by Dr. D ~ March 23rd, 2012
Atheists in Polk County Florida recently scrubbed away a ‘blessing’ placed on a major highway a year ago by a group of area religious leaders.
A group of Christians leaders called Polk Under Prayer (PUP) had prayed over the major highway coming into their county and had anointed it with consecrated oil. The Christian prayer warriors prayed for God’s protection over their county and hoped to discourage criminals from coming into their area. According to PUP director Richard Geringswald:
“…his group had been blessing the county line. "And praying for that entryway into the city, that God would protect us from evildoers, mainly the drug crowd, that they would be dissuaded to come in to the county."
From their perspective they were doing something positive for their community, hoping to cut down on crime.
However, some member of the Humanists of Florida were offended by the highway blessing and claimed that it made them feel ‘unwelcome.’ According to HOF leader Mark Palmer :
"It sends a very bad signal to everyone in Polk County, and (anyone) who travels through Polk county who doesn’t happen to be Christian. This event is not about atheist rights; this is about welcoming everybody into Polk county."
Response: The actions of the Humanists/atheists do not make any sense here. Usually atheists are fighting back on issues of church and state. That is not in view here. One would think that both groups are within their rights to either anoint or wash the highway.
What is inexplicable to me is how atheists or secularists could possibly be affected or ‘offended’ by prayers when they don’t view them as having any real value? Also, how could anyone feel ‘unwelcome’ by an anointing and ‘blessing’ that they don’t even recognize as having any reality?
Besides, it was criminals and drug traffickers that were specifically targeted by the prayer team.
The atheists seem to be rather ‘intolerant’ to the beliefs of others here which is ironic since that is a complaint that they usually lodge against believers. At the very least they are ignorant of the intentions of the Christian prayer group.
Christian groups all around the country pray and proclaim blessings upon their communities, areas, counties, and states. This is not rare but a common occurrence and practice.
Sometimes Christians even pray against evil principalities and powers in the unseen spiritual realm in order to make them feel unwelcome. The highway anointing was obviously an effort to draw a line in the sand that would discourage criminals that were particularly affected by demonic influence from visiting their county.
Since atheists do not recognize the spiritual realm at all it is difficult to see how they would claim be affected in any way. From a Christian spiritual world view, folks could only feel ‘unwelcome’ if they were indeed influenced by demonic powers in some way themselves.
Nevertheless, Christians are supposed to love their neighbors and do good to everyone, believers and unbelievers. Knowing that Lakeland, Florida and Polk County is full of some very fine Christians, they should be making everyone there feel welcome and cared for. *Top