Monday, December 31, 2007

What if It had been Harry Potter?

The transit system in Ft. Worth Texas has a strict policy; there will be no loud or abusive behavior on their buses. The question is, what constitutes loud or abusive behavior. Is it loud or abusive when a woman reads to her children on the bus? Most sane people would answer no. What about when she reads something really subversive like the Bible?
Christine Lutz, a mother of four, was riding on the bus with her children on Saturday, sabbath for Seventh Day Adventists, and reading the Bible to them when the driver ordered her to stop reading. The bus driver insisted, "This is not the time or the place." Mrs. Lutz refused. A supervisor was then brought on board. When the mother refused to stop reading the Bible, The supervisor escorted her and her children off the bus.
Without knowing all the facts in the incident, it's hard to say for sure. Hypothetically, she could have been making a nuisance of herself. On the other hand, its hard to believe that the woman could have been creating a disturbance simply by reading the Bible to her children. Since when does a bus driver decide an appropriate time and place for a mother to be teaching her children the Bible? What if she had been reading Harry Potter or Grim's Fairy Tales? Can you picture the bus driver telling her that it's not an appropriate time or place to read these books to her children.
Religious conversation seems to make a good number of people uncomfortable. Religion and politics are the two things you don't bring up in polite conversation. But religious expression is a guaranteed right in the first amendment. In the end, it doesn't matter if this mother's conversation with her children was offensive to passengers or uncomfortable to them. The constitution does not guarantee the right to not be offended. Of course, I'm sure there are judges who could find that right in the constitution if they were so inclined.
Let's hope that this woman is able to sue the transit system in Ft. Worth and that it sends a signal to a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to faith.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Are Christians Taking Christ out of Christmas?

I remember that as a kid I would sometimes hear people express disapproval over Christmas being shortened to Xmas. You would hear a lot of expressions of disgust that, "Christ was being taken out of Christmas." In fact, Merry Xmas is a legitimately Christian expression, at least in writing. X is the Greek symbol for Christ. So merry Xmas is Merry Christmas.
Today, Christians are rallying together to combat the 'War on Christmas.' We don't like it that people have stopped saying, "Merry Christmas," for the more politically correct, "happy holidays." Actually, "happy holidays," should be offensive to about 10% of the population who consider themselves atheists. Maybe it's not such a politically correct term after all.
But if Christians are going to fault the secular world for taking Christ out of Christmas, perhaps they should think about how they celebrate Christmas themselves. I wonder how many Christians who complain so loudly about the war on Christmas actually came to either a Christmas Eve or Christmas day service. Remember what your mother said, "When you point a finger at someone else, there are three more pointing back at you.
I realize that the reason so many Christians have forsaken the custom of going to Mass on Christmas is that pastors have not given them the option. Protestantism in particular has a long history of eschewing any Christmas celebrations. But most Christians today celebrate Christmas. The difference is that it is now a more secular holiday. Secular holiday, boy talk about your oxymorons!
One church in our town actually canceled services a couple of years ago when Christmas fell on a Sunday so that people could stay home and be with their families. Well, after all, that is what Christmas is about, isn't it.
Look, I don't believe Christians are required to attend religious services on Christmas. But please, if you are going to complain about people forgetting, "the reason for the season," don't be a hypocrite and forsake the traditional assembling of Christians on that day. After all, He truly is the reason for the season.