Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Atheist Nativity Scene" on Courthouse Lawn Welcomes the Season

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As more than 2 billion Christians worldwide prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, atheists once again prepare to celebrate what they don't believe.

The symbol of their unbelief, in this case, is a manger like scene, featuring Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington looking adoringly at a "baby" Bill of Rights in a manger.

A look behind the scenes.

Be informed.

Michael Faust writes, "An atheist group has placed a secular nativity scene honoring the 'baby Bill of Rights' on an Illinois courthouse lawn to counter the traditional Jesus-centered nativity scene."

The secular scene features Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington "gazing adoringly" at a "baby" Bill of Rights in a manger,

The sponsors of the so-called "secular nativity", Freedom From Religion Foundation, say in their press release that they have also included the Statute of Liberty in the scene to further make their "irreverent" point.

They have included a sign which reads, "Happy Winter Solstice. At this Season of the Winter Solstice, we honor reason and the Bill of Rights (adopted Dec. 15, 1791)."

The bottom of the sign reads, "Keep Church and State Separate."

The FFRF had actually sent a letter to the Grundy County Courthouse back in 2013 regarding the presence of a Nativity on the courthouse lawn---demanding, of course, their right to express their non-belief regarding God. And any intrusion by Him into our government or culture.

Their news release says, "The display exemplifies the take-charge spirit of members of the freethought organization, who often assemble such installations in their hometowns to counter religious tableaus on public land."

The organization considers atheists and agnostics to be "free thinkers."

But are they really "free" in their thinking?

There is a larger scene behind the "secular nativity" display.

A closer look is revealing.

The founding of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Anne Nicole Gaynor.

Anne was the principal founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She died in 2015 at age 88.

Anne and her daughter, Annie Laurie, then a college student, formed FFRF in 1976.

Anne, a master at sound bites and very media savvy, quickly took the organization from a small voice to national prominence. In 1983, she filed a lawsuit against then President Reagan---Gaylor v Reagan---for declaring that year to be "The Year of the Bible." That same year she also filed a successful lawsuit against Wisconsin for its Good Friday holiday. The court found the holiday to be unconstitutional.

This put Anne in demand. She appeared on "The Phil Donahue Show," Oprah, (in Chicago), etc.

She also wrote a short book titled, "Lead us not into Penn Station," a book of short stories about free thinking and other provocative essays including, "Nothing Fails Like Prayer."

In 1975, she wrote the book, "Abortion is a Blessing," about the successful fight to legalize abortion.

Daughter Annie Gaynor.

Following her mother's death, Annie took over the organization.

Today she is, along with her husband, Dan Barker, co-president of FFRF and co-host with husband Barker on their daily radio program, "Free Thought Radio."

Husband Dan Barker.

Dan Barker grew up in church, and for 19 years served as an evangelical pastor, preacher and Christian songwriter,

Barker received a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church in Southern California in 1975.

He later served as an associate pastor at a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) Church, a church affiliated with the Assemblies of God, and an independent charismatic church.

Barker wrote a number of Christian songs, particularly children's musicals including, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "His Fleece Was White as Snow." Both published by Manna Music, his musicals were used in evangelical churches across the country.

I'm told he has continued to receive royalties from his Christian music until just recently.

I crossed paths with Barker several times during the years I was a pastor in the church in North Hollywood.

He is an accomplished musician, composer, and speaker.

In 1984, Dan announced he was done with Christianity and left the church, telling his co-ministers, friends, and family he had become an atheist.

While his departure from the church was abrupt, his move toward atheism was not. He later wrote that it was a process of "freeing himself" from the restraints of Christianity in his book, "Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist."

Appearing on "AM Chicago" hosted by Oprah Winfrey to talk about "kicking the habit of religion," Dan met Annie. Soon after they married. They have one daughter.

Today, Freedom From Religion Foundation is a multi-million dollar operation that assaults everything Christian and what they don't believe about Christianity and the Bible.

A glance at what they "do" believe. 

What they believe about The Ten Commandments:

"Do study the ten commandments! They epitomize the childishness, the vindictiveness, the sexism, the inflexibility and the inadequacies of the bible as a book of morals."

What they believe about morality:

"Morality is human-made, not ordained. Freethinkers judge conduct by its intent and consequences to the welfare of individuals, humankind and the planet as a whole....they do not respond to bribes of an 'afterlife' or threats of hellfire. The only higher power we can truly invoke lies in our own minds and our own intelligence."

'We hope that someday humanity will outgrow god-ideas much as children outgrow literal belief in Santa Clause."

What they believe about Jesus Christ:

"On the whole, Jesus said little that was worthwhile. He introduced nothing new in ethics (except hell). He instituted no social programs. Being 'omniscient' he could have shared some useful science or medicine, but he appeared ignorant of such things.

"Why is Jesus so special? It would be more reasonable and productive to emulate real, flesh-and-blood human beings who have contributed to humanity...scientists who have alleviated suffering,. social reformers who have fought injustice---than to worship a character of such dubious qualities as Jesus."

Dan and Annie may have freed themselves from religion---but their actions and words deny they have freed themselves from God.

Who would devote their entire lives and millions of dollars to prove Someone, whom they claim does not exist, does not exist?

I know that Dan knows of the power and presence of God. Probably Annie does not.

I also know that God still loves them. If they will open their hearts and minds to the Truth, He will set them free from the lie and the bondage they desperately seek to escape.

As I write this, I'm thinking about the verse in John 1:5, "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."

And maybe Dan and Annie should consider a government from which they cannot separate God.

The Government of the Promised Son
Isaiah 9:

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Be Informed. Be Free. Be Blessed.