Christmas and Religious Freedom

Christmas and Religious Freedom December 23, 2012

Jim West shared this cartoon (for what reason I will not speculate):

I find the cartoon bizarre. I don't think that whoever made it has any concept of either the setting into which Jesus was born or how religious freedom is safeguarded in the United States in ways that were unimagined then.

Back then, there was no American Civil Liberties Union. Emperors and kings ruled and if they didn't approve of your religion, you faced persecution and death.

Today in the United States and many other countries with religious freedom, people have the freedom to practice their religion. Anyone who wishes to celebrate Christmas can do so and need not call it anything else. Anyone who wishes to put a nativity display on their property can do so.

The only thing you can't legally do is use government property and government institutions to display, promote, and/or advance your religion. That is not an infringement of your religious freedom, it is protecting your freedom and others by preventing the use of state power or influence to promote a particular religion.

In other words, it is pretty much the opposite of the situation in Jesus' time. And it has proven an effective way of safeguarding religious freedom.

And so I can only shake my head at the misinformed cartoonist who knows so little about both history and the present day, that they could really think – or at least pretend – that there was religious freedom in Jesus' time while things are worse in ours. The opposite is the case, and as a Christian and more specifically a Baptist, I am thankful for the separation of church and state that safeguards my religious freedom and yours.



Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Just Sayin’

    West is basically a fundamentalist.

    • He is one of the most bizarre people I have ever known: minimalist, yet, creationist. Against Rick Warren and the Pentecostalists, yet, for theocracy. Anti-Taliban, yet, anti-Zionist. Opponent of Halloween and gay marriage and supporter of gun control and taxes. Anti-Jesus ahistoricist, yet pro-David ahistoricist.

      • Just Sayin’

        Agreed. His biblical studies knowledge seems to only randomly interact with his ultra conservative (mostly fundamentalist) theology.

  • LMoon

    I agree the cartoon makes no sense, but I took it as making fun of the popular perception of the ACLU as butting into areas they don’t belong by taking that perception to its ridiculous logical extreme. But I don’t know anything about the cartoonist and may be giving them too much credit.

  • aar9n

    I’m gonna start requiring people to tell me happy birthday starting 25 days before my birthday or they aren’t my true friends.