What's Happening In Your World
By Rev. Jesse Herriott, M.A. Governor Lincoln Chafee from Rhode Island has chosen to term the state’s famous evergreen conifer a “Holiday Tree” and this time it has helped to spark a national debate, again. It takes courage on behalf of any public figure to make such a bold statement; especially in a country that calls itself a Christian country. A 2011 Gallup poll suggests that about 78% of Americans identify with some aspect of Christianity, and further analysis suggests that about 83% of all Americans have some form of religious identity. So in short, America really is a nation of diverse peoples, with diverse views; and there are probably about as many viewpoints of Christianity as there are people who have them. But,  if the truth be told, church attendance is slowly declining. So, is our nation slowly becoming more secular? I don’t believe this is necessarily the case; yet what we may be witnessing is a generation of individuals that are slowly regaining control over every area of their life, including their spiritual lives. Gallup polls from 2011 also suggest that about 92% of Americans believe in “God.” But, maybe their beliefs of and about “God” aren’t as staunch or stringent as they used to be. Perhaps Americans don’t picture God in terms of a Santa-Claus’ figure up in the sky, making a list, checking it twice, and looking to find out who’s been naughty or nice. The three-tiered universe conception of old days just doesn’t work anymore, and thank God it doesn’t. If any sentient being is descending back through our atmosphere and the literal clouds, he or she better be wearing a good safety suit, or they’d burn up before they reached the ground. And maybe it’s not the authors of our religious texts that got it wrong;  maybe they intended their words to be taken allegorically, and we made them literal, oppressive, and authoritarian. We can only hope to handle all of the breakthroughs in science and technology with responsibility. There are benefits to holding some things sacred but we have to understand that regardless of whether it’s political or religious, discrimination is wrong; even if you use a religious text to do so. We can all agree that we believe in love, freedom, and life, so maybe we should start the conversation there. Who cares if you call your tree a “holiday tree” or a “Christmas tree”; as long as you recognize the essential principles upon which your sacred beliefs are based. At the end of the day, your beliefs should help you to become a better, more loving person, towards those who share your beliefs and with those who don’t. Rev. Jesse Herriott is a priest; writer and adjunct professor in Atlanta, GA. Jesse is completing a PhD in Psychology from NorthCentral University, and he writes about Religion,  Relationships & Spirituality. In addition, he hosts a weekly radio broadcast airing every Tuesday at 9am Central on Unity Online Radio entitled, “Living on Purpose.” Learn more at   www.jesseherriott.com

Rhode Island Governor Takes Away Christmas; Are We Becoming A Secular Nation?

By Rev. Jesse Herriott, M.A.

Governor Lincoln Chafee from Rhode Island has chosen to term the state’s famous evergreen conifer a “Holiday Tree” and this time it has helped to spark a national debate, again. It takes courage on behalf of any public figure to make such a bold statement; especially in a country that calls itself a Christian country. A 2011 Gallup poll suggests that about 78% of Americans identify with some aspect of Christianity, and further analysis suggests that about 83% of all Americans have some form of religious identity. So in short, America really is a nation of diverse peoples, with diverse views; and there are probably about as many viewpoints of Christianity as there are people who have them. But,  if the truth be told, church attendance is slowly declining.

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