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What Christians Should Know About Halloween
The Gospel Coalition ^ | 31 October 2013 | Justin Holcomb

Posted on 10/31/2013 10:10:25 AM PDT by Gamecock

Halloween has become the second highest-grossing commercial holiday after Christmas. But this festive day also carries a lot of baggage. Scholars Ralph and Adelin Linton write:

Among all the festivals which we celebrate today, few have histories stranger than that of Halloween. It is the eve of All Hallows—or Hallowmas or All Saints' Day—and as such it is one of the most solemn festivals of the church. At the same time, it commemorates beings and rites with which the church has always been at war. It is the night when ghosts walk and fairies and goblins are abroad. . . . We cannot understand this curious mixture unless we go back into history and unravel the threads from which the present holiday pattern has been woven.

The brief account seeks to vindicate Halloween from its "Satanic" and barbaric origins. While the dark side of Halloween may have been overemphasized, Christians must still acknowledge that the holiday originated (at least) in pagan and mythical practices. The extent to which such practices can be categories as "Satanic" is a debate of semantics. Is Roman mythology "Satanic"? Perhaps, or perhaps not.

Regardless, the origin of Halloween is certainly in the realm of non-Christian spiritualism. As such, Christians should be careful in their approach to Halloween.

Halloween for Christians

Christians haven't always been sure what to do with this holiday of apparently pagan origins. Is it unredeemable, such that any Christian participating in the holiday will necessarily compromise their faith? Is it something Christians can participate in as a cultural celebration with no religious ramifications? Or is there the opportunity for Christians to emphasize certain aspects of our own faith within the holiday?

1. Should Christians renounce Halloween as "the Devil's day"?

One of the most famous recent examples of Christian interaction with Halloween comes from Pat Robertson, who called Halloween the "festival of the Devil." As such, he claimed that participating in Halloween is wrong for Christians.

In renouncing this holiday outright, Robertson fails to ask the following question: To what extent does something's evolution from pagan roots entail that its present practice is tainted? As Albert Mohler notes, there's been a shift from pagan ritual to merely commercial fascination with the dark side. Robertson misses that for most people in America, Halloween is about candy. A quarter of all candy sold annually in the United States is for Halloween night! Granted, dressing up as witches and goblins can be a tricky issue, but to think that putting on a scary mask or makeup opens you up to the dark side is a bit naïve.

In addition, there are two built-in problems with a blanket-rejection position. First, those who insist on rejecting certain holidays aren't being consistent. Should we reject other holidays because there's a propensity toward excess? In other words, if people are inclined toward gluttony on Thanksgiving or Christmas, shouldn't those holidays be renounced as well? After all, gluttony is a sin. Second, many times the reject position assumes the evil of the extrinsic world will taint the faith of a Christian. But Jesus says the exact opposite (Mark 7:21-23). The fruit of our lives (whether in holiness or sin) is always inextricably tied to the root of our hearts. If our hearts are prone toward sin in certain ways, we will find a way to sin. Sin indeed corrupts, but the sin is not so much "out there in the world" as is in the heart of every person. The reject position falsely assumes sin is mostly what we do rather than who we are.

2. Can Christians participate in Halloween wisely?

An informed understanding of the history of Halloween and the biblical freedom Christians have to engage cultural practices (1 Cor. 10:23-33) leads to the conclusion that we can follow our conscience in choosing how to approach this holiday.

Even so, how Christians ought to go about relating to or participating in Halloween is still a tricky subject. In order to navigate the waters successfully, one must always distinguish between the merely cultural aspects of Halloween and the religious aspects of the holiday. In the past the church has tried with varied results to subsume the religious aspects of Halloween by adding a church holiday. If we engage, care must be taken. There's a big difference between kids dressing up in cute costumes for candy and Mardi Gras-like Halloween parties, offensive costumes, and uninhibited excess. It's too simple, then, to make a blanket judgment to reject or accept Halloween as a whole. There certainly should be no pressure to participate.

For those still bothered by Halloween's historical association with evil spirits, Martin Luther has some advice on how to respond to the Devil: "The best way to drive out the Devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." Perhaps instead of fleeing the darkness in fear, we should view Halloween as an opportunity to mock the enemy whose power over us has been broken.


TOPICS: Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: christians; halloween; occult
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1 posted on 10/31/2013 10:10:25 AM PDT by Gamecock
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To: Gamecock
Check out the Brothers of John the Steadfast article, Redeeming Christian Holy Days: Halloween Resources pt. 1 for more information on the history of Halloween and the origins of All Saints' Day.
2 posted on 10/31/2013 10:17:47 AM PDT by Carl Vehse
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To: Gamecock

Pat Robertson? What more needs to be said?


3 posted on 10/31/2013 10:19:10 AM PDT by RoosterRedux (The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing -- Socrates)
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To: Gamecock

The name “Halloween” comes from the All Saints Day celebration of the early Christian church, a day set aside for the solemn remembrance of the martyrs. All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day, began the time of remembrance. “All Hallows Eve” was eventually contracted to “Hallow-e’en,” which became “Halloween.”

It may be grossly distorted, but it has Christian origins.


4 posted on 10/31/2013 10:19:17 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Gamecock

We have proof that ghouls exist.

Turn on the liberal-O-vision the look for videos of an obviously intellectually challenged skinny guy without a clue standing behind a presidential podium.


5 posted on 10/31/2013 10:21:29 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Gamecock

Halloween is now just a money holiday for retailers and a time for adults to act up and party, kids to play and get candy. nothing more


6 posted on 10/31/2013 10:22:28 AM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom ;Sarcasm is my bidness)
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To: Gamecock

Hand out Bible Tracts with candy.


7 posted on 10/31/2013 10:24:04 AM PDT by redleghunter
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To: al baby
nothing more

In my church, All Saint's Day is still remembered.

We read names aloud and pray for each member of our church that died in the last year.

8 posted on 10/31/2013 10:25:03 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Da Coyote
Turn on the liberal-O-vision the look for videos of an obviously intellectually challenged skinny guy without a clue standing behind a presidential podium.


9 posted on 10/31/2013 10:25:41 AM PDT by redleghunter
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To: Gamecock

Well pretty much every major holiday is a moderm amalgam of Christian and Pagan festivals. Back in the days when Christians were trying to convert the Pagans they discovered it was easier to appropriate and “Christianize” already existing pagan holidays than try to stamp them out entirely. Take Easter for example, which incorporates elements of the old pagan spring fertility festivals and Christmas was held at the same time pagans celebrated the winter solstice.


10 posted on 10/31/2013 10:29:04 AM PDT by apillar
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To: Gamecock

The article ignores the fact that demons are real, and they rejoice at Halloween when so many are allowing them access to their mental life. It’s not just a matter of following your own conscience. That is a copout in this case.


11 posted on 10/31/2013 10:31:15 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: al baby
a time for adults to act up and party

It's changed a lot, when I was a kid, Halloween was for kids.

12 posted on 10/31/2013 10:31:24 AM PDT by nascarnation (Frequently wrong but rarely in doubt....)
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To: firebrand

The article ignores the fact that demons are real, and they rejoice at Halloween when so many are allowing them access to their mental life. It’s not just a matter of following your own conscience. That is a copout in this case.

Good Lord. You are as bad as the anti-Christmas zealots. I suppose you complain about Christmas and Happy Holiday too. You can’t be that much of a hypocrite I hope. It is a damn day to have fun and nothing more. Get over yourself.


13 posted on 10/31/2013 10:37:58 AM PDT by napscoordinator ( Santorum-Bachmann 2016 for the future of the country!)
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To: Gamecock
In other words, if people are inclined toward gluttony on Thanksgiving or Christmas, shouldn't those holidays be renounced as well? After all, gluttony is a sin. Second, many times the reject position assumes the evil of the extrinsic world will taint the faith of a Christian.

The Puritans strongly denounced celebrating Christmas, and for years Thanksgiving wasn't celebrated in the South because it was thought to be a "Yankee" holiday.

14 posted on 10/31/2013 10:38:30 AM PDT by MuttTheHoople (Nothing is more savage and brutal than justifiably angry Americans. Don’t believe me? Ask the Germa)
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To: apillar; Gamecock
>> “Well pretty much every major holiday is a moderm amalgam of Christian and Pagan festivals.” <<

.
And this is exactly the practice that Yehova said is unacceptable.

Exd 23:24

Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.

15 posted on 10/31/2013 10:39:34 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: Gamecock

“Trick or treat” is a Wiccan pre-curse. You would be wise to toss some hard cash in their sacks.
Missus td and I are seeking sanctuary at Olive Garden. Or Walmart.


16 posted on 10/31/2013 10:41:37 AM PDT by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: All armed conservatives.)
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To: MuttTheHoople

“Christmas” is the worship of Mithra/Tammuz, on their mythical birth date. (which was the solstice at that time)

It has absolutely nothing to do with Yeshua, who was born at Sukkot in 3 BC.

Celebrating christmas is by definition a sin, since it violates Yehova’s commandments.


17 posted on 10/31/2013 10:45:03 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: al baby
Halloween is now just a money holiday for retailers and a time for adults to act up and party, kids to play and get candy. nothing more.

Do what I do, get out and talk to your neighbors. Check on the older ones, get to know the new ones.

18 posted on 10/31/2013 10:45:51 AM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: MuttTheHoople
Some of the anti-Halloween sentiments remind me of the H.L. Mencken quote:

"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
19 posted on 10/31/2013 10:48:20 AM PDT by needmorePaine
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To: needmorePaine

Agreed. Even on Facebook I see it too.


20 posted on 10/31/2013 10:50:06 AM PDT by darkangel82
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To: editor-surveyor

Where’s the ‘Aw, Geez’ guy when you need him. Yep, it’s a sin to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Ridiculous. How in the world could I be worshipping two mythical beings I have never heard of? Who cares if it is not the right date? It is a day set aside a long time ago to recognize and celebrate the birth of our Savior. Which is what we do.


21 posted on 10/31/2013 10:51:05 AM PDT by tnlibertarian (Shut 'er down and leave it.)
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To: needmorePaine

Today it’s “Liberalism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”


22 posted on 10/31/2013 10:52:15 AM PDT by MuttTheHoople (Nothing is more savage and brutal than justifiably angry Americans. Don’t believe me? Ask the Germa)
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To: napscoordinator

This is not about me. I felt called to give a word of warning. Heed it or not. Free will is fundamental to Christianity.

And no, I don’t feel that way about Christmas. The admonition that Jehovah’s Witnesses take so seriously was meant to warn people about festivals and pageants when they ignore the word of God in their daily life. It’s the second part of that that is important. If you show kindness to others as your rule of life, then when you celebrate the birth of the Messiah it is from the heart, and goes with the rest of your life. It is not just about the fun of the celebration itself.

My thoughts on this, anyway.


23 posted on 10/31/2013 10:54:10 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: MuttTheHoople

Yeah. I would add “and free” to that quote when it comes to liberalism


24 posted on 10/31/2013 10:55:08 AM PDT by needmorePaine
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To: thackney; shibumi

It’s Samhain, appropriated and renamed.

It’s the Celtic new year and the night when the veil between the worlds is thinnest.

It’s a LOT older than the church.

It begins at sunset tonight and ends at sunset tomorrow, hence November 1 getting thrown into the mix.


25 posted on 10/31/2013 10:57:53 AM PDT by Salamander (Blue Oyster Cult Will Be The Soundtrack For The Revolution.....)
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To: Gamecock

The only thing anybody really needs to know about Halloween is that it can be a lot of fun and people shouldn’t get so uptight about things. Especially not anybody that puts up a Christmas Tree (pagan roots) or decorates Easter Eggs (pagan roots).


26 posted on 10/31/2013 10:59:46 AM PDT by discostu (This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.)
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To: Gamecock

It’s a superstitious folk-corruption of a religious day. Mostly harmless, but the fixation on death, blood, and gore says there is something gravely wrong with some people.


27 posted on 10/31/2013 11:00:10 AM PDT by I want the USA back (Media: completely irresponsible traitors. Complicit in the destruction of our country.)
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To: thackney

Because this is the time of year when the dead can hear you through the veil.

It’s all pagan.


28 posted on 10/31/2013 11:00:39 AM PDT by Salamander (Blue Oyster Cult Will Be The Soundtrack For The Revolution.....)
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To: Salamander

The demons themselves are real. As in the Gospel. Why give them a free day pass, even if that day is arbitrary?


29 posted on 10/31/2013 11:05:58 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: Gamecock
If every Christian holiday that has at least some pagan roots and elements of customs is to be thrown out then there goes Christmas (Roman Saturnalia, Germanic/Norse Yule, and various Winter Solstice traditions) and Easter (Spring fertility - bunny rabbits and eggs, get it? And name probably derives from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre). In the case of Halloween, the Celtic New Year of Samhain predates - pun intended - any sort of celebration of All the Saints Combined.

The correlations in dates probably stem from the fact that getting pagans to understand and believe in Christ and even a Triune God was relatively easy compared with getting them to abandon their cherished holiday practices. So the Church accommodated and altered the associated holiday stories into Christian themes. Nobody is actually forced to celebrate these or any holidays, whatever their origins, and if they believe doing so is bowing to the Devil then they are certainly welcome to not partake.

30 posted on 10/31/2013 11:18:28 AM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: firebrand

We were discussing origins not doctrine.


31 posted on 10/31/2013 11:19:54 AM PDT by Salamander (Blue Oyster Cult Will Be The Soundtrack For The Revolution.....)
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To: katana

Yep.

:)


32 posted on 10/31/2013 11:21:19 AM PDT by Salamander (Blue Oyster Cult Will Be The Soundtrack For The Revolution.....)
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To: Salamander

All Saint’s Day started in the Christian Church, I believe that was before Christianity spread to the Celts.

Samhain is older, and Halloween today may carry traditions from Samhain, but I do not believe All Saint’s Day started with Samhain. I understand their origins to be separate.


33 posted on 10/31/2013 11:22:49 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: tnlibertarian

>> “Yep, it’s a sin to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Ridiculous.” <<

.
Great strawman!

Dercember 25 is NOT the birth date of our savior, even the past two popes admit that.

If you wish to celebrate Yeshua’s birth, His Father provided a way to do that; its called the Feast of Tabernacles, or more properly, Sukkot.

It occurs in the Biblical seventh month, which generally coincides with the latter part of September, and the early part of October. This year it was Sept 22-28.

>> “Who cares if it is not the right date?” <<

Yehova said that he cares, and if you are one of his, then you care. Simple, huh?

>> “Which is what we do” <<

.
Its not what Yeshua’s sheep do! (its what the lost do)


34 posted on 10/31/2013 11:28:41 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: thackney

I’m pecking replies on an iPhone so we’ll have to wait but my history is correct.

I tried to explain that the sunset to sunset observance of time accounts for “halloween” ending up two days for us and one day for them so All Saints got tacked on to take up the slack, as it were.


35 posted on 10/31/2013 11:30:26 AM PDT by Salamander (Blue Oyster Cult Will Be The Soundtrack For The Revolution.....)
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To: Salamander

I ignore Hallowe’en, Christmas and Easter...in the process, I save a LOT of money; which I’m going to need to pay for ObamaCare. :-)


36 posted on 10/31/2013 11:30:44 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Salamander; thackney; shibumi

>> “It begins at sunset tonight and ends at sunset tomorrow, hence November 1 getting thrown into the mix” <<

.
Biblically, all days begin at sunset


37 posted on 10/31/2013 11:33:26 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: Salamander

If Byzantine Christians started a celebratory feast of in rememberance of saints that had died, before they contacted the Celts, how did that happen?

I know I can be wrong on this, I’m not a great historian with lots of detailed reference. I’m looking to learn.


38 posted on 10/31/2013 11:34:52 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Gamecock

1. It’s fun.
2. It’s innocent.
3. Kids love it.
4. Adults love it.
5. Anyone who thinks religion is so weak as to be harmed by such a fun day is a fool.


39 posted on 10/31/2013 11:35:48 AM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off. -786 +969)
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To: who knows what evil?

:D


40 posted on 10/31/2013 11:36:12 AM PDT by Salamander (Blue Oyster Cult Will Be The Soundtrack For The Revolution.....)
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To: editor-surveyor

6:10 today, 6:09 tomorrow.

Celts did it too.

:)


41 posted on 10/31/2013 11:37:47 AM PDT by Salamander (Blue Oyster Cult Will Be The Soundtrack For The Revolution.....)
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To: Gamecock
The notion that we can mock Satan at Halloween is ridiculous.

Using that logic why don't we choose a day to dress up as child molesters to mock them too?

Satan is more powerful and more destructive than any child molester, yet anybody in their their right mind would recognize that dressing up as a child molester is bizarre, creepy, scary and insensitive behavior. Yet somehow many Christians have accepted the notion that it's perfectly okay to do this when it concerns the devil.

42 posted on 10/31/2013 11:39:02 AM PDT by DouglasKC
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To: thackney

The Romans had a lot of contact with the Celts long before the church got really rolling.

Did you know that London is actually Lugdunum and was a thriving place before the Romans popped in with their roads and plumbing?

The sacred stones, hot springs and groves were Celtic holy places before Romans even existed.

History gets rewritten...a lot.


43 posted on 10/31/2013 11:43:44 AM PDT by Salamander (Blue Oyster Cult Will Be The Soundtrack For The Revolution.....)
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To: CodeToad
1. It’s fun. 2. It’s innocent. 3. Kids love it. 4. Adults love it. 5. Anyone who thinks religion is so weak as to be harmed by such a fun day is a fool.

We have a winner.
44 posted on 10/31/2013 11:44:56 AM PDT by needmorePaine
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To: editor-surveyor
If you wish to celebrate Yeshua’s birth, His Father provided a way to do that; its called the Feast of Tabernacles, or more properly, Sukkot.

No, God gave it to the Jews to celebrate the harvest.

Yehova said that he cares

Show me where it says that God cares if I celebrate the birth of His Son on the actual day of the man-made calendar on which he was born. Besides, it may be more historically accurate to say that Jesus was born sometime around the time of Sukkot, but you don't know what day He was born on, either. Do you think God is concerned what day of the year you celebrate the birth of His Son? Or the fact that you celebrate it?

45 posted on 10/31/2013 11:50:22 AM PDT by tnlibertarian (Shut 'er down and leave it.)
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To: Salamander

So when it originally started as the first Sunday after Pentecost, and is still celebrated then by Orthodox...


46 posted on 10/31/2013 11:50:43 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: tnlibertarian

Perfect!! I love that you bring up the celebration of The Savior’s birth, then someone objects, whining “straw man” at the same time making up a calendar “argument” that you ALL READY dealt with, ignoring your point of celebrating The Savior’a coming. Talk about straw men!


47 posted on 10/31/2013 11:59:06 AM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: Gamecock

Like the December 25th Christmas, Halloween was established by the LATE Church, sometime after the 4th century, as a Christian purpose put to, and to compete with, already established local European festival days - in Halloween’s case, local harvest/end of summer festivals.

The accutrements of “All Saints Day” is of institutional church origins, not local customs of the original harvest festivals. However, depending on the area, many of the “end of summer” and “harvest” festivals, before and without Christianity, coincided with practices that believed that the souls of the dead return on one special night or day of the year, and those beliefs are ancient and predate Christianity and are found in cultures all over the world. “All Saints Day” was coined by the institutional church to try to supplant the original beliefs about the dead that held October 31/November 1st as that special night/day each year when the souls of the dead returned - briefly.

So again, we have a case of the institutional church vying for attention and respect and following, within cultures, by creating its own practices to compete with already established local festivals.

In the case of Halloween though, it never seemed to have greatly fulfilled the hopes for it that the institutional church wanted for itself - Halloween as another “sacred” day.


48 posted on 10/31/2013 12:14:56 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: Gamecock

The only victory that Christain culture has had over the pagan origins of Halloweeen (origins from before the instiutional church gave it that title) is not that Christians repsectfully and liturgically celebrate “All Saints Day”, but the entire day, including its “dark side” is not taken seriously by most people.

The dead are neither greatly celebrated or feared and being “fightened” arrives via pranks and manufactured scare tactics and not real beliefs in “the walking dead” or fairies or ghosts, nor a belief that naming it “All Saints Day” actually made it more religious - NOT.


49 posted on 10/31/2013 12:25:48 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: I want the USA back
but the fixation on death, blood, and gore says there is something gravely wrong with some people.


50 posted on 10/31/2013 12:37:35 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (Make sure you have removed the kleenex from your pockets before doing laundry)
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