I often post long comments on a variety of subjects on other blogs. Today one of my good friends Matthew posted a very good blog entry. (See the photo to the right, taken on one of the few days when I had more hair them him.) Here is his blog entry, if you could read that first it will make mine more logical. I mostly agreed with him and the subject of business came up in my answer so I will repost my reply here for all my business readers.
I once heard a quote that one who believes in freedom of speech “Will defend someone who is yelling at the top of their lungs their ideals in a public place, ideals which you would yell at the top of your lungs to oppose.” I have thought about this often. We live in a nation where we should have freedom of speech, and even if that speech is against what I say and think I will support that freedom.
Now it comes to appropriateness of the time and place it is a whole different mater. I think that there is a huge difference between public and private events. I thought it was shameful for those few democratic protestors to sneak into the republic convention and protest during the peaks of the speeches. It was NOT their place. I also think that if someone goes through all the trouble and expense to put on a parade (Such as a famous church does each St Patricks day.) they own that parade and they should be able to pick and choose who is allowed to be in their parade, not forced to allow a group of Homosexual rights people to basically have a protest in the middle of the parade as a court recently forced them to do. If the Gays want to have their own parade, I have no problem with that, they can pick a different time or place. Also if a pastor wants to say something to his church about who to vote for, he should be allowed, unlike todays laws.
On Friday I went to the state fair, there were two different church groups who rented a space there, they decided that they would try to tell people about God. I also have no problem with this, they used their money, and they were following the rules. Now was this the best place, I think not, will they actually do any good for the Kingdom of God, maybe they will make a few people think. For years I have thought that relationships were the best way to win people to Christ. You simply invite them to events, show them the community and tell them the Gospel and let them decide. But any decision that is forced is NOT lasting or sincere, and so many Christians like to force such decisions.
If you notice in the quote you have from Thomas Jefferson he says sect. As you know this is a difference within the same religion. He could not imagine that our nation would be anything but Christian. He just did not want one denomination to be favored over another.
I do totally agree that we should not force our Christian ideals on non Christians as a form of law. There are too many laws in our nation. We are NOT a free nation. Anyone who leaves for a year or more and comes back will tell you that. There are others that are less free but also others that are far more free.
You also had the point of the “Merry Christmas” greeting. I have found that it is used far less. The other day I went to Costco they had two isles of “Christmas” stuff, so I decided to look really closely, there was not one item that was Christian based, and not one location did it say the word Christmas. They are a business, they can choose what to put on their shelves, but me, as a Christian can choose where I will buy my decorations, and even if they have the best price it will NOT be from them. Two years ago I heard that Macy’s decided to make bring back Christmas and in all of their ads they stopped all of the holiday stuff that others do and actually, to the shock of the left, mentioned Christmas. And you know what, their sales went way up and they had their best season ever. These are all private originations, they can choose what they want to say, they will be held accountable by the general public for what they do and say though.
To me the fundamental thing is that we have LOST the conversation in this nation. People are divided and in most ways very close minded. The force of the debate on both sides has caused people to become callous to the point that they are stuck in what they think. A hard attack will just cause people to put the shields up and resist, only a slow, over time conversation based on logic will ever convert most people in this climate. (This is for every issue, religious, political and even for choice of OS.)