Governor Chris Gregoire's office has been besieged with two hundred calls an hour over the atheists’ sign erected alongside a Nativity scene in the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington.

 Besides being compared to the Grinch that Stole Christmas, the display is not only offensive to the sensitivity of Christians, it condemns the hope surrounding the season. Apparently, the atheists will not be happy until everyone is as miserable as them.  

 What did the governor do wrong? The exhibit exposes a fatal flaw in the values of our age.  

 Governor Gregoire believes that freedom of speech is more important than responsible speech. The Bible teaches that our speech must first be worth of distribution (Ex. 23:1); that is, speech must be responsible to be free. Erecting an atheist’s attack sign next to a nativity scene is a slap in the face of 2000 years of Western history. A society that places freedom above responsibility will lose both because it has made, not responsibility, but freedom is primary goal. In Biblical terms, freedom is the fruit of responsible living; that is, adherence to the truth produces freedom (John 8:32).

 Governor Gregoire believes that lies deserve the same protection as the truth. The nativity scene is a symbol of the historicity of the birth of Jesus Christ. Due to his love, Christians have planted churches, hospitals, charities, shelters, rescue missions, and hospices through out the centuries. The Atheist sign is anti-belief, a lie that cannot be proven to be a fact or a truth. The statement that “religion (Christianity) . . . hardens hearts and enslaves minds is a bold face lie and flies in the face of fact—the fact of goodness planted by Christians through the expansion of the gospel; that is, this sign violates the ninth commandment: “Thou shall not bear false witness . . .” Lies do not deserve the protection of the state. 

Governor Gregoire believes she has a duty to protect false religion as well as true religion. Atheism is a religion and has no tradition during the Christmas season that is worth preserving. Christianity not only has a true historical base that is connected to reality, its fruits of love and charity are indisputable. Why would Governor Gregoire give a false belief system—a system that has no hope and no love and no values the same protection as a Christmas nativity scene? Our country was founded by Pilgrims and Puritans. It achieved independence and greatness because of its Christian base. It is preposterous to give Hindus or Brahma or Vishnu or Atheism the same protection as Christianity, and it is outside the reasonable intention of the people of the united States to do so. When irreligion is granted the same protections as true religion, tyranny and anarchy prevail.

In conclusion, the Bible teaches that a false witness shall be punished (Prov. 19:5) and instead of denying the atheists’ lie a platform, Governor Gregoire put “freedom” above responsibility and gave a propositional lie the same protection as historical truth.

Brooky Stockton, Ph.D.