Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Witch Hunt for the Easter Bunny

The term witch-hunt comes from the Salem witch trials, in which the leaders from puritan churches were caught up in the fear that certain members of the community were in cahoots with the devil. This resulted in widespread hysteria, paranoia, and persecution. The aftermath of this ruthless, unmerciful harassment was that innocent people died and great reproach came to the name of Christ.

Fortunately, those days are over. Or are they? It seems some Christians are still stuck in this legalistic mindset of narrow-minded intolerance and fear-mongering. They are against Easter egg hunts, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and seemingly every other holiday for that matter. Further still, they will condemn anyone who participates in these activities as being some kind of compromiser who is in partnership with darkness. There is a preoccupation today in many Christian churches to identify evil, and in their over zealousness have targeted “every rabbit in the bush.” Pun intended.

To give you and idea, simply read this quote from a church’s book of discipline…
Landover Baptist Book of Rules and Regulations Chapter 83 Holidays Section 4: Subsection R - Easter Page 723-724 Paragraph 4: The Easter Bunny: Banned Easter Symbol, Paragraph 4 -
Of all the Pagan symbols created by Satan to steal the True Christian History of religious holidays, none, save Santa Clause is more dangerous than the Easter Bunny. Painted pagan eggs, Easter baskets, and yellow marshmallow chickens don't hold a candle to this furry four legged demonic spawn, forged in the fires of Hell by Lucifer himself, for the sole purpose of distracting innocent little snow white children from the true meaning behind Easter Sunday. As the former angel of light, the Devil is an expert in trickery! This has been evident from 1923 to present time in modern churches where so-called "Christians" display the Easter bunny or pictures of bunnies in their Easter Sunday service programs. Sadly, many pastors have been seduced by the Devil's seemingly innocent long eared, hopping hellion. But do not be mistaken! Underneath that silky soft white coat of hair lay the tight red skin and pulsing veins of a miniature demon. And there are millions of them! Have you ever heard the term, "breed like rabbits?" Well, the Devil is laughing right at YOU! If you don't understand that Satan's job is breeding minions and the bunny rabbit is the ultimate symbol of minion breeding, then please close this book now and find another place of worship, for you are not welcome here.

Okay, that was enlightening.

Let me say that I am aware of the schemes of Satan when it comes to counterfeiting the things of God and trying to dilute the message of the gospel. Among his many devices is the use of paganism, mixed with Christianity, to pervert that which is sacred. Having said that, let me also say that for most people Easter Sunday, along with the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts, is a day of pure innocence. It is a day in which children simply have fun looking for brightly colored eggs and candy, and maybe even get a surprise visit from someone dressed up in an Easter Bunny suit. And to be frank and honest with you, there is absolutely nothing wrong at all in events like these.

What should the Christian response be to this cultural practice? Better yet, what would Jesus do?

My guess is that Jesus would not spend His time condemning children, believers, and unbelievers on the evils of the Easter Bunny – instead He would be walking among them sharing His love and grace. Jesus was often accused of being evil Himself simply because He kept company with people who engaged in unapproved lifestyles. Though He never approved of sin, He did accept people as they were and showed them a better way. St. John 3:17 says that He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it. When overzealous church people go on a witch-hunt for the Easter Bunny, Easter eggs, as well as the children and parents who participate in these events, they are violating the Spirit and nature of Christ. Thinking themselves to be more mature than others, they demonstrate how little they know about the real essence of Christianity. Real maturity is demonstrated when you have patience with and accept others who have different standards to live by.

The point is, Jesus never spent His time looking for and publicly denouncing non-essential matters. But instead, He spent His time loving people and touching them where they lived and where they hurt. As Christians, we should do no less.

Myself, I cannot imagine hurting the feelings of some small children by depriving them of having their kind of fun on Easter Sunday. I’ll not let a misguided sense of “protecting the gospel” become a platform for a witch-hunt. Just because some of these secular activities supposedly have their origins in paganism, (who knows if that’s true anyway), it is no justification to go on a witch hunt and squeeze the fun out of life . Even if it is true, it has no power over me today. It has no power over your children. I say let children just have their fun. They don’t know about all that paganism stuff and it wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans even if they did!

Use this Easter as an opportunity to imitate Jesus, not go in a witch-hunt. The world around us will be drawn to Christ only as we demonstrate His nature. Don’t let others see Easter Sunday as the day that the devil comes out. Let it be a day in which Christ is seen in you.

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