If you want any proof that Americans are living in a post-Christian era, you need look no further than Highlands Ranch, Colorado, one of the largest Homeowners Associations in America. Almost 100,000 people live here, and tonight I am dying in shame over the gutlessness of this community.
For years, Highlands Ranch has collected Christmas toys for needy children across the world. Among those organizations sponsoring the toy drive are Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child.
But the American Humanist Association, an atheist group, has sent a cease and desist letter to the school district saying that allowing Christmas toys to be collected on its properties is unconstitutional and if it doesn’t stop immediately the atheists will file a lawsuit. It seems that donations are being left at a curbside which may or may not be on school property.
The schools, fearful of the cost of litigation with the atheists, are shutting down the toy drive.
As I sit here at my desk, my blood pressure high as a kite, I’m devestated by the reality that the same threatening letter would not have been sent if the toys were being collected by al Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, al Fatah, or for that matter the Yakusa. I couldn’t care less if donations were collected at that curbside for tsunami or earthquake-hit areas by the Salvation Army, the Mormon Church, Scientology, or the Purple People Eater Society.
Atheist organizations, of course, have the right to threaten lawsuits because they’re offended by the revolting thought of a Christian organization collecting toys for kids. But to see one of the richest homeowners associations in the country cowering over the thought of challenging this group in court just nauseates me.
The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…..” That’s all! There’s no question the court, in recent years, has interpreted that wording to ban certain expressions of religion on public property.
But if the gutless Highlands Ranch Homeowners Association and this even more gutless school district asked for ten bucks per household to fight this tiny atheist organization, and sued for damages against this group for trying to stifle their rights to collect toys for needy kids, at least we’d get a clearer reading from the Court on what the First Amendment really says.
Highlands Ranch is not a place where I’d like to live.