but that of the feeling person as well, for it has inspired the arts as much as it has the sciences; philanthropy as much as critique. And even in critique it is tolerant, defending the rights of all people to choose other ways, to speak and to write freely, to live their lives according to their own lights." The website compares and contrasts religious and secular humanism.
It's interesting that the humanists see themselves as socially conscious, that there is an inspiration of philanthropy and they look to defend the rights of all people to choose other ways. I suppose other ways are defined as those not associated with Christianity or any other religion. I wonder how many children did not receive a small gift because one parent at West Point Academy complained about the participation of their child in Operation Christmas Child; I wonder how many children do not receive a little joy in a third world country because of the "philanthropy" of a group determined that above all, the Word and love of God should be stifled at all costs.
Over the years the First Amendment of the United States Constitution has been construed in probably a more liberal sense than the framers and amenders envisioned. The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The Amendment suggests to me that Congress shall not make a law establishing a national religion.
The Federal Courts have over the years come to the conclusion that the use of taxpayer dollars for any reason that involves a religious organization tends to support that religion, thus "establishing" a religion. United States Supreme Court cases such as Lynch v Donnelly in 1984, was a Rhode Island case in which the Court held that the inclusion of historical and secular Christmas displays along side a Nativity scene did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Five years later in Allegheny County v. American Civil Liberties Union, and is spite of a forty-five foot Christmas tree along side a crèche, the Court held it violated the Establishment Clause.
Truly it is hard to understand such a disdain for a loving God when His people attempt to publicly celebrate the birth of His Son whether that be a display of a God that sends His Son to Earth, being fully God and fully man or an attempt by His followers to share innocent joy with children in other lands.
Last December, to the delight of my wife Jennifer and I, we welcomed a baby boy. The year has gone by quickly. The love and joy that we have for this little boy has sustained us when we were running on too little sleep or endured other parental maladies from a year of very close hands on parenting. God has shown me that He blesses me with a wonderful and loving wife Jennifer, a terrific stepson, Will, my sweet little boy, Aaron and sons Joshua and Nathan that reside in other states. God has blessed me in so many ways and I think on Joseph and Mary when they welcomed Christ into the world and became His earthly parents. What a tremendous responsibility to know that they were acting as God's surrogates for Jesus during His formative years. My son, Aaron is God's child and I know He has given him to me for a time, I pray that all parents will seek His guidance as they raise up their children.
God bless you all, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah and to my Islamic friends I send God's blessing as well.