Church and State, per Constitution and Bible
The 1st Amendment starts with .. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. This then pertains to 2 important points (1) government cannot force a religion and (2) government must allow us to exercise our religion. Regarding point 1, the US has never sought to establish a religion and never will. I believe most Christians would strongly object if the government established Christianity as the official US religion. I myself, a Christian, would march on DC if that would ever happen. When I visited the oldest synagogue in the US in Newport, RI, I read a speech that George Washington gave there. His main points were that the US would always allow and encourage the Jewish and all to practice their own religious faith. Regarding point 2, US courts and politicians have often violated the 1st Amendment by trying (and sometimes successfully) to block Christians and Jews from openly celebrating their religion. Examples include blocking school prayer, taking “under God” out of the Pledge of allegiance, denying the placement of the Ten Commandments in some public offices, even asking that a Christmas Tree be called a Holiday Tree in a government facility in Rhode Island. What are they afraid of? Virtually all Christians will not try to force their religion.
Now turn to the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 6, verse 11. Jesus sent his Apostles throughout the country to preach and to cure the sick. Jesus said, “If any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them”. Jesus did not ask them to force beliefs on them. Jesus never did or encouraged this. Another example is in Mark Chapter 10. A rich man, who followed the Jewish faith quite closely, asked Jesus what he needed to do in order to attain “eternal life”. Verse 21 reads as follows: Jesus looked at him and loved him, then stated “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” This rich man refused as he had great possessions. Jesus replied to his disciples “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God”. No, Jesus did not make an effort there to force him to change his mind.
Likewise most Christians do not try to force their beliefs on others. If some do then they are not following Jesus in this regard. Such should be immediately denounced. So,Christians: go out and greet others with Merry Christmas. Smile, say “good day” and politely walk away if you receive an objection. And to municipalities such as Madison, New Jersey that place a Christmas Tree every year day after Thanksgiving and start off with a prayer from a priest: continue to stand up for your rights under the Constitution to publicly celebrate Christmas. After all we rejoice but do not force our ritual.