Pastor Fred MacDonald of Westside Baptist Church in Rapid City has an excellent Forum piece in the Rapid City Journal today.
It is in response to all the whining done by the Rapid City Journal editorial board and a number of other groups around the country on the National Day of Prayer this year. Some felt that since Christians decided to actually observe the National Day of Prayer, that it was being hijacked and Muslims, et. cetera were being excluded.
Pastor MacDonald uses a story about the distant land of Esahp where a National Day of Ice Cream. It seems that traditionally everyone chose chocolate ice cream to celebrate and eat on this day, until the local newspaper whined that "lovers of strawberry, maple nut, and pistachio ice cream were feeling left out."
Here's what happened in the name of "diversity" in the land of Esahp:
Representatives of the various flavors came together to plan the festivities. However, when the chocolate lovers delegate said he would use his time on the program to express his love for chocolate, he was shouted down. “That is intolerant. You will offend the lovers of cherry walnut.” This continued throughout the day until it was decided that only vanilla ice cream would be served at the National Day of Ice Cream. The next day the local paper rejoiced, proclaiming in its daily editorial that diversity had won out over narrow-mindedness in the land of Esahp. Chocolate lovers wept.
The moral of the story is: Diversity is not discovered by letting go of your distinctiveness. It is honored by living out your beliefs with conviction and courage while allowing others do the same.
This is true not only of the National Day of Ice Cream, but of the National Day of Prayer. It's also true of religious expression on every day in every way in the United States.
The U.S. has predominately been a nation of Christians, going back to colonial days; even now, 82% of Americans identify with Christian faith.
But we have religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution, in the First Amendment, and even I, a Christian, greatly appreciate that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu and every other religion in the world has the freedom to worship as they want to, and do so publicly. And that as a democratic principle they are free to pursue the advancement of their religious worldview in the public square.
Just as Christians are...and should, without shame or fear.