'tis the season to be... silly?
earlier this week, an atheist-sponsored sign disparaging religion was included in a holiday display (along with a nativity display) in olympia, wa. christians and other folks from around the country were outraged; some even called it 'hate speech.' the atheists insisted that it is the nativity that is the hate speech, indirectly threatening non-believers with violent, eternal judgment. a local pastor planned to hold a press conference to unveil his own counter-sign that says, in part, "atheism is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds." now, the original sign has disappeared.
i will not defend the motives or actions of the atheists. was the sign provocative and insulting? sure, all of the atheistic protestations to the contrary. but i do sometimes wish that christians could respond with grace as well as truth. some of our reactions seem slightly hysterical to me. are we really that thin-skinned?
no one thought to have video surveillance on this obvious invitation to mischief, but i can only hope that christians were not the thieves. that's not only illegal and cowardly; it's also a strategic mistake. that sign was a great opportunity. it was the open door to talk about the true meaning of christmas and christianity, an invitation for the not-yet-believing to reflect on questions they might otherwise never ask, and a chance to demonstrate the love of Jesus. instead, we have discussions about first amendment rights vs. hate speech. not to mention that after the theft of the sign, the atheists are getting even more air time for their message.
maybe we should ask ourselves again, "what would Jesus do?" in addition to an unbending commitment to the truth, i'm guessing it has something to do with loving our enemies and laying down our lives for them, that they might come to know God...