Government Sponsored Religion!
The hard-boiling and dyeing of eggs and the hiding and seeking of those eggs all have to do with Pagan celebrations of fertility. "Easter" seems to have originated from the goddess Astarte. So how much is the government spending on this annual Pagan festival?
No, really, I'd like to know how much. I can tell you the tickets are handed out for free and that for this year's festivities the tickets were only available on-line. My guess is that taxpayers are picking up the tab for the port-a-pottys, extra security, some extra groundswork on the South Lawn of the White House, etc.
Now, maybe the farm from which the White House Christmas Trees are delivered picks up some or all of the costs of shipping and set up. But, consider the money spent on electricity, maintenance of the tree (don't want those needles drying up), decoration and un-decoration (staff to do this instead of, well, whatever that staff would be doing instead) and everything else I cannot think of associated with those trees.
Here, the link to this tradition and the Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice and the Yule tree gets a little fuzzy. To be fair, perhaps the costs associated with this tradition should be split between the Pagans and Christians 50/50.
Congress? As this ".gov" brochure says, their unity with religion starts from this country's very beginnings! I would say we'd never even have a prayer of dividing these two institutions, but even I try to steer clear of that sort of cornball wordplay.
Oh . . . .
So, it's not really keeping religion and government separate that should concern us - - the fix is in on that already. The concern is how to keep our country's laws from turning into some version of Sharia law. Interestingly, a 2007 University of Maryland poll indicated:
. . more than 60 percent of the populations in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia responded that democracy was a good way to govern their respective countries, while at the same time, an average of 71 percent agreed with requiring 'strict application of (sharia) law in every Islamic country.'Comparing this to what is happening here, I found an article from 2004 which talks about American's willingness to do something similar to our country's laws -- namely, establish Christianity as the official religion (and more of religious slant to new legislation would surely follow). Though, having 32% of respondents in favor of this is not much about which to get worked up.
As long as "faith-based" organizations, our government and our citizens agree to help those in our country who are in need and we can come to some consensus on how that should be accomplished, I have a really tough time mustering any great concern.
However, we all need to be ready and willing to fence in this enmeshing of two of any social gathering's biggest taboos -- government and religion. My hope is that we have the tools we need to make this happen before some type of Bible-based laws are enacted. Though, I have to admit, it might be interesting to see how some would handle the laws described in Exodus 23:1-9 or, yikes!, all of Exodus 21.