I wrote an article recently exploring the 7 reasons why I think that people should let their kids dress up and enjoy Halloween. (You can read it here if you haven’t.)
I’m not the only person that things this way, nor am I the only blogger that has stated an opinion on this controversial holiday. But as soon as I posted it, someone made sure that I knew that I was encouraging all the worst things about Halloween with a simple tweet.
Participation = Endorsement
Are they right?
Well, let’s talk about this.
I am or will be participating in Halloween. My kids might get dressed up. We might go out for candy. We may even carve a pumpkin with a funny smile and giant eyes. So, in that way, yes, I am participating in Halloween, and endorsing it.
But does that mean I endorse everything about Halloween?
Let’s switch gears and see if this is true for other holiday.s
What about Christmas?
I celebrate Christmas. I plan on seeing my family. I’ll buy presents for my kids and my wife. We’ll likely have a big Christmas meal. I’ll participate and endorse Christmas…but what about the Roman celebration of Saturnalia? The week of lawlessness and debauchery; am I participating and endorsing that?
Because that is a part of the Christmas history. That is part of what made Christmas a holiday in the first place. It could be argued that Saturnalia is more a part Christmas than Jesus’ birth, which has no actual connection to December 25.
Does the existence of a pagan or ungodly aspect of a holiday mean that I participate in it and endorse it?
What about Easter?
I celebrate Easter. Again, there will be visiting with family. Another big meal, probably with ham, will be enjoyed. And there is a chance that there maybe an Easter egg hunt. It is a tradition my parents had for my brothers and I, and a tradition I might pass on to my kids. So, yes, I’ll participate and endorse Easter…but what about the worship of Eastra, the Saxon goddess of spring? Will I bring her homepage and sacrifice?
That is where Easter, the holiday we Christians celebrate, finds it’s roots. Not in the resurrection of Jesus, though we celebrate that at the same time. This old European ritual was something before the Church commandeered the holiday in the 8th century.
So, by participating in Christmas and Easter, am I actively endorsing pagan worship?
No. There may be people in the world that still celebrate the worship of Eastra and Saturnalia when I am celebrating Easter and Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that I am for or endorsing or encouraging what they are doing.
There is no desire in me or in the actions I am taking to worship Satan, or praise Beelzebub, or dance around a cauldron with witches. There is no endorsement of any kind in what I wrote, or what I am doing, towards the dark and evil side of Halloween. Hopefully when someone is actually reading my article, you would see that. Hopefully you will understand what my motives are, and what aspects of Halloween I am participating and endorsing.
No, participation does not equal endorsement.
Could it? For some people, it could. But not for me.
What is dangerous about the blanket statement “Participation = Endorsement” is that it can quickly divided brothers and sisters in Christ, holding different opinions on a gray matter, into two groups, “the Holy Ones with the right opinion” and “those that have gone astray”.
That isn’t right. And in that, I will have no part.
Participation does not equal endorsement. Not in the case Christmas or Easter, and not in the case of Halloween for me.
If you find yourself wanting to make a blanket statement like “Participation = Endorsement”, I would kindly ask that you have a conversation. Talk to someone about what they are doing and why. Ask for more specifics. Find out their motives. See what they are participating in and endorsing.