More critique for Fachting’s column on prayer

July 11, 2019

To the Editor:

 This letter is a continuation of my letter of 5 July and critique of Dr. Fachting’s column of 21 June about prayer.  In it he also supports Christmas decorations and the use of the greeting, “Merry Christmas” in the public square and laments that both have been banned. In his column he states: “It is not politically correct and in some cases, illegal, to have Christmas decorations in public or even to say Merry Christmas because it makes others feel we are pushing their religion on them.”  

Again I ask Dr. Fachting, just what laws make Christmas decorations or saying “Merry Christmas” illegal is he speaking of?  I know of no such laws. 
First I shall speak to “Christmas decorations,” primarily religious crèches in public.  At Christmas time I see many publicly viewable Christmas crèches, for people to publicly see, set on private property such as home lawns and church property.  This is perfectly legal and which few would object. 

 What is objectionable is when the Christian religious symbol of a crèche; or any religious symbol for that matter, be it a Jewish Menorah, Islamic crescent moon, or Satanic symbol of Baphomet; is placed on public property, such as a city hall or public school, because this violates the 1stAmendment which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”  SCOTUS has ruled that there is a “Separation of Church and State.”  No religious organization has the right for the government to use tax dollars or government property to promote, advance, or endorse its particular dogma.  SCOTUS has also ruled, which many people object to yet is still a court precedent, that a Christmas crèche may be displayed on tax funded property if it also appears alongside secular symbols of the season, such as Frosty Snowman, snowflakes, reindeer, Santa Claus, or a Christmas tree.  The same is true if a Jewish Menorah is displayed. 

 Secondly let me speak to the greeting of “Merry Christmas.”  The 2nd Amendment right of Freedom of Speech certainly protects anyone saying “Merry Christmas” if they so choose.  However, no Christian has a right to demand that others use the greeting or to shame them for not doing so.  Christians should not be offended if one chooses not to say “Merry Christmas” even as an Irishman should not be offended if one chooses not to say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day.”  The same freedom of speech allows others to say or not to say, “Seasons Greetings”, “Happy Holidays,” “HappyHanukkah” or “Blessed Solstice.”  If Christians want respect for their greeting they must give respect to other’s greetings of the season.  Christians have no monopoly on the celebration of the winter season.  Theirs is only one of many different celebrations.

 As I read Dr. Fachting’s column I received the impression that he believes Christians are being persecuted for their religious beliefs because others choose not to endorse or practice those beliefs or when they object to Christians insisting they do.  Can Christians worship and pray in the U.S. as they choose as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of other citizens?  Of course they can.  Are there religious rights under the 1st Amendment being infringed upon?  I think not.  Christians in the U.S. are not being persecuted, except in their own imagination.  The rights of any religious believer end where another citizens rights begin.
The Rev. Brother
Robert Barker
Weidman, MI

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