February 19 Event in Vancouver Will Delve Into Question
of Whether Christianity Can Cause Immoral Behavior
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Troopers in South Carolina once had the opportunity to comfort those who were grieving after loved ones were killed in traffic accidents by offering them a booklet with words of hope.
But no longer.
According to reports from the Grand Haven Tribune, Christian Post and Christian Daily, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety is halting the distribution of “A Time to Grieve” due to a letter from an atheist woman who engaged the American Humanist Association (AHA) to file a complaint on her behalf when she received the booklet after her father died in a car crash this fall.
Religion and culture expert, national radio host and author Dr. Alex McFarland (www.AlexMcFarland.com) points to the news as yet another example of the de-Christianization of America, especially as he prepares to debate American Atheists president David Silverman in Vancouver, Canada, on Feb. 19.
AHA claims the book violates the First Amendment because it promotes the Christian faith by including passages from the Bible, such as Psalms 6:2-3, which reads, “Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long?” The book also includes a chapter called, “If God Seems Far Away.”
“What a tragic commentary on the state of our society, when our public servants are limited in their desire to reach out and offer comfort to those experiencing deep and painful loss,” McFarland said. “The truth is that only Christ can offer renewal and restoration when we are at our lowest. Nothing of this world can bring the hope that Jesus can—not money, fame, power, drugs, alcohol, knowledge or celebrity. It is sad that people in South Carolina will not experience the peace of God when they need it most—all because of one misguided and empty soul—and I pray they will find comfort from the Lord in another way.”
AHA’s legal director said the distribution of the booklet “is a clear establishment-clause violation.” A spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety said the complaint is the only known one the agency has received about the book. The dust-up, she said, is what caused the state agency to reconsider sending the book, adding that “the books were chosen because they have helpful information about coping with a loss and what to expect from the grieving process especially during that difficult first year.”
McFarland and Silverman have debated over issues of faith several times before, and this upcoming event will delve into an in-depth discussion about whether Christianity can cause immoral behavior. The two-hour debate is set for 8 p.m. PT on Feb. 19 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia, 6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver.
“I have debated David Silverman many times and call him a friend,” McFarland said. “But without Christ, we are lost. And only through Him can we even hope to live a life that is moral and pleasing to the Savior. Now more than ever, our world needs Jesus so we can live as Christ instructed us and according to the plan He has for our lives.”
Silverman is president of the American Atheists and has appeared on many news programs to voice his opinions on religion. Tickets for the riveting intellectual conversation that examines one of society’s most controversial topics start at $16 from Pangburn Philosophy. Learn more here.
McFarland’s new blog at www.AlexMcFarland.com features posts such as “5 Strategies for Reaching Skeptics,” “Pitch These 9 Fallacies Before Making Moral Choices” and “Don’t Let Our Kids Be Eaten by Lions.” Read more here.
Also serving as Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University (www.ngu.edu) in Greenville, S.C., McFarland is the author of “Stand Strong America,” “The God You Thought You Knew: Exposing the 10 Biggest Myths About Christianity,” “10 Questions Every Christian Must Answer,” “10 Issues that Divide Christians,” “10 Answers for Skeptics” and the “Stand” series of devotions for teens. McFarland is an expert in the field of apologetics—the practice of defending the Christian faith in a world where faith in Christ is plummeting at alarming rates.
McFarland has spent years working with young people and takes their questions to heart. He has preached in more than 1,300 churches and has been featured at conferences such as the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Focus on the Family’s “Big Dig” and California’s “Spirit West Coast,” sharing the platform with Chuck Colson, Eric Metaxas, Josh McDowell and others.
Part evangelist, part apologist, part educator and part broadcaster, McFarland focuses on communicating the message of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. He co-hosts the daily, live radio program “Exploring the Word” on American Family Radio’s Talk Network, heard on more than 125 stations across the country, and the weekly television show “Viral Truth,” airing on the National Religious Broadcasters Network, which he co-hosts with Jason Jimenez.
For more information on Dr. Alex McFarland, visit www.AlexMcFarland.com or follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @AlexMcFarland.
To book Dr. Alex McFarland for interviews, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.