The past few years we have heard more and more stories of the ACLU, atheist organizations, and others threatening local governments and public schools with legal action over Christmas decorations.
Baxter County is still in the middle of a lawsuit over its Nativity display placed on its courthouse lawn. Christmas decorations in Texas and elsewhere have been similarly attacked.
In 2012 atheists tried–unsuccessfully–to have an anti-Christmas message placed alongside Christmas decorations in Michigan; the proposed sign read,
“At this season of THE WINTER SOLSTICE may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world, Religion is but Myth and superstition that hardens hearts And enslaves minds.”
Here’s a question for you: How come we never hear about these groups going after Halloween decorations?
The ACLU in Ohio has written about whether or not Halloween qualifies as a “religious” holiday; overall their tone is very dismissive, opening with,
“Is Halloween off limits in the public schools? Do paper witches and goblins hung on bulletin boards violate the separation of church and state?
“Not really. . . .”
They go on to note how religious groups and individuals have unsuccessfully challenged displays that were allegedly satanic.
By and large, few believe in vampires that turn into bats, ghosts under white sheets, or witches that fly on broomsticks. When students color Jack-O-Lanterns and skeletons during Art Class this time of year, it’s generally viewed as harmless fun. However, many people do believe in ghosts; many pagan religions–both ancient and modern–believe in magic and witchcraft; and many religions–including Christianity–believe in devils and spirits.
The “paper witches and goblins” that adorn school bulletin boards this time of year may look little like what any of these people have in mind when they discuss spirits or witchcraft, but arguably they are still depictions of something that is at the very least supernatural and perhaps even directly tied to certain religious beliefs.
Theoretically, an atheist would believe in God and Jesus no more than in a witch with warts and a green face. So why is there no effort to put disclaimers up alongside Halloween decorations at school? Wouldn’t it be just as appropriate to remind people there are no gods, devils, or angels at Halloween as at Christmas? Shouldn’t Halloween magic be just as offensive to freethinkers as a Christmas miracle? Where is the outrage?
When it comes to the treatment of Halloween versus Christmas, perhaps Ravi Zacharias put it best when he said concerning many modern atheists, “The anger with which they speak about God you would not speak against the tooth fairy. Something in the back of their minds tells them, ‘He’s real, and we’re angry.'”
Photo Credit: Anders Lagerås (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.