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That's what C*****mas means to me
Pastor's corner
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Do you find the title appalling or maybe even offensive? This holiday has taken quite a beating over the last few years. But this year, my senses seem to be heightened to its plight.
 For me, it is not simply about a yuletide tradition. It is about a dangerous trend in American society regarding any reference to Christ or Christianity.
What is billed as an argument for the separation of church and state has really proven to be a movement to eliminate Christianity in America.
I read an article describing a December parade of lights in a major U.S. city. The parade officials rejected Christian entries in the parade because of “direct religious themes.” The article went on to include that the parade accepted an entry that honored people recognized as “holy” by a gay and lesbian group. Another entry included a dance “meant to drive away evil spirits.” This parade traditionally carried a Christmas theme but in the age of political correctness, faced sudden changes. My concern is the other entries also have religious themes. They are just non-Christian themes.
I have observed this trend in our schools. As a student in middle school, I was chastised by a teacher for my report on a Christian theme but was required to learn about Eastern religion on the basis that it was “cultural.”
Another recent article tells of a Florida elementary school that is so concerned over the issue they are banning seasonal celebrations altogether. They have opted to have the students sing about America and patriotism instead of about C****tmas and the holidays.
Although on the surface this appears to be an acceptable alternative, it also feels dangerously close to the actions that we were taught as destructive to freedom. Communist countries teach children there is no God and that their life purpose should be directed by the “will of the people.” Their children also replace religion for songs about their country and its leaders. Forgotten is the reason this country came into being to begin with. People paid a terrible price to build a life where they could worship God without restraint. It is called freedom.
The message that is being relayed is incorrect. Some, who do not honor God, falsely accuse believers in God of trying to force their beliefs upon them. They say believers are unfair. They argue that believers discriminate against them. They will tolerate a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Rastafarian, a druid or any other religious sect, yet they will lead the march in discrimination when it comes to someone’s right to worship or declare their love for Jesus Christ.
In reality, a quick trip to your local department store the day after Halloween gives a clear indication of how people feel about Christmas, religion not withstanding. So does a drive around your neighborhood on a December night and the general sense of goodwill in the grocery store parking lot. This holiday does not threaten people. People are going to believe what they choose to believe. My father always told me, “You cannot push a rope.” This is true,
What C****tmas means to me is that my country is dangerously close to sacrificing its values based on incorrect ideas and thinking. Moral code is always tied to belief and when you fight to eliminate one’s right to believe, you eliminate moral code. You soon find yourself subject to everyone’s right to a lack of morals. The result is the necessity of armed policemen in our middle and high schools.
How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. When these issues began to surface, many people swallowed them in “little bites.” We have eaten a lot of this elephant without realizing it and it is time we take notice. My hope is that we exercise our right to believe this year — put the Christ back in Christmas!

Byler is the senior pastor of Bethesda Church in Hinesville.
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