The Army Of God website has an article criticizing the city of Chesapeake, Virginia, for promoting Halloween festivities, the day for "witches and Satanists", while snubbing Christian events. Sarah Miller, a student at Old Dominion University, wrote to the website, criticizing the article, calling it "judging", and the holiday, harmless.
I am a volunteer for the armyofgod.com website, answering mail. Here is Miller's criticism, followed by my response, then her response, then mine again:
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 6:32 PM
To: Glory2Jesus (at) ArmyofGod.com
Subject: your issues with city billboards
Dear Sir or Ma'am:
Your website is over the top and rather ridiculous. While you are entitled to have your own opinion, your attitude is one of the reasons people, as a whole, don't like Christians. Your faith says that you should be kind to others and not judge, yet that is all Christians tend to do -judge.
As far as your (rather outrageous) claim that the city of Chesapeake praises witchcraft and Satanism, is unfounded. Halloween has become a cultural experience, much like Christmas has. Halloween is a long treasured cultural holiday in America, when in the 1900's turnips were used before pumpkins became more practical. That is an Irish tradition that has become incorporated into American society.
Furthermore, it is well known that Christianity used Pagan holidays to recruit followers. These early Christians replaced the highly celebrated Pagan holidays, changing the names and the reason they are celebrated into Christian names. Don't you find it interesting that the Wiccans and Christians celebrate the same time and around the same season?
In America, everyone has a right to follow and practice their own beliefs -essentially to practice the faith of their choosing. I think you have forgotten that. The families that go out trick-or-treating do it because it is fun and it is a social event. For them, religion is not tied to it. In the same manner that people go out to the movies.
I think you have read too much into the billboard. Every business has a right to advertise an event in order to raise funds. Much the same way that churches have billboards, post ads in newspapers, and have ads on the radio. Perhaps, this holiday season, you should do a little more soul-searching and study your religion more. Jesus said that love was important above all: love thy neighbor as you love me. It's interesting that Christians always forget that, especially zealots. I think you could learn a lot from Buddhist.
-from a Halloween enthusiast
Hi! I'm a volunteer for the armyofgod.com website, answering mail.
I read your comments, and the article you wrote about, and am not convinced that you have carefully read the article.
Where does the article say the city "praises" witchcraft and Satanism? The city promotes their holiday, as Don Spitz' article acknowledges. The word "praise" is not in the article. This would have seemed to me a nitpicky distinction, but it is one in which you have invested great emotion, calling it an "outrageous claim" - unless you deny that Halloween is, in fact, the holiday, or "holy day", of witches and Satanists, and that the city promotes Halloween. Do you deny this?
How about the article's main point, that the city "sponsors witchcraft and Satanism, yet denies Christians holidays." Can you explain what is not true about that statement? Do city billboards advertise the Biblical Passover? Or any Biblical holy day? Or even Easter?
When I was a boy, half a century ago, Halloween was no more than a time for candy and trite jokes, because Satanists and witches were a joke. White America had never heard of a real one, except in occasional far-off jungles of Africa. The idea that someone might actually believe such nonsense compared to Area 51 talk today. So it never occurred to anybody that exposing these sanitized snippets of paganism would ever actually poison the consciousness of little boys and girls.
Not so today, where witchcraft novels and movies like Harry Potter are among the most popular fiction among children, are presented in public schools, and are taken quite seriously by a frightening number of children.
Or do you deny that children, exposed to these pagan myths, too often actually believe them? And that those who don't actually believe, nevertheless have lost any healthy skepticism or alarm about these evils? Or do you deny that these cults, whose practices include hideous crimes like human sacrifice, are evil? Or have you not heard that these cults are known for such practices?
You accuse the article of speaking out against the right of citizens to "follow and practice their own beliefs". Where does the article suggest such a thing? Does not your false accusation apply more to yourself, who condemn Don's "opinion" as "judging"? (Although you contradict that condemnation by saying he is "entitled" to his opinion) As a prolifer, I have been arrested and brought before a real judge, who ordered real judgments with real penalties, and I can't for the life of me understand how you can mistake an "opinion" with a "judgment", conclude that the Bible prohibits "opinions", yet still believe your own opinion that Don's opinion is prohibited is exempt, perfectly noble, no "judgment" at all, and in fact rather righteous.
You remind Don of the "Christianization" of pagan holidays, as if you are telling him something he doesn't know, when that is the very confusion against which he rails. His article notes that a church hosts some of this nonsense. If you have a point to this observation, can you clarify it?
It is fascinating that you quote "love thy neighbor as thyself" (well, you almost quoted it accurately) but did you know that Jesus was quoting the Old Testament when He said that? And did you know the verse he quoted is surrounded by a whole chapter about what it means to love your neighbor? And that a few verses before the summary that Jesus quoted, is this:
Leviticus19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
How do you get, from Don's article, that he is against the right of businesses to advertise? The problem with weighing down your criticism with silliness is that it blurs whatever merit your criticism might otherwise have had.
On 11/1/2013 8:29 AM, Sarah Miller wrote:
The world you live in has greatly changed. People have always been in a metaphorical closet in one sense or another. That includes people practicing religions. Just because you may not have personally known a practicing witch does not mean they do not exist.
You further prove my point of being un-Christianly in the way you criticize my opinion and use of the Bible "(well, you almost quoted it accurately)." The point is that you are missing the message. Also, I think it interesting that you acknowledge it is from the Old Testament as if that makes it invalid some how.
My point in the "christianification" of the old religions, is that Christianity is not a pure religion. It evolved over time. In order to appeal to the masses in its early days, it took on the pagan holidays which now, Christians hate so much. It is funny and ironic because without the pagan holidays, Christianity would not have had a way to convert people. It is not a new idea, it is just a new way of thinking.
As far as you use the term "holy day," I think you are greatly mislead. Many business operate on Halloween. If your argument for the website is for businesses to advertise, then these business also have the right to advertise. Christmas pageants and services are often advertise during the fall and winter seasons. I think you just need to be more aware. I mean, I didn't see your website protesting against Santa Claus. Santa Claus is not Christian, but you feel so threatened by Halloween because YOU perceive that holiday to be evil.
Do you notice that no one is protesting your right to celebrate any of the Christian holidays you deem important? I think that speaks to the character of non-Christian believers.
As far as your dislike of Harry Potter and the books of the like. People love to read. They love to be taken to another world, a fantasy world. Or to experience something they might not otherwise. Before Harry Potter, there was Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I presume you like that story because of the Christian undertones?
There is also The Lord of the Ring and the Hobbit, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Animal Farm, Tell-Tale Heart, Dracula, Great Expectations...
There will always be stories that you don't like. So you have the option not to read them. Just because you do not agree with a story, does not mean it is not worthy to be in the world. Harry Potter changed the lives of many people. People who were not interested in reading books, began to read. J.K Rowling even mentioned in an interview how one of her terminally ill fans enjoyed reading Harry Potter, and gave her joy, before the child had passed away. So, of course, I don't agree with your desire for censorship, which you have implied in your reference to this book.
As far as the link you sent in your email. I suggest updating the outdated format of your website. You are very hypocritical in the fact that you are against killing of children, but then say how great it was that a man was killed. You cannot have it both ways. In theory, God does not justify one sin from another. Sin is sin. So, as you are a Christian, you cannot say it is NOT okay for abortions and IT IS okay to kill the abortion doctor. In your belief system, killing is a sin, and therefore, both sinners are wrong. It is this type of loopy thinking that does not make sense. The better Christian would have condemned the behavior and prayed for the abortion doctor.
We will have a difference of opinion and will, more than likely, never agree on anything. I do see you as an extremist Christian, and that link you attached proves this.
You have skewed the teaching of your Jesus, but are too blind to see it.
It would be interesting when you learn that you are not worthy of heaven either.
enthused Halloween celebrator
What a fast response!
You misconstrue what I said about 50 years ago. It was our entire American culture which had no consciousness of any real witches or Satanists. I certainly did not say that as of today, I have never met one! They show up at prolife rallies in Des Moines literally chanting "Hail Satan".
I certainly do not consider any part of the Old Testament "invalid", nor have I written anything that suggests such a thing.
"Christianity", as you define it, as something which has "evolved" away from the Bible, is irrelevant. What is relevant is Christianity as the Bible defines it.
There are a rich heritage of Biblical Holy Days, which are not Christmas or Easter, and there are a small number of Christians who observe them. What a strange idea, that God's holy days are not sufficient means to convert people, so we must replace them with pagan holidays to convert people...convert people to WHAT?
I hate to repeat myself, but the point of Don's article was not that witches have no legal right to exist or to choose Hell. It was not about anybody's "right to celebrate". It was the hypocrisy of the city in sponsoring Satan's holiday, courtesy of taxpayers, while snubbing Biblical holy days.
I had an eerily similar experience 20 years ago. Des Moines sent a third of its police force to arrest about 20 of us "rescuers" blocking a door at Planned Barrenhood, in order that we could all be removed within a half hour so that the killing might resume. I interviewed the police chief, Bill Moulder, and was told that police are obligated to arrest people whenever their crime is reported. So I found out that those annoying fortune teller signs, and phone book ads, were a crime. Not only was fortune telling a crime, but advertising it was a simple misdemeanor. So I reported it. And only got a funny look from the intake officer. No action. I interviewed all the city councilmen about it, on tape. For an hour each. No action. So I started going to city council meetings for the next year, taking my 5 minutes each time, reminding them of their hypocrisy in being such wonderful law abiding folk when a trespassing law prevents saving dozens of lives, but caring nothing about enforcing laws that protect gullible people from spiritual shysters who sell Hell for money. I received only sullen stares. Until October, when they voted to repeal the city laws against fortune telling!
I don't know how to respond to your fourth paragraph, because I can't guess the meaning of " If your argument for the website is for businesses to advertise...."
If you will read my response more carefully, you will see that my concern with the Potter series was not that it should be censored, nor was it an issue of freedom of choice to go to Hell, a freedom which even God reveres, there being no authority in the Bible for punishing people for not believing things. My concern was with the danger. Are you now saying that Satan worship is no more dangerous, to present to children in public schools, than "the lion, the witch and the wardrobe"? Of course, the latter is not presented in public schools; only witchcraft.
Let me comment on the other titles you mention: "The Lord of the Ring" is rich in metaphors which I perceive to be of Christian concepts. The struggle to resist the power of wearing the ring is very much like Jesus' resistance to Satan's offer of all the kingdoms of the world, described in Matthew 4, about which I could write several pages. "Frankenstein" is a graphic warning of the dangers of fooling around with re-engineering nature, a thing made possible by genetics only decades after the movie came out. "Animal Farm" is a thinly disguised metaphor of the subtle but cruel wickedness of Communism. Dracula, the vampire, is a metaphor of substance abuse, especially of drinking. A person so drunk he doesn't remember hours or days at a time basically has that part of his life stolen away, just as if a demon possessed his body instead of the drunkard's own mind. Genesis 9 says the life is in the blood, so the metaphor of a vampire drinking one's blood is a metaphor of a Biblical concept. Garlic temporarily sobers a drunk. Appealing to the Cross also frustrates a stupor. The sunlight of the Gospel has the power to completely kill drunkenness, and even physically, drunks thrive at night, not during the day. They need low light in bars. But although all those metaphors have occurred to me, I don't see any meaning in the other way to kill a vampire besides get him in the sun: drive a wooden stake through his heart.
No other religion besides Christianity honors Freedom of Speech. God is no censor, although many Christians have been, after perverting Scriptures. There is no precedent in the Bible for physically punishing anybody for what they say or believe, with the exception that of speech which incites to crime or that is designed to cause serious harm to others who are innocent, such as false witnesses in court. I'll send you the Scriptures if you are curious.
No doubt Potter books stirred a few to read. When the Bible was allowed in schools, it caused people to become such accomplished readers that college graduates today generally can't pass tests given to eighth graders a century ago. Entrance requirements for Harvard and Yale two centuries ago required applicants, often as young as 14, to be able to translate fluently from Latin to New Testament Greek. When the Supreme Court removed prayer, Bible reading, and the Ten Commandments from schools, academic scores across America plummeted steadily.
Most of what you say about witchcraft being as harmless as Christianity tells me you are not a Christian, but your last paragraph presumes to judge my writing about abortion by Biblical principles. You don't just accuse me of hypocrisy by violating my own standards: you accept my alleged violation as damning indeed, by those standards, as if you uphold those standards yourself. So I have no idea where you actually stand with Christ.
But Proverbs 24:10-12 tells us to rescue innocent people being led away to slaughter, which was done by the four who killed abortionists. My legal briefs in the Scott Roeder case argue that American law agrees with God about this: it is not a crime to save thousands of life. In fact, NO ONE will call it a crime to save thousands of lives from a terrorist about to kill them, if it is adults targeted; the ONLY time such loopy thinking comes out is when unborn babies are targeted, because very few people, including most prolifers, really do not see as much value in an unborn baby as they do in themselves. So the legal issue really does come down to recognition of the humanity of the unborn. Fortunately for Scott's case, federal law, in 2004, said precisely what Roe said must be said for legal abortion to end: that ALL unborn babies are human; which means, according to Roe, that they are also "persons". (See "No Greener Light" on my website for details.)
The briefs I have written for Scott's case argue that if the Kansas Supreme Court follows the law, it will free Scott. You can read the briefs on my website. Let me know if you need help finding them on my antiquated web site. I should clarify that www.ArmyOfGod.com is not my website; I just volunteer for Don Spitz. Mine, with the briefs, is www.Saltshaker.US.
Your barb that I am not worthy of Heaven indicates to me that you are unfamiliar with Christian belief, or you would know that it is a fundamental of all Christian churches, at least that I have ever heard of, that "there is NONE righteous, no, not one", Romans 3:10; no one is "worthy" of Heaven; which is why it was necessary, before anyone could ever hope for Heaven, for God to bear the cost of our resistance to Him, to Heaven, and to anything good, by reaching down to us, coming close enough for us to feel His love, even when our resistance is so great that our thanks is to kill Him and His saints who share His love.