Once again, we come to the time of year when we celebrate the Fourth of July in remembrance of all the wonderful things this country means to us. The celebration will include fireworks, parades and picnics when the hot dog will be king for a day. It is a wonderful time of the year.
Yet, in the midst of all of the celebrations, there are a few black clouds blocking the sunlight.
Just the other day the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were watching a news program where they featured somebody offended by the American flag displayed in a meeting they were attending. We both looked at each other and sadly shook our heads. What kind of nonsense is going on in this country? People’s lives are so shallow that they have to try to think of something to be offended?
I am not sure why the American flag offended them so, but I have the perfect solution. I am not sure why people do not think of solutions like this, but if the American flag offends you then go to a country that has a flag it does not offend you. Simple. Problem solved. No more offense.
It would not offend me in the least if people would do this.
The American flag reminds us of all the wonderful things we enjoy in this country. The Fourth of July is an opportunity to express our thanks for living in a country such as this. If this was such a terrible country, why are so many people trying to get in at all cost? We still have some freedoms here that the rest of the world is envious of. The flag represents the foundation of our country and the ongoing sacrifice that has kept it free for so long. How can that be offensive to anybody?
At the same time another story on the news caught our attention concerning the Sept. 11 museum in New York City. From some of the things I am seeing on TV most of the people in America have forgotten what happened on Sept. 11. Somebody walked in, saw the symbol of the cross and became physically ill by it. They claim the cross made them sick in the stomach.
This was a little confusing to me. These are people who say they do not believe in God, personally, I do not believe a word they say. Here is this person, who does not believe in God, who does not believe in religion, sees a religious symbol and becomes offended and physically ill by it. They surely need help and I recommend a group of industrial-strength psychiatrists and therapists along with a team of military medical doctors to pump out their stomach.
Now, what I want to know is, if they do not believe in religion, what does this religious symbol mean to them? If they really did not believe in religion, as they claim, the symbol would not mean anything to them, and furthermore, it would not affect them in any way or fashion. The fact that it offended them reveals to those who have at least two brain cells wandering around upstairs that here is a religious person. Only a religious person would react to a religious symbol. If I am not a religious person, none of this religious symbolism means anything to me and I look at it, then walk on.
While I am on the topic, another matter really annoys me.
Why is prayer so offensive to these people who say they do not believe in religion? The fact that it makes them angry and offends them tells me something about what they say they believe.
Why is it that prayer offends them and why are they so afraid of prayer and of God?
Their fear of God suggests that deep down somewhere, pass their stomach, they believed God just might exist.
This brings to me Pascal’s wager. “If God exists (and Christianity is true) and you choose not to believe, then you lose everything. But, if God exists (and Christianity is true) and you choose to believe, then you gain everything.” I do not believe it could be stated any clearer than that.
To date nobody has ever proven the Bible to be anything but true. For 2000 years, people have desperately attempted to destroy the Bible or at least discredit it and yet it is the number one seller in the world today. What if this Bible, that nobody can prove to be untrue, is absolutely and positively true?
Are these people who say they do not believe willing to wager everything?
Why is it I must accept what they do and say, but they do not have to accept what I do and say? Why do I have to respect them, but they do not have to respect me? Is that being a true red, white and blue American patriot?
Jesus put it in the right perspective when he said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21).
Our problem today is that we have confused Caesar with God and no longer understand the difference. The problem is, Caesar does not have all the answers, but God does. The reign of Caesar has collapsed, but God is still on the throne, Almighty God is He.
If you do not respect the flag, at least respect those who do.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, P.O. Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is www.jamessnyderministries.com.