The war on Easter

As billions of Christians worldwide prepare for Easter this Holy Week, it seems that some television personalities think that our culture is waging a war on Easter. Bill O’Reilly declared on his show that the War on Easter is being waged via the Easter bunny:

But the war on Judeo-Christian tradition continues on in some public school districts… in some schools you are not allowed to say the word “Easter.” On Long Island, the East Meadow school district, holding a Spring egg hunt — not Easter eggs, Spring eggs. Same thing in Prospect Heights, Illinois. Manhattan Beach, California. Flat Rock Elementary School in South Carolina, and a school district in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. No Easter. They are having Spring egg events. Moderated by a Spring bunny, at least in San Diego. I know it’s stupid. You know it’s stupid.

There is a difference between saying “you are not allowed to say the word “Easter” and billing an event without the word Easter.  Perhaps it is overly sensitive to have a “Spring Egg Hunt”, but  I’m sure you are allowed to say the word “Easter” as a point of reference. I seriously doubt if two teachers were talking about their spring break plans that they would have to say “The holiday that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection” instead of “Easter”.

When it comes down to it, there’s nothing inherently Judeo-Christian about the Easter Bunny or Easter Eggs. Last time I checked the Bible, the Easter Bunny wasn’t there. There is nothing religious about a giant bunny magically giving children baskets of candy. Saying that there is a war on Easter is an affront to the nature of real wars in which people die.

The very word “Easter” is not very Christian. The modern English word “Easter”  can be traced to an older English word Ēastre or Ēostre or Eoaster, which refers to Eostur-monath, a month that the Germanic peoples named after the goddess Ēostre. The word Easter has connections to pagan rituals of celebrating the spring time. So, to not use the word “Easter” shouldn’t offend Christians.

I don’t believe in the war on Easter. Secular and public institutions are not the keepers of Christianity.  We Christians are keepers of Christianity. If Bill O’Reilly thinks the epitome of Easter is a public school Easter egg hunt, then he seriously misses the core message of Jesus. Perhaps O’Reilly misunderstands Christianity because he also thinks Jesus was killed over taxes.

Let us put down our Easter eggs as weapons and not allow the celebration of Christ’s resurrection be used as television entertainment.

Alan Rudnick

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Alan Rudnick has been featured on television, radio, print, and social media and serves as the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa, NY. He has quickly established himself as a leader, blogger, and commentator in the areas of faith, Christianity, ministry, and social media. He is the author of, “The Work of the Associate Pastor”, Judson Press. Alan’s writing has been featured with the Albany Times Union, The Christian Century, Associated Baptist Press, and The Fund of Theological Education. http://alanrudnick.org

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  • godsfingers

    Yes, Easter is not Christian by any sense and the KJV wrongfully used the word in The Acts of the Apostles. But that said, among Christians the word Easter is, yes, just association as opposed to Resurrection Day, Empty Tomb Day. Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts, chocolates and Peeps are secular products associated with the same name, maybe even the pagan holiday so stripping the name is an attempt to attack Christians, but let them, go ahead waste your ammunition and expose yourselves, Christians need not be offended. Maybe it would be good to lose the egg hunt, chocolate bunnies, the Peeps ( on second thought the Peeps stay ;-) and get focus back on the wondrous work that God did…

  • sasasa

    What they’re also missing in their list of non-Easter cities is the fact that (at least for the top 3) these cities have a much larger Jewish population than the country as a whole.  While the US is maybe 2 to 2.5% Jewish, East Meadow NY is 15%, Prospect Heights IL is 8% (and 3% Muslim), and Manhattan Beach CA is 10%.  Being sensitive to a very large minority within your district (and one that also has eggs at a holiday at the same time) is certainly not a *war* on Easter.

    • godsfingers

      sasasa I get a kick out of this story headlining Prospect Heights. I spent my adolescence there and it wasn’t anything but 100 people, a bakery, volunteer fire department and a golf course. I’m surprised that there is even a school there, but it would be a township school anyway.

  • _lawrenc1

    Actually, sir, the tradition of the colored egg IS both Christian and Jewish.
    First of all, a hard boiled egg dipped in salt water is a staple of the Jewish Seder Meal, which Jesus most certainly partook of in his life.
    After the resurrection, as Mary Magdalene was traveling in Rome, she dined with the Emperor Tiberius.  She exclaimed “Christ Is Risen!” ( the greeting of the Resurrection used in the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day).  Tiberius replied that a man can no more rise from the dead than the egg in her hand can turn red.  Immediately, the egg in Mary Magdalene’s hand turned red.
    I know there is an Orthodox Church in Ballston Spa, NY that you can visit to verify this story.  I attended that church for over a year before moving from the area.

    • godsfingers

      _lawrenc1 Um, what was Mary Magdeline doing with Tiberius? He loathed the Jews. And you seem to be playing more un-biblical attributes to another Mary. This sounds very similar to Jesus dining with Pilot where allegedly Pilot offered his son in Jesus stead. There is no church in NY, or anywhere, that can verify such malarkey.
      The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not magic tricks. If you attest to some magic tricks you are a follower of Simon Majus ( from the Acts of the Apostles) who, while showing off for the Emperor by levitating above the Coliseum,  plummeted to his death.
      A trick, such as you describe, is not Christian, just an Orthodox fairytale, nor does it have anything to do with the Resurrection of the Christ Jesus.

  • bassboatwillie

    Last time I checked the Bible, the Easter Bunny wasn’t there.
    I can agree with you on most of what you say in the article but this statement is really arrogant. This attitude has no place in a blog, article or news story. It is sophomoric and should be dropped. ABP should delete that portion of the blog.

  • _lawrenc1

    @ godsfingers
    What she was doing there, I do not know. Further, there was no “magic” involved, but rather, it is showing a divine intervention of its own, as there is nothing that says that it was Mary Magdalene that ordered the egg to turn red.
    Further, the reason of my original post is not about trickery or malarchy, but to combat the malarchy of “Easter’s Paganism”. Paschal eggs (Orthodox Christians do NOT call the Feast of the Resurrection Easter, but Pascha) originated LONG before Christianity spread to Northern Europe, and further have their start in the Jewish tradition.

    • http://godsfingers.wordpress.com/ godsfingers

      _lawrenc1 I guess you need to qualify the Mary Magdeline story. Again, why was she dining with the Emperor? Women, especially women not of nobility were cast offs, not invited to the highest court of the land. Mary Magdeline, like Mary the mother of Jesus were in the servitude of women of the day. There is no reasonable response to explain this. In response to an egg turning red, at all, the attribution if it even were to have happened would have been a demonic display, not unlike the stigmata so adored and worshipped by the other demon worshippers.
      I’m afraid you’ve been duped, sir, and need to come to the full revelation of Christ and put aside the devilish traditions.

      • _lawrenc1

        godsfingers _lawrenc1 
        The only develish tradition I see is your insistence on the role of women who follow Christ.
        According to all four Gospels, who was the first to encounter and recognize our risen Lord and Savior?  Mary Magdalene.  Does this not attest to her imporatnt role in the Resurrection?  For you to say no is to deny the four Gospels themselves.  Since she was the first to see Him resurrected, I daresay that made her VERY important to any political figure who may have been trying to decide what to do about such things the proseltyzing the claim of a man risen from the dead of his people.
        Further, for you to call the turning of the color demonic is to say that God will no longer perform miracles for His people.  Do you not believe in a living God, as Peter confessed to in Matthew?

        • _lawrenc1

          godsfingers _lawrenc1 
          One other thing: For you to deny Holy tradition is a further denial of Scripture itself.  Do you forget 1 Timothy 3:15, where it is laid out that the pillar and foundation of truth is the church?  The very church that descends not as a Roman spin-off, but founded by the Apostles in Alexandria, Jerusalem, Anitoch, Greece, and even Rome, the very church Paul himself was aware of.  This story, perhaps a parable used to reveal a deeper truth, has been around since those very days, sir.  Your disregard of the story shows only your denial of history, and such denial can only embolden those who want to convince those that paganism abounds in christianity.

        • http://godsfingers.wordpress.com/ godsfingers

          _lawrenc1 godsfingers You err in that none of the Mary’s had role in the resurrection. Like over 300 other people, they saw Christ after He was resurrected and only the Apostles were elevated to someone “VERY” important. Your religion gives too much emphasis on mystification and elevating persons as opposed to Paul’s teachings. He warned about such mystics even then, yes, your originating church. Back to the topic, Bill O’Reilly is a Catholic, explaining the “war” on Easter. It may be very high time, for the sake of the Cross, to lose the Easter bunny, eggs and bonnets and give honor where it’s due, to Christ’s victory over death and the commission he gave us.

        • _lawrenc1

          godsfingers _lawrenc1 
          So being the first one to see the resurected Christ means nothing?  Being the one to bring the news to the Apostles means nothing? We put too much emphasis on mysticism?
          You put too little emphasis on spiritual health, history, and  understanding why Christ chose who he did.  Paul may have warned against mysticism, but he also warned not to extinguish the spirit for without that spirit and mysticism, one can not have a personal relationship with God or His Son.
          I don’t care if the bunnies and the bonnets go; the eggs stay.  They were a symbol of the resurrection LONG before Martin Luther divided the West, and long before the word of God ever reached the areas that many say the “pagan origins” came from.  Our church has guarded that history, and will continue to do so.

        • http://godsfingers.wordpress.com/ godsfingers

          _lawrenc1 godsfingers Being the first one is subject to which Gospel you read. Only John accounts that Mary Magdeline was first to see the resurrected Jesus. All other accounts have Magdeline, the “other” Mary, and Johana/Salome arriving at the tomb. The additional text in Mark is unreliable (probably added by your church) relating the Magdeline first scenario.
          And, Heaven’s no, I don’t get accused of extinguishing the Holy Spirit, on the contrary, I’m usually accused of false teaching because I do believe the Holy Spirit is working and relevant for today. And it’s that same Spirit which reveals the error of mysticism acquainted elevation of humans. In the Acts of the Apostles, Magdeline is relegated to “the women” while “Mary, Jesus mother and His brothers” is given a noted separation.
          I’m quite sure that the Holy Spirit placed “Peeps” in my Easter Basket when I was young, and I guard that history enthusiastically.

        • _lawrenc1

          godsfingers _lawrenc1
          Orthodox regard the history as just as important. We regard the traditions as just as important. For you to disregard them does indeed extinguish the Holy Spirit, as Paul reminded us in 2 Thessalonians to hold fast to our traditions.
          If your “warning of mysticism” referes to the Epistle to the Colossians, our tradition holds fast that the warning is not against “mysticism”, but rather, Gnosticism, which are not the same. Mysticism aids in in the spirit; gnosticsm reveals your ego. Mysticism is essential; gnosticism is a deception. No Orthodox claim a hidden knowledge gained by their mysticism; gnosticim insists on it.

        • _lawrenc1

          godsfingers _lawrenc1
          If the added text was unreliable, as you claim, it would not have been added to begin with. The church fathers disregarded many teachings in compiling scripture, and if Mark 16:9-20 was unreliable, that would have been discarded, also.
          I am happy to see you believe that the Holy Spirit works even today; I have met many, even from your branch, who disagree with you.
          Only Mark mentions Salome by name.  Matthew inludes the other Mary, Luke names Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women.  All mention Mary Magdalene, so there must be some important reason for her inclusion.

        • http://godsfingers.wordpress.com/ godsfingers

          _lawrenc1 godsfingers You do realize that Mary the mother of James is Mary the mother of John is Mary the mother of Jesus, Salome is Johanna. The historical account is that they were there, not important per-say.  You ignore the fact that Luke also refers to Magdeline and others as “the women” as in, of no account or the general grouping in the Acts of the Apostles.

          The text Mark 16:9-20 was added well after the Gospel and was not included in the earlier most reliable texts and witnesses. The language, “Jesus appeared to them in a different form” smacks strongly of this most recent translation of a Coptic text describing Jesus as a shape shifter (an old man, a boy, a female?) in addition to Jesus having dinner with Pontius Pilot. Not unlike your preposterous claim to Magdeline dining with Tiberius. I believe your Eastern traditions hold at least his wife, if not him, as a saint.

          For example, in my family, tradition held that I had Scarlet fever as a young child and my mother was a diabetic. I shared this history repeatedly with medical staff, fully believing it to be true as did family members. When my mother died, I found out it wasn’t true and I had prepared my life to live with diabetes myself. For nearly 60 years I believed that I had suffered through Scarlet fever, and survived. Only recently I found that there is no evidence of it and had not contracted it.
          This elevation of men (and women) reserving some sort of sainthood is an apostasy in itself. Forgetting that Paul writes to saints, not dead people, which is the church of Christ. Perhaps you need to lose the history, return to the Bible and follow the ten commandments, including no idol worship (icons, people, etc)…

        • http://godsfingers.wordpress.com/ godsfingers

          _lawrenc1 godsfingers okay, this will offend you. Your church doesn’t discard it because it added it later to substantiate your claim.

        • _lawrenc1

          godsfingers _lawrenc1 
          No actually, it wasn’t added to bolster any claim.  There were several other endings circulated; the one accepted is considered inspired and canonical.
          I won’t get into your assertion of the Mother of Jesus having other children: this is nothing more than a preposterous attempt by those Roman spin offs to minimize the Mother of God in the Flesh to nothing more than a breeder.  The Apostles themselves, through tradition, testified that she had no other children; the Bible only mentions Jesus as HER child (a very big deal in Jewish culture).
          No, it is the Oriental Orthodox(Coptics) that claim Pilate as a saint; the Eastern Orthodox do not.

        • _lawrenc1

          godsfingers _lawrenc1 
          For you to decry sainthood as an apostacy is a denial of the Transfiguration.  Of course, I know Protestants do not celebrate it; but the three Synoptic Gospels give a clear account of it.  Jesus was not a “shape shifter” He was God incarnate.  God is light. This is why He appeared as light on Mount /Tabor.
          Whether you believe that Luke’s reference to the “other women” meaning of little importance or whether there too many to name what is important at least in my initial response to this blog to begin with, is that eggs are NOT a pagan sympbol of the Reusrrection.  There is more history in them than other symbols used.
          By the way, only English speaking Westerner’s refer to it as “Easter”; all other languages use a variant of “Pascha”, the Greek word for Passover.  You can look this uup online if you desire.

        • http://godsfingers.wordpress.com/ godsfingers

          _lawrenc1 godsfingers Hate to break it to you but God has no mother. And Jesus said He IS the Alpha and Omega, He was before Mary, the mother of the Son of Man, and He IS now and evermore, she’s dead until the resurrection. There is no queen of heaven, except that which is destined to destruction as spoken in Revelation. She HAD RELATIONS after the birth of Jesus (no closed womb according to scripture). She was the mother of sinful man in Jesus, without which there was no need to be born at all. Jesus even passed off the responsibility of son of Mary to John so that she would be provided for. She was the mother of brother’s and sister’s after the birth of Jesus (as are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles). There is no holy Mary, blessed yes, holy no. 
          Much the same can be said about Joseph for which there is no record at all, death or otherwise. He could just as easily been disappointed that Jesus wasn’t savior from the Romans and walked away like so many others mentioned in John6:66 (interesting text reference).

        • http://godsfingers.wordpress.com/ godsfingers

          _lawrenc1 godsfingers ????? Transfiguraton? What has that to do with appointing dead people to pray to?
          Pascha as referenced to the Passover can’t reference the Resurrection given that Christ rose after the Passover. He was buried before the beginning of the Feast of unleavened bread and raised after the Sabbot. So the tradition is still wrong, as is your day of celebration. All of which is to alienate the Jews as part of the replacement theology.
          I could care less about Easter eggs, but you feel convicted by Paul, like the eating of meat sacrificed to idols, that if you cause someone to sin by your practice you should discontinue it or do it elsewhere. I suppose that may include trying to proselytize the practice.

        • _lawrenc1

          godsfingers _lawrenc1 
          I do not feel convicted by Paul at all: I feel vindicated.  However,  I feel sorry for those who deny Jesus as God in the flesh.  I feel sorry for those who relegate the faith to a legalistic condemnation of what they refuse to understand, and I feel sorry that for all the Scriptural memorization many people like you claim, you still lack the eyes and the ears of what is clearly in front of you.
          One other thing: Moses appearing on Mount Tabor to Peter, James (son of Zebedee) and John the Apostle.  The Old Testament in Deuteronomy clearly speaks of the death of Moses. If, indeed, the dead remain so until the resurrection, he would not have appeared.

        • http://godsfingers.wordpress.com/ godsfingers

          _lawrenc1 godsfingers no one is denying God in the flesh, that was the promise. What is being discredited is your immaculate conception. I used to agree because I thought it meant God in man, then I found out that you proclaim Mary was born holy. Sorry, Paul & company would have referred to her as the holy mother then, but they didn’t, they referred to her as any other woman in the fellowship. And it’s this deception that makes your Magdeline statements discredited and a deception.

  • _lawrenc1

    One other thing: Tiberius did not totally loathe the Jews; yes, he did order them out of Rome unless the males 19 or older joined the Roman Army, but only after many early Christians were attempting to proselytizing them, Jews and Gentiles alike. This brought to surface long buried resentments between Romans and Jews, and for security purposes, Tiberius ordered them out. Considering many Jews held some prominence in Rome until that point, it is unfair to say he “loathed” the Jews.
    Perhaps the story is a legend; true it is not mentioned in the Bible, but unlike Bible onlyists, Orthodox do not discount outside sources of truth or tradition. Like a parable, it is used to reveal a deeper truth in its symbolism, and in this instance, it is used to reveal the truth that Christ resurrected, and I used it to reveal the TRUTH that “Easter Eggs” are NOT, repeat, NOT, pagan in origin, but have been used for thousands of years and for centuries before Christianity ever made it to the British Isles or Germany.