Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents teach their children appropriate toleration for people with different beliefs and behaviors. We must teach them to be tolerant rather than take offense and that we cannot be offended if we refuse to take offense.
Our nation is greatly divided because people take offense about statements and actions where no offense is meant. Christian faith and principles have been under attack for fifty or sixty years since the Supreme Court ruled that we could not allow prayers in schools. More and more court cases are taking place in order to stop Christians from publicly practicing principles of religion. These cases more often than not are about nativity scenes on public property.
The following information has apparently been around for several years. It is attributed to Ben Stein and his "Confessions for the Holidays," but some of it came from other sources according to Snopes dot com. I find it very interesting no matter who was inspired to write it, and I hope that my readers will spend some time thinking about it as we celebrate Christmas and other holidays this year.
I believe strongly that Americans should tolerate the practices of all religions, but I draw the line at religions that enslave women and allow murder. I am a Christian, but I have no problem with seeing how other religions celebrate their holidays. This time of year is a season of good will. I want to be able to say "Merry Christmas" to everyone I meet, and I am okay with someone saying "Happy Hanukah" or whatever their religion is celebrating right now.
I do not understand how simply seeing a nativity scene brings offense. In fact, I find it very interesting that some of the same people who refuse to tolerate nativity scenes expect Christians to be tolerant of same-sex marriages and other deviant life styles. It appears to me that toleration should be a two-way street in order to have more unity in our nation. Parents can strengthen their families and communities and thus strengthen our nation by teaching our children and grandchildren to stop taking offense, particularly when no offense is intended.
"I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.
"It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, `Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in
. If people want a crib, it's just as fine with
me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. Malibu
"I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that
is an explicitly atheist country. I
can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my
"Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the
went to. America
"In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
"Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: `How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: `I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
"In light of recent events … terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.
"Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.
"Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
"Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW!"
"Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.. Funny how you can send `jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school land workplace.
"Are you laughingly yet?
"Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
"Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
"Pass it on if you think it has merit."