Mike Seate, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, doesn’t like people sharing their faith with him in a public place. He doesn’t want a stranger to pray for him. He also feels he has found the perfect example to prove the hypocrisy of Christians when it comes to talking about their beliefs, too bad for him, he hasn’t.
To Seate, an atheist, those instances he has encounted with Christians are essentially the same as three Satanists teenagers going into one church and screaming profanities at members, then going to another church and screaming obsenities and frightening a group of kids.
He sets up his final point – the hypocrisy of Christians by exaggerating his own experiences with “religious zealot[s]” and downplaying the encounters of those in the church with the Satanist teens.
Here’s how Seate describes the events:
According to the state police, the youths entered the St. Andrews Lutheran church April 2 and began shouting at the flock and displaying Satanic symbols. The trio must have felt they were on to something, so they headed over to the nearby All Saints Church where they questioned the faith of a bunch of 7- to 12-year-olds waiting in line for confession.
An off-duty state trooper who attends services at All Saints followed the juveniles out to their car, took information from them and later filed a complaint against the youths. The teens face counts of disorderly conduct, harassment and stalking.
There is nothing particularly false about his account, but here is how the actual news story reads:
After entering All Saint’s, Novak said the teens waited in silence about 10 minutes. The upside-down crosses painted on their faces and devilish materials they carried said enough, especially to a group of children under 10, some as young as 6 or 7.
“They were holding their books for all the world to see. They wanted us to see a black book with red letters that said, ‘satanic,’ ” Novak said. “Some of the girls (attending confessional) were crying.
“I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know their purpose. But when my group got up to give confessions, they were standing in the way.”
Novak said she asked them to step aside, so the children could get past.
That sparked a string of profanities and obscenities from the two teens inside the church. Their verbal assault continued until they were apprehended by state police.
That was their second stop of the day, before that the trio went inside another church.
DeLuca said the teens first went to St. Andrews Lutheran Church on Main Street, where they stood quietly in the back for about 20 minutes before unleashing a tirade of profanities at the assembled congregation.
So, someone asks Seate if they can pray for his continued success as a writer and he equates that with children at church being cursed at by Satanists? Since we are comparing things, why don’t we compare Seate’s reaction – writing a column calling those he disagrees with “goofy,” “zealot,” “fanatical,” “guerrilla evangelists,” “religious fanatics,” “obnoxious,” and “pushy” – to the reaction of the church members.
Novak told the frightened and confused third-, fourth- and fifth-graders in her Children’s Catechetical Development class that the teenage suspects need to be shown God’s love.
“I said, ‘We need to say an extra special prayer for them,’ ” she said.
The Rev. Larry Hoover, pastor at St. Andrews, said his congregation seems more concerned about the teenagers than the disturbance.
Parishioners were about to receive Communion when the teens were ushered into the church’s narthex and then started spouting obscenities.
“We are planning to meet and discuss this,” Hoover said. “But, I don’t think people have reacted in anger.
“I think what’s happening in the whole community is a feeling of compassion. People are wondering: How can we help them?”
Sam, sent me this story wondering what I thought. Here what I think – I will fight for the right of Satanists to gather and worship, as sickening and horrific as that is to me. They have the right to do that (as long as it does not move into harming others or their possessions). I will fight for their right to debate with me in a public place (I would actually encourage them to do that). However, they do not have the right to disrupte a church service because they disagree with it. There’s a little thing called private property.
Seate says that Christians have the law on their side, that’s why they are so pushy, and that’s why these teens “are facing misdemeanor charges for trying to convert Christians into Satanists.” Show me where the teenagers were trying to convert someone. He may have a point if the teenagers went into the church and wanted to debate members and prove why Satanism is right, but they merely wanted to scare people and scream obsenities. He would have a better point if Christians went into a Satanist gathering and started screaming at them.
Seate and other non-Christians need to understand something about Christianity. We don’t get any brownie points on Sunday if we talked with someone about our faith. Most of us are too scared to even talk about it because we don’t want to offend someone else. We don’t get a discount on our tithes if we pray with a unbeliever.
While you may not appreciate or understand it, the only reason why a Christian shares their faith with you is because they love you. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to have a fulfilling life here and to have fellowship with God after I die. I want other people to experience the same joy, peace, love, hope, etc. that I have found in the person of Jesus. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I would feel horrible if I didn’t tell you about that.
Even those who are not Christians can understand this concept. Think about the most important thing in your life, be it your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, child, whatever. When you are in a conversation with someone for very long, eventually you want to tell them about that great thing in your life. You talk about those thing about which you are passionate. It just flows out. It is the same way (only more) with Christians and Jesus.
I know Seate (and Sam) may tire of Christians being overly aggresive when talking about their faith. Some of us do it in a poor and even disrespectful way. But just as I tend to give people a pass when they drone on and on about their children, give the pushy Christian the benefit of the doubt. He’s not in your house, screaming at and cursing your family. He’s just trying to share with you the best thing he’s ever found.