Pastor Mark Baker, of Harvest Baptist Church in Ovid, Colorado, just lost his wife Linda due to cancer. One of Linda’s last requests was that her tombstone would be inscribed with a Christian Ichthus fish with name of Jesus in the center. Pastor Baker relayed Linda’s request to Shawn Rewoldt, the director of the city cemetery in Sterling, Colorado. To the pastor’s surprise, Rewoldt told him that the Ichthus fish would be okay, but that he would not approve of the inscription of Jesus’ name on the tombstone.
When Pastor Baker and his family asked why, Rewoldt first told them that it wouldn’t fit, but the family didn’t buy that excuse and pressed him for the real reason. Eventually, Rewoldt admitted that he wouldn’t approve of having ‘Jesus’ inscribed on the tombstone was that he believed it might offend others.
Stacy Adams, the Baker’s daughter-in-law described what happened, saying:
“At first they told us it wouldn’t fit, but after we kept pushing them, the cemetery director told us that it might offend somebody. They weren’t going to allow it.”
Adams then spoke about the cemetery, saying:
“There are full Scriptures everywhere you look. You can’t walk two feet without tripping over them.”
The Baker family says that Rewoldt refused to budge, even when they asked him if he would approve of a family wanting to put a swastika on a tombstone. Since the cemetery belonged to the city, the Baker family took their request to Joe Kiolbasa, City Manager, who told the family that he would confer with the city’s legal department. Adams described what happened:
“He refused to work with us. He said he would have to take it to the city attorney. They were being difficult.”
Not knowing where to turn to next, the family decided to post their story on Facebook. The story spread and a number of people began contacting local media and the city. Not long afterwards, Kiolbasa contacted the Baker family to inform them that Rewoldt had made an error in judgement. He told reporters:
“This gentleman thought it may have been objectionable to someone because of the Christian connotation. It has been corrected.”
Adams responded to the City Manager’s statement, saying that it disturbs her and she is so grieved that:
“People are so fearful of one name that they would go to such lengths to try and eliminate it.”
“The government shouldn’t tell us what to think, what to say and what to believe. In their misguided attempts to offend no one, they ended up offending many.”
Stacy Adams hit the nail on the head when she said that people are so afraid of offending one person that they end up offending many people. However, our courts and politicians have said it’s okay to offend millions of Christians, but you can’t offend one homosexual or one Muslim or one illegal alien. Let one atheist complain that they are offended and a whole number of Christians will have their rights trampled on and are then offended, but that doesn’t matter anymore.
Why doesn’t it matter? Because Christians have been too quiet and passive over the past 50 years and have allowed the screaming minorities get their way at the cost of our Christian freedom. Christians didn’t mob the Supreme Court in the 1960s when we lost our rights to pray, read the Bible and talk about God and Jesus in the classroom or any government property. Christians didn’t storm Congress or the White House when homosexuals were given more special privileges than normal Americans have. Christians didn’t make their voices known when they were told that they couldn’t pray at football games or when it was learned that the same public schools were teaching all about Islam, praying to Allah and allowing special proms for Muslim girls. Rev. Jerry Falwell was right when he referred to America’s Christians as the Silent Majority and it is that silence that has allowed the open persecution of Christianity in America today.
I’m glad the Baker family spoke up and made their voices heard, even if they had to turn to social media. I just wish more Christians would start standing up for their faith and not allow others to strip them of their religious rights. I’m certain if Christians became as vocal and aggressive as gay rights activists, Muslims and illegal aliens are that we could regain our rights and freedoms. It’s time to stand up and be heard or lie down and be walked on. What’s your choice?