Call it art

Here is the answer to complaints about Ten Commandment monuments, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes in public places. Call it art. When people say they are offended, say “but art is SUPPOSED to be offensive.” When people call such displays an establishment of religion, say, “but that’s just YOUR interpretation.”

Can you think of other examples of how Christians could co-opt and use for their own cause the arguments normally employed on the other side?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Manxman

    Push for rigorous health standards, licensing and inspections in such places as homosexual bath houses & other fun spots and in so-called “clinics” where abortions are performed in the name of “public health.” There are a lot of places where such regulations don’t exist.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The other side claims the virtue of pluralism tolerance, and respect for the views of others; yet it draws a line when it comes to public celebrations involving Christian symbols.

    Charles Krauthammer, a Jew, in an incisive 2004 piece, Goodbye Christmas? addresses this as follows:

    It is Christmas time, and what would Christmas be without the usual platoon of annoying pettifoggers rising annually to strip Christmas of any Christian content. …
    It is the more deracinated members of religious minorities, brought up largely ignorant of their own traditions, whose religious identity is so tenuous that they feel the need to be constantly on guard against displays of other religions — and who think the solution to their predicament is to prevent the other guy from displaying his religion, rather than learning a bit about their own.
    America transcended the idea of mere toleration in 1790 in Washington’s letter to the Newport synagogue, one of the lesser known glories of the Founding: “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”
    More than two centuries later, it is time that members of religious (and anti-religious) minorities, as full citizens of this miraculous republic, transcend something too: petty defensiveness.
    Merry Christmas. To all.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Well, Christians could adopt the cute post-modern trick of redefining things that already have an established meaning to make them more suitable to one’s own ideas.

    For instance, when the Muslim says, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet”, Christians could redefine it and tell the Muslim, “Oh, it’s so wonderful to hear that you agree with us. Allah, of course, is just your name for the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and Muhammad isn’t a real person, of course, but just another way of affirming God’s revelation in the Bible through the apostles and prophets!”

    And Christians could tell every Jew they see with a Star of David, “I rejoice to see that you wear a cross just like we do. Since Jesus is the promised Son of David, the Messiah, it’s clear that your wearing of David’s Star is just your different way of declaring your faith in Jesus, the crucified and risen Christ, as your Savior.”

    And, of course, the most obvious is perhaps the most political: instead of claiming that the moral and other positions of conservative Christianity should be maintained because they are the majority position in society, Christians can instead claim the status of oppressed minorities who need to be accommodated and who cannot bear to be offended.

    But the reason Christians don’t do these things already is because . . . biblical Christianity and post-modern ideals are mutually exclusive. Too bad … could be fun! :)

  • Ben

    Chesterton wrote of Christian truths gone mad. Misconceptions of “tolerance” comes to mind. I suggest there’s something to be said for a returning-to-wits of our (if you will) own language as well.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    People who are apt to be the targets of violence (gays, afro-Americans, women, etc.) must have their Second Amendment rights protected. How can we expect, say, a black man in the South to rely on the local sheriff for protection when said sheriff is the same person who just pulled him over for being black? Women, who are often only half the weight of their abusive ex-husband, are disproportionally endangered by gun control laws. (In my our ministry as a Lutheran Pastor I have had occasion to advise threatened women in my congregation on how to protect themselves. Just the presence of a firearm often has a pacifying affect on would-be violent person.)


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