Leave Me Alone

by Erik Hawkinson

I’m driving down the highway and a car passes me on the right. As it passes, I see on the back bumper a shiny outline of a fish. I shake it off and continue down the road until I see a huge sign that says: "The Lord is God!"

Eric Hawkinson

Religion is advertised all over the country. It seems like Christians advertise the most. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Christian and I think that religion is a very important part of life. Some people take advertising religion too far. Sometimes religion even turns into a trend.

Back in the days when Romans threw Christians into the Coliseum, the fish was a symbol hung in a door, a secret message that meant that there was an underground Christian meeting there. Putting the fish all over the place now, including the back bumper of a car both defeats the purpose and almost shames its original meaning.

Recently, there were WWJD bracelets (what would Jesus do?). Everyone had one! I could not turn a corner without seeing one. Jesus advertisements were everywhere: rings, mugs, shirts, bumper shirts—you name it. What would Jesus do? He would not do that.

The Bible talks about advertising your religion: " Be careful practicing your religion in front of others to be seen by them" (Matthew 6:1). In other words, don’t pray in front of others to make yourself look good.

On several occasions when I have been walking in a mall with a friend, we have been surrounded on all sides. Trapped! No escape! The first thing out of the mouths of our captors was: "Do you believe in Jesus?" Or my favorite: "Have you heard the Good Word?" If I were a non-Christian I would be appalled and upset as if my rights had been violated.

If you really want to show people what you believe, show your religion through love and kindness and hard work for others asking nothing in return—like Mother Teresa. Otherwise, why not let people be and allow them to worship the way they want to without pestering them?

Erik G. Hawkinson is the former Dean of North Park Seminary. Dean Hawkinson was beloved by many. He died May 15, 1984.

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