A group of east Texas pastors has decided enough is enough — declaring their intentions to to fight back against Wisconsin atheists who are demanding that a Nativity located on the lawn of the Henderson County courthouse be torn down.
“It’s time that Americans stand up and take America back for the faith that we were founded upon,” said Nathan Lorick, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Malakoff. “We’re going to stand up and fight for this.”
Lorick, and a group of other pastors in Henderson County, are organizing a large rally to defend the traditional Nativity from an attack by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The Wisconsin-based atheist organization sent a letter to the county explaining that a local resident had complained and they wanted the Nativity removed.
“It sends a message of intimidation and exclusion to non-Christians and non-believers this time of year,” FFRF co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor told television station KFDW.
She said the location of the Nativity — on the lawn of the courthouse in Athens, made non-Christians feel unwelcome.
“Anybody walking by that is going to say, ‘Hmmm. This is a Christian government building. I’m not welcome here if I’m not Christian,’” she told the television station.
Henderson County Commissioner Joe Hall called the attack “stupid” and said he’s going to do whatever it takes to stop the atheists.
“I’ll tell you this — I’m going to fight this until hell freezes over,” Hall told Fox News & Commentary. “I hope and pray that we leave it up.”
Hall said he’s lived in the community for 35 years and as long as he can remember the Nativity has been erected on the courthouse lawn.
“It’s been up there for decades without any complaints,” he said.
Pastor Lorick said it’s time to draw a line in the sand — and start standing up for the Christian faith.
“Christianity is under attack in America,” he told Fox News & Commentary. “Our country is quickly heading down a direction which the Christian faith is taking a hit — it’s quickly becoming suppressed.”
Lorick, 30, said he wants his children to grow up in the same country that had the religious freedom and opportunity to “worship Jesus as I did.”
The overwhelmingly Christian community seems to share the pastor’s sentiment.
“So now they’re trying to take Baby Jesus,” said resident Tracie Lynda. “What is so offensive about a baby in a manger? If it does not mean anything to you, why does it offend you?”
Pastor Lorick said they expect a large turnout next weekend at a rally to defend the Nativity.
“We cannot sit by,” he said. “It’s a hill to die on. It’s a fight worth having. I’m here to be a voice in that movement. We are a people of the Christian faith.”