Archive for the ‘Happy Easter’ Category

We live in a nation where over 78 percent of adults consider themselves religious, and religions are predominantly Christian, according to the Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life. So, why then aren’t more Christians wishing each other a Happy Easter?

Please don’t tell me most Americans have become so afraid of offending they can’t offer an Easter greeting, or others so sensitive they are offended by one. And, please don’t tell me Americans don’t value their freedom of religion.

Several years ago when my children attended the Boulder Valley School District, I discovered a school assignment that quite offended me. The assignment asked students to choose a constitutionally-protected freedom to give up. Then, after making their selections, students were to explain the reasons for their choices.

Maybe teachers attempted to emphasize the value of the Bill of Rights. Maybe teachers actually taught that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” as stated in the First Amendment. However, a better strategy would have been to encourage students to identify and learn ways to protect their rights.

One way to protect our rights is to exercise them.

Over 25 years ago, I saw a striking example of a most unlikely group demonstrating the right to freedom of religion. I met with prisoners in the Utah State Penitentiary’s chapel for a church service as a member of a group from the outside. Advertisers today would have Christians think they need new clothes and other items to dress up to celebrate Easter. In contrast, these prisoners underwent a strip search before putting back on their regular clothes to enter the chapel just so they could worship. Despite the freedoms they lost behind bars, they chose to exercise their freedom to worship according to their desires.

What a contrast between the prisoners who were paying for their crimes and those people who were attracted to a western Ohio minister’s Easter services this year. According to a March 13 Dayton Daily News story, Pastor Wesley Miller of the Xenia Christian Center offered to pay 25 cents on each gallon of gas purchased at a local convenience store. He did this in hopes of enticing people to attend the Christian Center’s Easter services.

The prisoners demonstrated they valued their freedom of religion. Those enticed by the pastor’s offer showed they valued less expensive gas.

Many local churches took a better approach. They placed ads in the newspaper, mailed invitations and knocked on their friends’ and neighbors’ doors. They invited all to share in their celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, his victory over the grave. Easter egg hunts and special family dinners added to the diversity of the Easter celebrations. Then, a significant number of Americans likely skipped the Easter scene altogether. That’s the beauty of the First Amendment. All Americans can participate in religion, or not, as they choose.

In part of my keeping Easter, let me wish you a Happy Easter.

Source: Published March 23, 2008, under “Easter more accountable” Daily Camera

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