Is Sarah Palin A Christmas Tree Idolator?

This post isn’t about Sara Palin, it’s about biblical illiteracy. Joy Reid is filling in for Ed Schultz the day after Christmas and is calling Palin out for hypocrisy regarding Christmas trees. She (mistakenly) reads Jeremiah 10:10 and draws the conclusion that Christmas trees are unbiblical.

For one thing, that wasn’t Jeremiah 10:10, but 10:3-5. It seems as if she delegates the research to someone else. If you’re going to make a tongue-in-cheek attack on someone you should probably pay attention to detail so you don’t look dumb.

The main problem, though, is that her interpretation is flawed. God is encouraging His people not to be afraid of their idolatrous enemies. The false gods cannot do anything to them because they are not real and have no power.

There are Christians who object to the whole practice involving Christmas trees because of their pagan connections but it is impossible to connect the practice with the idol worship described in Jeremiah 10. The idolators in the text cut down the trees to get the wood which they would fashion into all kinds of idols and decorate it with gold, silver, etc. The Christmas tree is a symbol because it is green even in the winter. That’s the way God created it so Christians should have no problem using it to express biblical truths simply because pagans pour their own meaning into it.

My impression is that she is cherry-picking verses in order to criticize Palin. Whatever the reason, she is reading something foreign into the text, which is called eisegesis. We want to draw the meaning out of the text (exegesis) in order to understand what we are reading. We certainly don’t want to use the text as a pretext to advance an agenda or preserve our prejudices.

Those who abuse the scriptures, in my belief, will face an especially harsh judgment. It is a very severe responsibility to handle the word of God that brings with it accountability. We want to make sure that we have all the tools we need to use it effectively. As Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3 the proper understanding of the word will help us fulfill our ultimate purpose in life.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Advertisements