This past week I had the opportunity to be in Washington, D.C. for work. One of the benefits of what I get to do is the free time in some incredible places. Washington is incredible, the history and the buildings are something every American should get to see and explore. Another benefit is when my bride gets to travel with me.
Having last Saturday afternoon free, Cheryl and I decided to go see some of the sites. We started out walking to the White House, then to the Washington Memorial followed by the World War II Memorial. This Saturday just happened to coincide with the Atheist “Reason Rally” that was being held on the mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10: 32 &33 (NIV).
By choice I was sporting my RAMP t-shirt with Psalm 51:10 printed on the back. I guess I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t confused with the atheist. As we approached the World War II Memorial, which I had never seen before, I began to notice the folks with the “AtheistMovie.com” shirts. There were also some folks standing on chairs sharing the Gospel. It kind of seemed fitting that those who believe in God and those that don’t could be in the same area where a memorial was built to honor those who fought and died so that we could enjoy a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon of freedom.
Then I began to notice some of the atheist t-shirts and signs. There were some that said “Good without God” and “Secular and Proud of it”. Others were a little more disturbing, some said “F@#* your Faith” and F@#* your God” and so on. So Big Whitey takes his bride and starts walking through all of them to the Lincoln Memorial. After all, my tax dollars help to support these monuments too.
It was a much different attitude I had from a couple of days before. We were at Arlington National Cemetery. Cheryl had never been there before and I was last there in 1976. This was the must see place for me this trip because my uncle, Colonel Walter Gummelt, was buried there in 1990 and I was not able to attend his funeral. Arlington is an incredibly moving place. All of the tombstones are sobering to look at when you think over 400,000 are buried there. It was especially moving to see Uncle Walt’s grave.
To get to his gravesite we had to venture from the typical tour path to Section 60. As we walked we came upon a funeral for a Naval Veteran. We didn’t know who he was, and still don’t, but watching the Navy Band and Honor Guard dressed in white naval uniforms, followed by the horse drawn carriage of the flag draped casket with the family walking behind was humbling to say the least. The playing of Taps and the 21 Gun Salute will make the hair on the back of your neck stand at attention.
Then we had the opportunity to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. I couldn’t help but think about those that have gave their lives for our country. What would they think about the country they died for? Uncle Walt was not just a Colonel in the U.S. Army, he was also a Chaplain. He earned his Jump Wings and was a man’s man. What would he think?
Contrast that attitude to the one I had on Saturday and its two different worlds.
As we walked through all of the atheist, by the way it was disappointing for me to see how small the crowd really was, I never had anyone say anything to me. At least to my face. Cam and Allie weren’t with us but they also walked to the Lincoln Memorial through the “People of Reason.” Cam also had a shirt with a scripture on the back. I guess it just wasn’t our day to provoke a non-believer with all of their “F@#* your Faith” shirts.
Here are just a few thoughts about what we experienced. First, as I said before the size of the crowd was very disappointing. There couldn’t have been more than 5,000 people there. Maybe the others don’t just not believe in God, maybe they don’t believe in each other. Or since it was a beautiful afternoon, they had an adult coloring book to finish.
Second, we got to hear some guy sing “God Bless America” but replace the “God Bless” with “I Love.” That’s a bold, brave soul there. Can’t Atheist just write their own songs? And by the way, if you don’t believe in God, why do you focus so much on something you don’t believe in? I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy or that the country music of today is really country music but I’m not hating on people who put money under kids pillows or listen to whatever it is that passes for country music today. I just change the channel.
Third, the atheist are a miserable looking bunch, at least the one’s I experienced being around. I mean why aren’t they the happiest bunch of folks since Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye? (Christmas Vacation joke). After all, they have nothing to worry about. I mean you just die and turn to worm dirt and that’s it. No worry about following any commands or precepts. Sundays are free. No worries about dealing with being convicted of your sin. Heck, the only thing you could possibly have to worry about is what if the Christians are right. Hmmmmmm.
Fourth, we had the pleasure (obvious place to insert sarcasm) to hear the Freedom From Religion folks talk about all of the lawsuits they have brought and won and the more promised to come. Even then the applause they received sounded like the applause you would hear on a Braves Baseball radio broadcast in the 1970’s. You know, twelve people and a beer vendor. Pure excitement.
Finally and most entertaining, was the lady speaking to the crowd, please remember that she is claiming and speaking to people claiming to not believe in God, and she says and I am quoting exactly what she said in response to something: “Oh My God.” That’s right, she violated what should be the first law of atheist, she invoked the Name of God. Whether she meant to or not, whether it was just a slip of the tongue or not, she said GOD. Cheryl and I just looked at each other and laughed. Right in the middle of the biggest and baddest atheist in the world, God was promoted. No less, as her God. An atheist. Is that legal?
Right there in front of the memorial to President Lincoln, who called upon God and in the shadow of the Washington Monument built for a President who publically claimed to be a believer in God, an atheist let one slip. I hope her punishment wasn’t too severe, I would hate for her own kind to sue her.
There are many for whom we should pray. There are many situations for which we should pray. Including ourselves, that we would be true followers of Christ and be ready to defend and proclaim the Gospel to a world lost in sin. In a way I envy the faith of an atheist. Think about it. I believe in a Creator God, who loves each and every one of us. A Heavenly Father who sent his Son to pay for our sin debt that we could in no way pay. A Loving God who asks us to believe in Jesus so that we may spend eternity with Him.
Essentially, an atheist believes that this entire world, with all of its beauty and incredibly intrinsic design and yes, even all of its human created problems, are the result of a “cosmic fart.” Now that is faith. May our faith be that big and may our faith reveal Christ to those who don’t want to see Him.
Run to the Cross!