So Hawkins, Texas, put a sign on their East Front Street, seen above, which says, “Jesus Welcomes you to Hawkins.” The sign has been there since 2011, but only recently has become a center of controversy.
Even though, of course, we have no way at all of knowing if Jesus actually does welcome you to Hawkins for the simple reason that we have no way of asking him. Given Jesus’ generally negative views of Gentiles as “dogs” and “swine” I am not sure this is an assumption we should make.
They – the mayor, city council, and some citizens – seem to think this sign shouldn’t be offensive to anyone.
According to KMOO-FM, Hawkins Mayor Will Rogers, a Democrat, said, “The sign was a community project. The City Council unanimously approved the sign and the Hawkins ISD shop class built the sign. Many private donors helped to pay for the sign.”
That’s nice. Lynchings are a community efforts as well. That doesn’t make them right. That Rogers is a Democrat only goes to show that Democrats can also misunderstand how freedom of religion works.
Watch courtesy of ABC affiliate KLTV:
KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News
“Citizens should voice their support,” Mayor Rogers said. “Even if you don’t look at Jesus as a religious leader, you have the humanitarian aspects of his life while he was here to consider.”
If we are looking for humanitarians, there are plenty to go around. Only one of them has the world’s largest religion based on his teachings and death. Mayor Rogers is being disingenuous.
It was, as it happens, a Hawkins resident, who reported the sign to The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which then sent a letter to the Hawkins City Council.
So no, it wasn’t a bunch of mean-spirited out-of-town atheists who took exception, but one of the town’s own citizens, who apparently wasn’t feeling the whole “Jesus thing.”
This happens. In my own experience, many Christians assume everyone else must be a Christian as well, or is surprised that anybody might have differing opinions, or might resent things like proselytizing, or having religion shoved down their throat at work by employers. Or having to drive past a sign every day that has a god you don’t believe in welcome you to town – your town – each and every day.
According to KLTV, some residents like the sign, saying it represents their community. Sure, it represents their community from their perspective, if they’re Christians. But how about people who are not Christians? Or those Christians who have a more inclusive view of the world and of belief systems in general? How about, say, a Muslim or a Jew living in Hawkins? Or an atheist? Or a Heathen like me?
The FFRF reasonably suggested the city council consider how people would feel about a “Mohammed welcomes you to Hawkins” or “No god welcomes you to Hawkins” sign.
You know that wouldn’t go over well. Not in Texas of all places, where God put an end to a long drought with destructive flooding.
Still, the mayor has plentiful excuses why Jesus belongs on that sign, and in this case, he said Jesus isn’t even a Christian thing:
“Jesus represents billions of people, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that sign. I don’t think it goes against our constitution. Jesus is part of every major religion in the world, so you can’t pin one religion on Jesus.”
Well, I hope somebody gets on the horn to the Republican Party and lets THEM know. They haven’t been clued in to that aspect of Jesus life for decades.
“To me and many others,” insists Rogers, “Jesus is not a religion, Jesus is in every religion across the globe. He’s in Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism. He represents love and kindness.”
Jesus is a part of every major religion in the world, huh? And not only every major religion, but every religion period.
No. He’s not.
First of all, all religions have equal rights under the Constitution, not just the major ones. What happens otherwise is called the tyranny of the majority, a little something the Founding Fathers were very concerned about, and one of the issues the Constitution itself was meant to address.
But let’s take a look at that claim:
According to ReligiousTolerance.org (The CIA World Factbook gives different percentages but the rankings remain the same), the world’s major religions are,
- Christianity – 33%
- Islam – 19.6%
- Hinduism – 13.4%
- Non-Religious – 12.7%
We haven’t even gotten to Judaism (let alone Buddhism, Sikhism, or Wicca, or to my religion, Asatru), and we’ve already hit the non-religious category?
I’d just like to point out here to Mayor Rogers that Jesus is nothing in Judaism but a false messiah. The Jews rejected Jesus (and for sound theological reasons) as Christians were for centuries eager to remind them, calling them “Christ killers.”
In Hinduism, Jesus is a guru. He is not a god. Hindu religion takes a very non-Christian view of Jesus. As does Islam, where Jesus is again not a god, but a prophet. Buddhism rejects Jesus Christ – in other words, the idea that Jesus’ death on the cross had any meaning. In 1989, the Catholic Church – through the office of the Inquisition – rejected mixing Buddhism with “the majesty of God revealed in Christ, which towers above finite reality.”
Evangelicals say Buddhist meditation is “of the devil.” In none of these conversations is Jesus a neutral topic.
In other words, you cannot finesse Jesus into general acceptance by all. Let’s face it: Thomas Jefferson’s Jesus was not David Barton’s.
Rogers and others should consider that by 2050, Pew Research Center projects that Muslims will equal Christians in numbers. We aleady know that the number of Christians is declining in the United States, and that the number of “Nones” is increasing.
Jesus, to put it bluntly, is less the future than the past to many people, like it or not.
For secularists in the United States, you certainly can’t say Jesus is front and center, or, for atheists, much of anywhere else.
The most important point to be made here is that Christianity is a religion founded not BY Jesus, because Jesus was dead, but ABOUT Jesus. It is the only religion that can say this. Jesus is very Christian-specific.
Certainly a sign like Hawkins’ may reflect the majority view, but as was pointed out by the Founding Fathers, the majority view should not crowd out the minority view. They have rights too, and those must be protected.
If want to truly be inclusive, what’s wrong with a sign that says, simply, “The People of Hawkins Welcome You”?
Photo: Longview News Journal
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
35 Replies to “Jesus May Welcome You to Hawkins, Texas, But He Shouldn’t”
Ray Wylie Hubbard’s Conversation With the Devil…
you can read the lyrics here…
or listen here…
I said, “Hot Shot, tell me this: which religion is the truest?”
He said, “They’re all about the same — Buddha was not a Christian, but Jesus would’ve made a good Buddhist.”
Public displays like this always make me wonder who they’re trying to convince.
I guess we’ll always have stupid with us.
And how do we know that he wasn’t referring to their favorite devil- Jesus Garcia? One of them thar -ill-eagles?
They can play the fool all they want, but it doesn’t mean we have to put up with it.
Apparently their god is open to being brown-nosed.
Islam views Jesus as a prophet. Not as big as Mohammad, but part of the Abrahamic cast of characters.
Have you noticed that modern war is based on religion? We no longer fight nations, we fight religious groups.
Our military has degenerated into pathetic crusaders who travel thousands of miles on a rumor and a priest’s word to slaughter innocent people and die for hegemony. Sad.
As an atheist I am so HAPPY not to be afflicted with this virulent delusion. I am happy to have a relationship with reality that believers disdain yet quietly envy. Last night I was watching a program concerning this alleged artifact know as the Holy Grail on AHC, when some one said the term “Leap of Faith” Immediately I came up with a solid logical rebuttal to that..”All to often a Leap of Faith trips on Reality” That quote is straight from my mind, use it as you wish but remember where you got it. The term “Reich Wing” is also mine and dates back to my days on Newsvine in 2007 where I invented the term and was banned for a week by Tyler a moderator who was supposed to be neutral but all to often banned good people to placate the crazy rude morons on the right.
From the author of the First Amendment, James Madison:
And if a Founding Father is just too old for you, we’ll go with someone “younger” – Ronald Reagan:
More criminal public officials trashing the constitution, separation of church and state is the law, law breakers and criminals should be arrested and jailed, are these criminals in jail? What a joke, in America it’s ok to be a criminal in the name of jesus.
It would be interesting to ask Christians to name three major religions. Some would say Christians, Jews, and Arabs. Some would say Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian. Others would come up with Catholic and Protestant and give up.
Despite how people feel about Jesus, He’s real and He saves. Heaven and Hell is real too. We all have to decide where we want to spend eternity. Its a no brainer for me, I’ll take Jesus unto salvation and life everlasting.
And just so everyone knows, I’m a life long Democrat, not a pretend believer like the Republicans who simply like to prop up rich men and forget Seniors, children, and the poor in the process.
Ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life today. Its the most important choice you’ll ever make in your lives. God Bless.
Your offer is appreciated, but I will decline.
The whole notion that I need to accept Jesus to protect me from Jesus, just doesn’t sit well with me.
That’s not love, that’s Abuse.
When religion is used as a weapon, as in Hawkins, the locals will try to convert you and if you don’t participate, then that will be a reason to ostracize you.
That is why the local Democrat MUST participate or be left out…
There should be an illegal immigrant with Jesus on his name tag, next to the sign waving to people as they pass by.
the response from the Constitutionally challenged faux-Christians would be…
sorry… none of that is in the bible…
Sorry Richrd46 but I as an atheist have a Personal relationship with REALITY! FACT! and TRUTH! Richrd46..Heaven IS NOT REAL!…Hell IS NOT REAL!!! Jesus was only a fictional character just like his Fictional Father God!! I weep for you believers your so gullible so sad it breaks my heart to see such rampant delusion and know it is THAT delusion that has destroyed nations and minds since it’s inception. Join us here in the REAL World Richrd46.
It would be interesting to know how well the businesses in that town are doing. In my small Florida town, any business that decided to mix religion into it has failed, and some in a few of the larger towns, too.
Unless religion is your business (church,temple, etc.) keep religion out of it.
Including references to religion in a business is an attempt to get the patronage of said religion members.
But eventually even that isn’t enough to cover for the lack of customer care. And thus the business inevitably fails.
Which means that God doesn’t favor such…something about the whole moneychangers in the temple sort of thingy…
Do you also believe in the tooth fairy?
How about Santa?
Do you realize religion was created to keep the feable minded under control, kept stupid and scared shitless?
If jezuz real, do you have his cell #?
Richrd46: I cannot Make myself believe something..no matter how hard I try. I stopped believing when I was 15 or 16
Faith based is FAKE BASED!!
Christians (of all stripes) have faith.
Muslims (of all stripes) have faith.
Hindus (of all stripes) have faith.
Just about every religion has faith in their belief system, and invariably feel that everyone else is wrong.
I’m going to every Religion’s Hell when I die.
This should prove to be interesting…
Which begs the question:
What Christian Beliefs, aren’t taught in the Bible?
Backs into corner. I hate Texas. I dont think a flood was enough. Maybe “god” should try harder. They dont seem to understand theyre agitating people. No not every religion believes in Jesus, in fact, im willing to bet he never existed and christians just want to claim everyone should be christian, because theyre just that self centered.
Despite how people feel about Jesus, He’s real and He saves. My response: Jesus couldnt save himself. Heaven and Hell is real too.
My response: Is that a threat? Are you threatening me? We all have to decide where we want to spend eternity. My response: I was under the impression that god decides this, and it says in the bible Jesus will turn his own sheep away. Its a no brainer for me, I’ll take Jesus unto salvation and life everlasting. my reply: you said a mouthful.
And just so everyone knows, I’m a life long Democrat, not a pretend believer like the Republicans who simply like to prop up rich men and forget Seniors, children, and the poor in the process. My reply: I dont give a crap. Its what you do not what you believe. However, you believe you are evil, so shall you become.
Ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life today. my response: Jesus has yet to speak to me, its been 26 years. Its the most important choice you’ll ever make in your lives. God Bless
My response: …
God is a lie.
And everything else that the God-gobbers have come up with- is also a lie.
You wanna act all persecuted? Knock yourself out.
I for one, am not falling for your sales pitch.
I don’t care if you’re calling yourself a Democrat or not- it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus is a lie.
But if this fable allows you to sleep at night- enjoy.
I will say this: It is a historical fact that Jesus existed. Beyond that I will say nothing except that I am most certainly a Bleeding Heart Liberal. I suppose that makes me a better than average Christian. But the only time I am seen inside a church, any church, is during weddings and funerals. [WINK]
Really, you know that Jesus is a factual truth? Do tell. How?
The only ‘proof’ is what? The Buybull? Written by whom? Do a little more research.
I will say this: It is a historical fact that Buddha existed.
And so did Mohammed.
As well as Joseph Smith.
Beyond all that…I will say nothing.
I wear my shrunken heart on my sleeve. And I’ve far better things to do with my time than prey to an Abusive God in an effort to change HIS perfect plan.
Historical proof that Jesus existed? Where? And don’t say “the bible” as that doesn’t pass the sniff test. There is no historical proof that Jesus existed, nor Moses or the Exodus, nor Buddha, certainly none for Noah, the flood as well as the story of Eden were lifted from the Epic of Gilgamesh. Historical proof means corroboration from other sources such as writers of the time mentioning events or people and there flat out ain’t any.
The lack of historicity of Jesus:
Not in my faith, Moongrim! We are green and believe in recycling! :) Gotta love those tree-hugging pagans!
Yeah well I can identify with tree-huggers…ever hear of pussywillow?
I am a thiest who has no religion. this sign does not bother me in the least. as long as the people behind the sign do not support violence why should you care either. There are far more pressing issues in this world.
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