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Why Are We Bunny Bashing?

bunnyI have to laugh — I really do.  Each year I hear a variety of folks who condem innocent rabbits a place of exhile…all in the name of “protecting the name of our Christian Easter.”  What exactly is “our” Easter?  Perhaps knowing this information will keep us from bunny-bashing and keep us focused on where our hearts should be.

First and for most…for Heaven’s sake … let your child get gifts from the Easter bunny and hunt a few eggs, will ya?  I can promise you that your little one is not slapping Jesus in the face for frolocking through yards finding eggs that adults….errr….the Easter Bunny….only half-way hid in the first place.  It amazes me that there are any of us who will go out on a limb to shield our children from such horrbile bunnies and chocolate goodness because they may “miss the intent of Easter”.

May I be blunt?  May I be bold?  If they miss the meaning of Easter in the highest level we hold it as Christians….then you have failed to help them understand it.  To think that a bunny takes away from the sacrifice that our Lord and Saviour made is to say that that American Idol you watched last night – the radio you listened to this morning on the way to work – the newspaper or magazine you read…seperated you from being able to understand what we live each day for.

Why do we have “Easter” any way?  Why does a word that doesn’t even appear in the Bible have such “Biblical” importance?  “Easter” is derived from the Eastre, the Teutonic goddess of Spring.   Its a story that goes all the way back to the days of the Tower of Babel.  Nimrod – (rememeber the son of Noah that we all laughed at his name?) — Nimrod became like a “sun god” when he died…and his wife changed his name to “Baal”.  (An improvement).  His wife, Queen Semiramis, became regarded as the godess of fertility and was worhiped by many – including Easter.

Now the Queen had an illegitmate son named Tammuz.  Legend, in those days, have it that he was killed by a wild boar in the spring. 

Spring – now thats a different subject.  You see, we are already dealing with a lot of pagan rituals when we speak of many of our own “Christian” celebrations.  The pagans were BIG on celbrating seasons.  The solstices….especially huge!  (That has a lot to do with why we have lit Christmas trees..but thats a story a few months from now).   Spring was celebrated in a few ways by the pagans – especially when the new spring vegetation grew.

Remember Tammuz?  The legend had it that when he was killed – his mother’s tears resurrected him back…in the form of that new vegetation.  Early prophecies in Genesis had promised a saviour would come…and the Queen assured everyone the her son – was the saviour. 

So…what does this have to do with bunnies and eggs?  Glad you asked.  The bunny is a symbol of fertility.  (Can’t imagine why…we will digress from that discussion).  Another legend had it that another pagan queen was “hatched from an egg that fell into the Euphrates River. 

So, there ya have it…that is the origin of Easter.   So why do we associate with it?  Here’s the cool thing.  Somewhere down the road….good God-fearing believers starting thinking “ya know…we can reach out to this pagans if we start having some “celebrations” of our own!”  They even utilized some of the same pagan customs (bobbing for apples at Halloween, placing candles in trees around Christmas) to “entice” the pagans to join their celebrations.   You know what?  It worked!  …and it still works today.

Instead of discouraging your child from partaking in these types of activities (and it is, admittedly your presonal choice), try finding someone that you can encourage to join you at church this Sunday.  There was a study done by the Baptist General Convention in Oklahoma that found that, out of all folks polled who were unchurched, and overwhelming majority said that they would go to church — if they were simply invited.

Someone’s name probably popped into your head – who was it?  Who do you know that you can ask to go to church with you?  Who’s life can you impact by what  started out as a pagan celebration?