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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's not funny

It’s not funny

I have commented several times that I think we are becoming a nation of easily offended people. Everyone seems to be looking for a way to be offended. I believe I should be careful not to give offense and very slow to take offense. In fact, in Proverbs 19:20, we are commanded to avoid taking offense. And certainly we should do our best to put the best construction on everything. However, when it is obvious that offense is clearly intended, it’s understandable that offense is taken.

When it comes to bumper stickers that read, "So Many Rightwing Christians, So Few Lions," I just sigh and wonder how it is that those who claim to be so tolerant and denounce hatred are often the most intolerant of all. Such a bumper sticker (which was seen recently by my niece in Seattle) isn’t funny. It’s intended to be offensive. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, but why is it always open season on Christians? Is it funny that men, women, and children were eaten alive by Lions? Are the folks who created this bumper sticker descendents of those who cheered when the Lions ate Christians alive in ancient Rome?

I am offended even more by those who desecrate an ancient Christian symbol, the fish. Some folks choose to put the outline of a fish on their car (I’m not one of them) as a witness that they are followers of the Christ. The fish symbol goes back to ancient times when Christians were openly persecuted and met in the catacombs for fellowship. In those days, many men, women, and children died horrible deaths because of their faith in Jesus.

That’s why the symbol of the fish is so special to Christians. They want to honor these brave men, women, and children who suffered so much because they were followers of the Way. Putting a fish symbol on their lapel or on their car is their way of honoring their Christian ancestors and quietly and un-offensively telling others that they believe in Jesus as their Savior.

Apparently putting this small outline of a fish on a car is just too much for a society that is in your face with pornography, vulgarity, and obscenity. Today it’s hard to go to the mall or walk down a city street without some lout using every foul word he (or she) knows. It doesn’t make any difference whatsoever if you are with your wife or with young children. Their uncouth rant goes on at full throat. And apparently no one is offended.

Yet, because some Christians seek to put the symbol of a fish on their car, others openly mock their religion by putting "Darwin" in the center of the fish. This desecration of an ancient Christian symbol offends me. I’m not saying that someone who believes in the theory of evolution can’t be a Christian, but clearly the intent is to mock and belittle Christian beliefs. 

Perhaps I’m overreacting. Perhaps the folks who have done this are not aware of the importance of this symbol to Christians. Let’s hope so. Or perhaps they should consider practicing what they preach – tolerance of others opinions, views, faith and practices. 

A free society continues to exist because you and I and the majority of others in our society practice self-restraint and exercise respect for others. When that majority no longer exists, our society breaks down and the power of government replaces our self restraint and self discipline. And when that happens our freedom vanishes.

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