I attended a city-wide, public event yesterday. It was a family-fun event loaded with lots of activies, live music, fun and excitement. Now, why did I leave feeling so ... something?
The city of Grand Forks held a city-wide 4th of July event downtown. There was live music, games, things for the kids, food and it was free. It was a nice event I attended with a friend and my daughter. We went on some of the rides, played some games and had an all-around good time.
To my surprise, well ... I suppose it wasn't a surprise at first. A man came up on the stage while my friend & I waited by this water type ride while my daughter went on it several times. This man came up on stage and said he was doing a magic show. And that is for certain what I thought it would be, just that.
To my surprise, he continued to talk about how he was a Pastor at some local church in town. Which really, is not a big deal because anyone of any career choice can do magic, I suppose. I was a bit shocked and offended when he continued with his religious talk, holding up a sticker for children that said, "God is Dead" and re-enforcing into their mind that, oh for silly! God is not dead. Mind you, he was completely assuming that these children knew who God was and were Christian of some sort. He continued with jumble about how Jesus was beat up by bad guys and that is not good. And to further my amazement - he had an audience. Not only was I shocked and offended, but a bit confused and angered on why a city-paid event would have someone talking like this on a public stage in something that I did not pay for to attend, nor did anyone else. And really, what does Christianity well, really religion for that matter, have anything to do with the 4th of July.
The fourth of July is the birthday; I suppose you could say of America. They came here to get away from religious persecution and wanted freedom. Our ancestors. Yes, in this country.
As this Pastor spoke more and more, I find myself getting angrier. What right did he have to just go and talk like this? Freedom of Speech ...? How about Separation of Church and State? This event was put on by the CITY of Grand Forks; therefore I must say that it was party paid for by the City of Grand Forks, as well as many sponsors. And the fact that the Pastor was using children as his "volunteers" and continuously enforcing his word of God during his "magic show" and completely disregarding anyone else's belief - whether it is Christianity, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and even Atheism. Yet, if a Jewish believer was up there, talking about his beliefs - would it be accepted? No. Probably not.
So in our free country and the fact that I took my time to hang out with a friend and my child, which is awesome by the way, I felt bombarded by something that I probably shouldn't have felt, especially at a free, public, city-wide event. This Pastor could have put his "magic show" on without the talk of God and Jesus and that would have been okay and I think I would have been okay with that. But the way he made me feel by just standing there for the fifteen minutes I did, while my child innocently played, was something I could have done without.