“I’ll tell you this — I’m going to fight this until hell freezes over,” Henderson County Texas Commissioner Joe Hall bellowed in response to a Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) letter politely asking that a Nativity scene erected on the county courthouse lawn be removed because it violates the Constitution. He called the letter “stupid” and vowed to do whatever it takes to stop the Atheists.
“I hope and pray that we leave it up … It’s been up there for decades without any complaints,” he told Fox News. “I’m an old country boy, you come to my house looking for a fight, you’re going to get one … That’s from the bottom of my heart.”
Enough is enough declared a group of east Texas pastors about the FFRF request. “It’s time that Americans stand up and take America back for the faith that we were founded upon,” said one of them from the First Baptist Church. “We’re going to stand up and fight for this.”
“It’s time to draw a line in the sand and start standing up for the Christian faith … Christianity is under attack in America … Our country is quickly heading down a direction which the Christian faith is taking a hit; it’s quickly becoming suppressed,” cried the man of God, who wants his children to grow up in the same country that had the religious freedom and opportunity to “worship Jesus as I did,” he explained.
“So now they’re trying to take Baby Jesus,” whined one shocked and rattled resident in the overwhelmingly Christian community. “What is so offensive about a baby in a manger? If it does not mean anything to you, why does it offend you?”
A huge community rally is planned to defend the courthouse Nativity scene. “We cannot sit by,” said the pastor. “It’s a hill to die on. It’s a fight worth having. I’m here to be a voice in that movement. We are a people of the Christian faith.”
And now the Attorney General for the State of Texas is getting into the act by offering to defend Henderson County in court in the event of a lawsuit.
“Don’t mess with Texas” is his official government response to the FFRF.
“Our message to the Atheists is don’t mess with Texas and our Nativity scenes or the Ten Commandments,” Attorney General Greg Abbott declared in full agreement with the group of aforementioned pastors. He apparently believes as does the First Baptist Church pastor that courthouses in Texas are places to go to worship Jesus.
“There has been an ongoing battle between the forces of Atheism and the forces of those who are antagonistic to all things religious against those who recognize the religious heritage of this country, the highest ranking government lawyer in the State of Texas proclaimed. “And by defending Nativity scenes, by defending the Ten Commandments and by defending students who try to say a prayer at a graduation ceremony, we’re trying to preserve, protect and defend what we know is perfectly legal.”
Perfectly legal; did he say it’s perfectly legal? If it is perfectly legal for courthouses in the State of Texas to be avowedly Christian; for the Ten Commandments to hang on courthouse walls; and for prayers at public school graduations; then the First Amendment Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution is null and void in Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down every one of those government infringements.
I wonder what Attorney General Abbot would do if a rebellious courthouse in Texas hung a big bright banner over the front door entrance with the message in bold letters: “Gods Are Imaginary,” and a Christian in the community complained about it. I’m absolutely sure he’d go to court in a rage to have it removed.
I wonder what Henderson County Texas Commissioner Joe Hall would think -- from the bottom of his heart -- if he came home from a long day of work to find an Atheist sitting in his living room armchair eating his popcorn while watching his TV set. I bet he’d think exactly the same thing a non-believer thinks when he sees a Christian Nativity scene on his public courthouse lawn and the Ten Commandments displayed on his public courthouse wall.
I wonder why some Christians don’t understand the simple fact that courthouses and other public buildings belong to everyone – not just Christians. They don’t understand the simple constitutional concept that government is not supposed to take sides in matters of religion.
Every time someone in a religious minority objects to government sponsorship of Christianity, these Christians interpret it as an attack on Christianity when nothing could be further from the truth. No one complains about Nativity scenes on church lawns or anywhere else on private property, least of all Atheists. Nativity scenes, Ten Commandment displays, and religious rituals belong on private property.
These Christians, of course, would be the first to complain bitterly if the government was openly sponsoring Atheism on public property. And they would rightly rest their legal case on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which was written to protect the rights and freedoms of every one.
Non-believers now make up roughly 17% of the American people – more than the numbers of Jews and Muslims combined – a significant minority. Those who think of themselves as non-religious are growing percentage wise in numbers faster than those in any religion, including Christianity. They have rights too. Public buildings belong to them too.
Perhaps that’s why some Christians perceive their religion as under attack. If the government stops sponsoring them they think it’s attacking them. They’re willing to fight to preserve what they regard as their government God.
No, Mr. Attorney General, courthouses aren’t Christian in Texas.