Category Archives: religious news

Why object to ‘happy holiday’?

Quiz time, y’all: Who among us really objects to retail employees wishing their customers a “happy holiday” rather than “Merry Christmas”?

At the risk of generalizing, I submit that those who object are either: close-minded, ignorant of those around them, also ignorant of the “religious liberty” clause in the Constitution, just plain bigoted.

I never, ever have objected to receiving a “happy holidays” wish from a retailer. I also am a Christian who celebrates Christmas fully, relishing the commercial aspect as well as the religious significance of the holiday.

I also recognize that my religious orientation is far from the only one being observed by my neighbors, or even my friends. I live in a community with a significant Muslim population. I see women with hijabs on their heads daily; I also presume the men who accompany them also are of the Muslim faith.

Why wish someone a Merry Christmas who doesn’t observe the holiday? A “happy holiday” would suffice. Why, they likely would smile back and wish the same for the retail employee.

Donald Trump once stupidly asserted that if he were elected POTUS that he would “make” businesses wish customers a “Merry Christmas.” Of course, the president has no authority to issue such an order. But … it played well among the MAGA base that helped elect their moronic leader to office in 2016.

The simple act of wishing people a happy holiday is a recognition of the pluralistic society in which we live. It should offend no one — not a single patriotic American — even a little bit to hear it.

I submit the pluralism plays a huge part in “making America great.”

GOP set to impose religion in public schools

Pass the Pepto … because my gut is starting to churn over a highly contentious issue making its way out of the Texas Legislature.

The state Senate has approved a bill that would require public schools in Texas to display the Ten Commandments.

Oh, boy! Here we go.

It’s headed to the House, with its own Republican majority. Any bets on whether it ends up on GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk and on whether Abbott will sign it into law? I didn’t think so.

Why is issue so troublesome for me? For starters, I need to stipulate that I have no particularly strong personal objection to the Ten Commandments being displayed in public schools. The commandments, let us remember, are chronicled in the Old Testament, which tells of the instruction Moses received from the Almighty.

That’s out of the way.

However … the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates several civil liberties. The first of them declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion … ” Hmm. What does that mean, precisely?

It means, as I read it, that Congress’ prohibition is exclusive to that body. Meaning that Congress can’t enact a law. Does that also preclude state legislatures? Maybe I’m splitting hairs. I also understand fully that the founders created a secular government that is supposed to be free from religion.

Does it preclude religious influence? No, not that I can tell.

The Ten Commandments clearly are a religious statement, given to us by God Almighty. Public schools are government entities, paid for with taxpayer funds, some of which come from individuals and families that might object to any element of religion being installed in public school system. Is it fair to them to expose them to a statement they could find objectionable? No, which is what the founders realized when they created a secular Constitution.

I am not going to mount a protest if the Legislature sends this bill to Abbott’s desk and Abbott signs it.

I just fear we are about to head down that proverbial slippery slope.

This isn’t very biblical

A social media acquaintance posted something I want to share here, and then I’ll offer a brief comment.

It comes from the New Testament:

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men … but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen.” ~ Matthew 6:5

My friend posted the message along with a picture of Joel Osteen standing before an enormous crowd in the “church” he converted from a Houston sports venue. It’s gawdy and, well, a testament to conspicuous consumption.

It ain’t my kinda house of worship.

I thought Jesus had it right when he instructed us to pray in privately. This sort of glam-worship is a major turnoff … at least it is to me.

Protecting all civil liberties

“Well, the radical left believes that the freedom of religion is the freedom from religion. But it’s nothing the American founders ever thought of or generations of Americans fought to defend.”

The comment here is attributed to former Vice President Mike Pence, as if that’s any surprise.

I want to take a brief moment to challenge the ex-VPOTUS’s assertion.

When I took my oath upon being inducted into the U.S. Army in 1968, I presumed in the moment that I was going to protect the U.S. Constitution. That means all of the civil liberties enshrined in the document. One of those liberties includes the First Amendment’s protection against the government imposing a state religion.

Pence to revisit religious freedom act – High Plains Blogger (

The amendment does in fact guarantee citizens the right to avoid religion if that is their choice. It isn’t mine, but I have no right to presume that every American should follow my lead. They are free to worship whatever or not worship any religious deity.

Are we clear? Good!

We are free from religion!

I want to express my outrage at politicians who continue to insist that the United States is a Christian nation and that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee that we are guaranteed to free ourselves from religion of any stripe.

There. I just did express my intense anger.

Too many pols keep insisting that their Christian devotion is good enough for everyone. Therefore, they advocate foisting Christian beliefs on students in public schools.

There can be no greater perversion of what the Constitution lays out there than the idiocy being pitched by the likes of, oh, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

She recently declared that this country is a Christian nation. It is nothing of the sort. The First Amendment to the Constitution spells out in clear, concise language that “Congress shall make no law” that establishes a state religion. As I have noted already on this blog, I cannot find a single mention of the words “Christian,” “Christianity” or “Jesus Christ.”

Boebert’s congressional wing woman, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, called herself a “Christian nationalist.” Thus, she is proud to foist her religious beliefs on every other American simply because she was elected to Congress.

The Constitution makes it abundantly clear — and the courts have affirmed it — that Americans are free to rely on the faith of their choice and that they also are free to be religion free.

It is not illegal in this country to be an atheist, or an agnostic.

Politicians who imply that it is illegal are as un-American as anyone in public life … and they should be tossed out of office.

Infidelity can scar for life

You see this circumstance crop up far more often than politicians care to admit. A pol declares himself or herself to be a “devout Christian” who wears his or her faith on both sleeves and plastered on the forehead.

Then their personal life becomes the subject of tittering and gossip.

That’s you, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor “What’s Her Name” Greene, the lunatic Republican from Georgia. She only recently declared herself to be a Christian nationalist. By golly, she’s devoted to the Bible, its teachings.

But … oops! Now comes word that her husband of 28 years is divorcing her. Their marriage is “irretrievably broken,” he said in papers filed in divorce court.

Oh, but there’s more. Reports are flying all over the place that Rep. What’s Her Name had a fling or two with men who aren’t her husband. I haven’t heard any categorical denial coming from the Georgia flamethrower. What am I — and others — to surmise? One notion might be that the reports of her extramarital tumbles are true.

So, here you go. Politicians who make these proclamations about their faith and, presumably, the sacred vows they take to their spouse open themselves up to even greater scrutiny when their lives take these sudden turns.

Ya gotta walk the walk, Rep. What’s Her Name … not just talk about it.

Prayer in school? Save it for church

You hear the refrain all the time, that society went to hell when the U.S. Supreme Court took prayer away from teachers and students in our public schools.

To which I say: nonsense!

For starters, I do not believe society has gone to hell. For critics of modern life, though, to assign blame for such an idiotic notion to a single court decision simply fails to look through a wide enough lens.

The SCOTUS ruled in the early 1960s that reciting prayers in public schools violated the First Amendment clause that prohibits the establishment of a “state religion.” Let’s be candid and clear about something: The prayers we all talk about are Christian prayers, which always end with a phrase that references “Jesus’s name.”

As I’ve tried to note, the Constitution doesn’t allow for Christian prayers, or Jewish prayers, or Muslim prayers in public schools. If we accept that public schools are products of local government — and I most certainly do — then public school systems are not exempt from the constitutional prohibitions laid out.

I also understand the “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” arguments that come from those who want to restore prayer in public schools. I happen to view those terms in broad terms. “Religious freedom and liberty” can be interpreted to mean that one is “free from religion” and is “liberated” from it, too.

Invariably I fall back on the notion to which I have subscribed my entire adult life. I am all for religion. I am a practicing Christian. I just want to save my prayer time for my own private moments … and for Sunday, when I’m sitting in church.

Carter walks the walk … of faith

This social media meme showed up today and it serves as a reminder of how great men and women can — and do — become models for others to emulate.

President Jimmy Carter, as near as I can recall, never has felt the need to bellow or bluster about his Christian faith. He merely practices it every waking minute of every day.

If only others in public life could or would follow the standard that Jimmy Carter has set. He has built houses for poor people; he has taught Sunday school classes at his hometown church in Plains, Ga. He lives a quiet life with his wife of 75-plus years, Rosalynn.

I just saw this today and want to offer a salute and tribute to the 39th president of the United States. President Carter’s quiet example of living a life of faith in God should inspire all of us.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your service to the country and for your service to all of humankind.

Christian nationalism? Ugh!

Christian nationalism is clawing its way back onto the political stage. If you’ll pardon my seeming hysteria, but … this notion frightens me.

Why? Well, the United States of America — despite the lies put forward by Christian nationalists — is not a Christian nation.

I have looked everywhere throughout the U.S. Constitution for the words “Jesus Christ,” or “Christian,” or “Chistianity.” I’ll be deep-friend and slathered in butter, but I cannot find any of those terms. Nowhere. The Constitution does not mention any of them. Not one time!

Why do you suppose that’s the case? It is because the nation’s founders were descended directly from those in Europe who fled religious persecution. They also fled governments that demanded that they worship a certain way.

Let’s also stipulate for the umpteenth time that the First Amendment to the Constitution declares that “Congress shall make no law” that establishes a state religion. Got it? Good!

Not everyone gets it, though. Take the recent blathering of the QAnon queen herself, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who said that she is a “nationalist” and also a “Christian.” Therefore, she said, “I am a Christian nationalist.”

She’s also stupidly misrepresenting the oath she took when she entered Congress in January 2021. The oath does not specify allegiance to a deity, let alone a Christian deity.

We must keep a watchful eye on Christian nationalists. They are a frightening bunch.

Church and state are separate … period!

Lauren Boebert must believe she knows something that’s lost on practically every American alive today, given that the nation’s founders created a government more than two centuries ago, long before any of us were around.

The Colorado Republican congresswoman made a patently preposterous assertion recently. She said: “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it. I am tired of this separation-of-church-and-state junk.”

Well …

She made the comment at a church service. Imagine that, eh?

Let me spell out what I believe the founders intended. They intended to create a secular governing document, one that does not answer to the dictates of spiritual teaching. The First Amendment, for example, contains several civil liberties the government protects. The first one mentioned — and this is important — deals with religion.

The amendment declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof … ” I want to call attention to the fact that the founders thought enough of that clause to make it the first one mentioned in the First Amendment to the nation’s government document.

Boebert’s ignorant statement about “separation-of-church-and-state junk” reminds me of a mantra a former Amarillo Globe-News colleague of mine used to recite. He kept insisting that since the Constitution doesn’t mention church-state separation specifically that it doesn’t really exist. I had to remind him that the courts have held over the course of two centuries that the First Amendment’s meaning intends to keep the church out of government’s business. Just because the Constitution doesn’t declare in so many words that the church cannot mingle in state business doesn’t make it less true.

So it is with nimrods such as Lauren Boebert, who in her brief time in Congress has managed to stand out as a spokeswoman for some truly wacky notions.

I tend to interpret the Constitution the same way I interpret my Bible, in that I am inclined to take a broad, expansive view of what both documents mean.

It’s my right to do so. The Constitution speaks clearly to it in that First Amendment.