By Stacey Samuel, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It made for an incongruous sight on Wednesday morning, as volunteer actors playing Mary and Joseph walked in procession in front of the U.S. Supreme Court with Baby Jesus (a 4-month-old).
Following them - wearing crowns and robes that didn't fully conceal jeans and sneakers underneath, - were volunteers dressed as two Wise Men and a Wise Woman, trailed by a two-humped camel and a 6-month-old donkey (also named Mary). The people weren't guided by a star, but by their religious conviction.
"First [we're] proclaiming the powerful message of Christmas: peace on Earth and good will toward men," said Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, who helped organize the Supreme Court Nativity. "And, then also embracing and celebrating religious freedom and our First Amendment right."
The Wednesday event launched its annual Nativity Project, an effort Mahoney is leading with activist Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the group Faith and Action. Now, in its fifth year, the gathering is the largest it's ever been.
"Well we added more singers this year and did that quite deliberately, because we found that the music conveys the message better than anything else, certainly better than preaching. Preaching doesn't go over real big on Capitol Hill, so you have to find new ways of transmitting the message," Schenck said.
The campaign is meant "to confront the erosion and hostility toward public expressions of faith especially during the Christmas Season," according to the announcement for the Nativity Project.
The hope is that religious groups and ordinary citizens will follow in suit in other communities nationwide, without fear of violating court rulings that ban public displays of Christmas crèches - often because they require public funding. The way around it, say the pastors, is to get a permit and have the funds for the scenes come from private donors.
"One of the reasons we are going in front of the Supreme Court with a live Nativity scene," Mahoney said, is "so no court in no municipality, anywhere across America, can say it's unconstitutional when we've been given permission to go in front of the U.S. Supreme Court."
He showed his permit allowing the group - it included a harpist - to walk from their offices on 2nd Street to the foot of the Supreme Court, and passing Capitol Hill.
Getting the permit also required having the animals tested for disease, Mahoney said.
Known for controversial exploits such displaying billboards linking Planned Parenthood to a "black genocide," Mahoney and Schenck collaborated on the Nativity Project, hoping to send a softer message and thus achieve broader appeal.
"Hopefully, people will focus on the broader message," said Mahoney, who acknowledges his past activism has been seen as divisive. "I think the message of hope and peace that Jesus brings transcends any political ideological views. There's not a Presbyterian Jesus, or a Baptist Jesus or an Episcopal Jesus, there's Jesus who's the hope of the whole world."
Their purpose now is to restore a tradition some will say has been supplanted by Santa Claus and "Frosty the Snowman," to bring back to the fore the scene and players revered by more than a billion Christians.
The pastors say that with the commercialization of Christmas, the holiday's spiritual meaning has been lost.
"Maybe in the new economy, it's going to force people to go back to a more simple, meaningful type of Christmas celebration," said Schenck, "...and maybe a simple little apple and a kiss on the cheek will do a lot more than a funny toy that'll be used for a few months and put away."
The message they want to send isn't just for Christians, Schenck said.
"Christmas transcends every kind of religious sectarianism," he says. "I've been to Muslim countries where families celebrate Christmas in their homes, because it transcends culture, and it transcends ethnicity, and we hope the message of Christmas ... is a message every person from every tradition and every background can embrace."
Members of other traditions generally see Christmas as a distinctly Christian holiday.
Great Bait and Switch Marketing! Free Nativity parade – Actually go to church – Meet Mr. Collection Plate. :)
Absence of Balance = Bias
Some added items that need to be addressed by the Supreme Court: i.e. the infamous angelic cons that impact the Christmas season:
Joe Smith had his Moroni.
"Latter-day Saints like Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."
Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;
Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).
Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.
The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
Some added references to "tink-erbells".
"The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:
"TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."
And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:
"In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."
"The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "
"The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "
Merry CHRISTmas everyone!
To you as well Christian soldier.
Why did the Puritans refuse to celebrate Christmas?
More to the point, why did the Puritans BAN the celebration of Christmas. Why was it not a legal holiday in the US until 1870?
Richardson-Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of the Lord and Savior, you are also very welcome to join the celebration.
We typically spread the message of Goodwill to all Men, Peace on earth and Joy to all of mankind.
I don't think any Christian believes that Jesus was actually born on December 25. Christmas is just the day chosen by the early church to lure pagans away from their pagan celebrations (pretty smart). It is the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. No one knows the actual exact date.
incorrect christian soldier.
do a little research for christ's stupid sake. they've got a pretty good idea of when the liar jesus may have been born.
"I don't think any Christian believes that Jesus was actually born on December 25. Christmas is just the day chosen by the early church to lure pagans away from their pagan celebrations (pretty smart). It is the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. No one knows the actual exact date."
Which is why the bible was not inspired by your god, but written by men to control men through a bogus religion.
what is this garbage? penn state fap material?
So after thorough analyses of the NT Christmas passages, what are a few of the conclusions of some of the top contemporary NT scholars?
Matt 1:18-25: From Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 123-124, "The fathering of Jesus from the Holy Spirit and his birth from the virgin Mary are unhistorical". Ludemann gives a very detailed analysis to support his conclusions. One part being the lack of attestations to these events and the late time strata of said story.
"Lüdemann [Jesus], (pp. 261-63) discounts Luke's account as a legend deriving from Jewish Hellenistic circles that were concerned to hold together the proc-reation of the Spirit, the authentic sonship of the Messiah and the vir-ginal conception. "
Then there are these additional conclusions:
"In [Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography] (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural pa-ternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.
John Dominic Crossan
"In [Historical Jesus] (p. 371) Crossan treats this cluster, like 007 Of Davids Lineage, as an example of the interplay of prophecy and history in the development of the Jesus traditions.
"In [Birth of Christianity] (pp. 26-29) Crossan uses Luke's account of Jesus' conception and birth to explore ethical issues concerning the public interpretation of the past. He notes the tendency of Christian scholars to disregard "pagan" birth legends while investing great effort in the defence of biblical birth narratives. He concludes:
I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus. "
"The following ancient parallels to Jesus' miraculous conception should be noted:
Birth of Moses (Exod 2:1-10)
Birth of Plato (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 3.45) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 507]
Birth of Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, 2.1-3.5) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 502f]
Birth of Apollonius (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, I.4) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 505]"
And some final words from Thomas Jefferson, not a contemporary NT scholar, but indeed a very learned man:
"And the day will come,
when the mystical generation of Jesus,
by the Supreme Being as His Father,
in the womb of a virgin,
will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva
in the brain of Jupiter.
- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.
Quoting other people that agree with you doesn't make you right! LOL
Why many scholars to include Thomas Jefferson questioned/question the veracity of the bible:
Think about the logic (or lack thereof).
“I believe the Bible is inspired.” “Why?” “Because it says so.” Would your
anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book
or person? “I believe x is inspired because x says so.” Fill in the blanks:
x=the ayatolloah Sistani
“I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible
Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah.”
Ring in those merry Christmas bells!, spread the good news and cheer around!
It is Christmas time!!!
Blessed Christmas! Merry Christmas! Blessed Christmas!
Blessed Christmas! Merry Christmas! Blessed Christmas!
Blessed Christmas! Merry Christmas! Blessed Christmas!
Blessed Christmas! Merry Christmas! Blessed Christmas!
Blessed Christmas! Merry Christmas! Blessed Christmas!
"It is Christmas time!!!"
Wrong – it's WINTER SOLSTICE TIME. Your christ wasn't born until September.
Yes December is the month of cheer, ever wondered why?
Tis the season to be happy and joyous, we celebrate the greatest gift ever to mankind, come join us as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"come join us as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Then you don't read your bible very well, he wasn't born in December they did that because of the other pagan religions so they could get followers for Christianity. LOL! You are really celebrating the Winter Solstice.
"Yes December is the month of cheer, ever wondered why?
Tis the season to be happy and joyous, we celebrate the greatest gift ever to mankind, come join us as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ."
No he was born in December the shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus' birth (Luke:2:7-8) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Shepherds were not in the fields during December.
Sorry that was suppose to read "No he wasn't born in"
Peter-Your observation is probably right, but traditionally we have celebrated Christmas in December, I guess what really matters is that we celebrate the greatest gift to mankind, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May the spirit of Peace and Joy fill our hearts this Christmas!
"the greatest gift to mankind" HA! What a crock.
More like just the opposite, in fact.
Religion has been the worst affliction the human race has ever had.
"guess what really matters is that we celebrate the greatest gift to mankind, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
It's wasn't his birth or anything to do with it. You are celebrating a pagan holiday using pagan symbols, the Christmas tree, the mistletoe, Santa Claus, etc..
Do Athiests celebrate Christmas? If so is that not wrong.
As for Christmas, men actually took pagan customs and put it in with false christian doctrines and came up with something they say is Holy. that is like pulling a piece of candy out of the sewer, trying to clean it off and eating it.
Why celebrate someone elses birth with lies of Santa ang gifts to others..........no one is thinking of Christ....they are thinking what do I want, what do I buy, no thought of Christ in the whole celebration.
This was a sad and ironic demonstration. It was ironic because this group is protesting the removal of Christian icons from public places by doing a religious reenactment that was privately funded and had the proper permits. It was sad because no one noticed this.
stupid people keep tring to censor me, this is just an opinion, just like the hope of an afterlife it being called heaven.
Rather stupid article, but good idea. Not the nativity scene sm.ut but the idea of spreading a message of hope... and heres something i never understood, many people preached messages that are much more grand then jesus's stolen one and lived longer to spread it thru the land and people – so why are they not as worshipped... see my point is this, its not the man thats important its the message and to that end a child could have brought it, but when you argue that jesus is the son of god crap, (which can't be proven to be real but rather a hope in itself) what you get is a man turned god on earth and then worshipped along side the commandment that says 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.' the issue arises when people say that jesus is god – in the bible it says he said he is only the son of not is one with god so therefore by worshiping the man not the message you are breaking the second commandment and now are doomed to burn.
Stop glorifying the birth, which was a common way to come into the world – thru the tw.at – stop glorifying the death, which was a common way to be killed by Romans. It was in fact there favorite way to kill because they loved to torture people and this was a way to do that as well as kill them all in one – it’s a win win scenario that was a message itself too! Once the Romans did it to a slave army, the crosses lined the way into Rome along the side of the road for miles. And you people think jesus is special for going thru his beatings. Imagine fighting a war first only to end up getting beaten in battle then just beaten and then finally nailed to a cross and propped up for all to see right next to your family who were also on crosses!!!
Conclusion – the man called jesus may have been what he claims, I rather doubt it. I think he was just another malnutrition case that brought out the schizophrenia in his mind. His god aka daddy was just a voice in his head. Now schizophrenia is hereditary and passed thru the genes. An interesting thought exercise is to imagine that from Abraham to his sons to there descendants who also claim to have heard the voice of god all had schizophrenia! They base there belief that the voice is god because of the fact that there parents claimed such…not to mention that to claim really any other voice would a very clear showing of insanity and then no one would have listened, so it’s a balancing act of bullsh!t and rational thought “hell” bent on survival and nothing else! Jesus came from a very poor family, was schizophrenic, and a Jew in the Roman empire…he didn’t have a whole lot going for him. But by mere chance, which appears to have no only happened to him but many others, he was born on the right day for a fulfillment of a prophecy, one that would name him the messiah of the Jewish people…plus he heard voices, why not claim it to be god like that of the people in his bedtime stories. Not exactly a genius move but right timing. The coolest part is people with schizophrenia are very convincing because of the FACT that they do really hear voices – how do you argue with that!
enjoy logically conclusions based off of what is clearly a delusional mind on the fritz!
I really feel sad for you hippypoet, and I'm usually not a very empathetic person. People in your life may not have loved you, but Jesus always will. Merry Christmas.
Valui ad satanam in computatrum meum invocandum
Interesting how many of the same people who lament of the commercialization of christmas are the same people who throw a fit if the decorations at Target say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" . . . you can't have it both ways, people!
Who needs Hollywood for entertainment when you can have conservative activists, someone should give them a reality show with a goofy sounding theme song for the entry.
Its called fox news
snap! ...and it is very uncharacteristic of me to use idioms such as "snap!"
What strikes me as strange is if any other Non Christian Group did this the evangelicals would be screaming bloody murder at the tops of their lungs. They just have to cram their version of religion down our throats. If this group wants to do something for the good of the nation maybe instead of going to the Mega Church they should do a food drive for the local food pantry,help the homeless and visit the sick people in the hospitals.
stepping in front of a fast moving train would be good too
How do you know that these people don't do food drives, help the homeless or visit the sick?
Also, evangelicals are great Americans. They are trying to save America from the evil that has got a grip on this nation.
The only "evil" that has a grip on this nation is money. Some of it being used by religious people to bribe politicians to do "evil", so don't try bringing the state of the country into your argument. Most of the corrupt politicians are "Christian", so I guess your point then would be what exactly??
It is about time someone with a positive message takes the initiative to be public. Society these days is destroying itself because the only activists are supporting radical stupidity which leads to the destruction of core societal infrastructure.
C(u)m catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt
My take on the whole issue,
There is nothing really wrong with putting your holiday ontop of an existing holiday season, and using that to move forward, it's actually a very shrewed move. BUT, it is very disengenous for people thousands of years later to claim that the season is special because of the imposed holiday. The holiday season was the holiday season for hundreds of years before anyone even considered pushing the idea that there was just one god that everyone owed everything too. Maybe because early people loved snow and thought winter was lovely because all the bugs and many pests were dorment, or maybe because they hated it and they were starving and it was depressing and they needed something to bring everyone together to keep hope of survival going, whatever the cause the holiday seasons had the feeling and stigma of a special time well before Christmas.
So, you can say that the purpose of CHRISTMAS is to celebrate the birth of Christ. That's fine, perfectly acceptable, and it doesn't matter that he probably wasn't born in winter, that's just when you choose to celebrate it, I'm okay with that too, not my son of "God". But, it is wrong to claim that the holiday season is special because of Chrismas. People would be celebrating during the month of December wether Jesus had ever been born or not (as a few hundred years worth of Jews can attest to).
TL:DR- Christians can have Christmas, but they don't own the Holidays, get over it.
The problem is not reading, it's interpretation my friend. If you look at the context of the verse, it's saying that it's not the gift that's given, it's the state of the heart. Look at the statement "Observer thinks that all pizza tastes like crap". Now, whittle that down to "all pizza tastes like crap". You can twist anything someone says, and you just proved that. These translations are all saying the same thing.
DIRECT QUOTE FROM THE ASV Bible:
"Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; new moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies,- I cannot away with iniquity and the solemn meeting."
Does it say "incense is an abomination unto me" or does it say "YOUR incense is an abomination unto me"?
Simple question. YES or NO? Is English a second language for you?
Based on your "logic", the Ten Commandments applied only to Moses.
For those who haven't read the biggest selling Bible ever, here's what the KING JAMES BIBLE says:
"Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting."
So now we are not only cherry picking verses we like, but also bibles we like. Where is the ultimate bible that we can trust is the word of god. If it exists, lets see what it says. If it doesn't, lets drop it as a holy book.
You're missing the point. I'm not validating one translation over another, which for being so smart, you should surely understand. The point is that you used a different translation to try and make a contradiction that isn't there simply because it's worded differently. I can read fine thanks, I think it's your ability to read and comprehend that's the problem. When the preceding sentence talks about vain oblations (empty offerings), it makes sense that the sentence in question (that follows) is in direct reference and correlation to that. It's not a standalone statement.
Your argument is pointless, The Bible CLEARLY does NOT say "your" according to the King James and ASV versions. You know you've lost an argument when you have to PRETEND that sentences don't mean what they say and contain missing words that completely change the meanings. If you want to make further meaningless arguments, it could be argued that the missing "your" referred to all of mankind. You have ZERO proof that it wouldn't if you want to argue it.
Next, you'll probably tell me that the Bible specifically mentions condemning abortion.
De asini vmbra disceptare
I'm not pretending anything actually. My point with the "your" was that some translations emphasize the point better and that was all. That word isn't necessary for it to make the same statement in all translations. They're all sourced from the same place, so the meaning doesn't change just because it's a different translation. Once again, the verse you pointed out is part of a topical passage, so the sentences in it are related to each other. If I said "Sports cars are fun; red is my favorite color", what you're trying to say is that my favorite color is red because "that's what it says". But, that would be incorrect. My favorite sports car color is red sure, but red is not my favorite color.
Your logic clearly shows that the Ten Commandments only apply to the Israelis. They have nothing to do with American Christians.
What's the context of that passage? I would bet God is angry at His people and is telling them that he wants them to do right instead of repentance...and oh look at that. Isaiah 1:10-17
"10 Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the instruction of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11 “The multi.tude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the LORD.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow."
If the Bible said "YOUR incense" or "THE incense" or "THIS incense" or "THAT incense" you would have validity, but it doesn't. Your best argument is that the scholars who worked on the Bible weren't bright enough to interpret it clearly. That's a typical argument from people who want to pretend that the Bible says things it doesn't.
Yes you have CHOSEN a different version of the Bible from KJV. As I said, everyone picks and chooses.
The meaning is the same. I quoted the NIV because it is in the common English parlance. If you prefer the King James Version:
"10Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
11To what purpose is the multi.tude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. "
The point of the passage is, God is angry with His people. They keep sinning and then coming and seeking absolution. God is saying "Look, I want you to go and do right. Stop coming and seeking absolution and then going out and doing the same thing over and over again. It's not true repentance if you keep doing the same sin. Stop sinning and then the burnt offerings and incense won't be necessary, because you won't need absolution."
Right mate, it does say "your" in no fewer than 3 translations to further clarify what was already being said. I didn't translate these myself, so clearly other people can and would read the translations you pointed out the same way I did and most others would. The only way your point would have made sense is if the Bible had said: unrelated point A, incense is detestable, unrelated point C.
This is nothing more than another attempt to shove the christian religion down people's throat....... christianity is the biggest fraud in history. Don't believe me..... read the bible..... actually read it and then wake up. Religion was invented as a way for the priest class to rule the poor and the ignorant while living in luxuary..... My message to the christians is KEEP YOUR RELIGION OFF PUBLIC PROPERTY.........
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.