Point of Reference

AFA – Should Congress pass a law making BC/AD the official method of dating time?

I’ve “mentioned”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/?p=38 before how I believe that Christians have a bad habit of picking their political battles unwisely. I actually removed myself from the AFA(American Family Assocation) mailing list because of this. Most of the email I was receiving from this list pertained to issues that I felt were gross over-reactions to pretty trivial issues.

Periodically, some of their mailings still make it to my inbox via forwards from other people I know. I was actually a little bit irked about the one that arrived this morning. “Allegedly”:http://www.afa.net/petitions/bcad/takesurvey.asp, the Kentucky Board of Education has voted to replace the traditional BC/AD date system with the newer secular system of BCE(Before Common Era)/CE. This sort of move would not surprise me much, since I’ve heard talk before of removing the current system. ((Supposedly, BC and AD are offensive to certain people groups and harmful to society at large because of its foundation and basis in Christianity, a claim that I find to be dubious, at best.))

What troubles me the most about this AFA survey is that it provides absolutely no external sources or information, other than what information they provide on their website. There are no links to news articles or official documents relating to this alleged decision. The vote may have been made, but even a Google search on the topic has picked up no information whatsoever. All I have to go on here is the AFA’s word that this decision has been made. So, my first big problem here is that there is no way to validate this bit of news.

The second big problem I have with this survey is the suggestion that Congress pass legislation to keep the BC/AD dating system as the national standard, which would effectively countermand any state decisions that would opt for the secular BCE/CE system. And here we see why I believe we as Christians typically pick our political battles unwisely. The rationale for this suggestion?

bq. It also opens the door for the ACLU to find a liberal activist judge who will forcefully remove the use of BC and AD. The ACLU types will claim that the use of BC and AD are a violation of the First Amendment because it dates history based on the birth of Christ.

I’m sorry, but this smacks of irrational panic to me. The question I would pose is this – what possible impact could even this _possible_ future outcome have on the practice of my own faith? Switching from a BC/AD system to a BCE/CE system does not change the fact that Christ was born about 2000 years ago, and it does not remove my right to openly practice my faith (nor do I see any way in which this decision could potentially be used to strip me of that right). And even the AFA survey states that this system will be _added to_ the current one. It won’t simply replace it.

Personally, I don’t see how this issue will affect anything in our daily lives. The current system used as a dividing line in historical dates is all but meaningless now as it is. Very, very few people think about a date containing either BC or AD and instantly think, “Oh! This happened this-many years before/after the birth of Christ!” It’s merely a reference to a particular point in history that gives us some way to mark the passage of time. I highly doubt that replacing it with a new one will have _that_ huge of an effect on the way we do business. ((For the record, I voted ‘no’ on the survey and managed to do so without including any personal information that would get me back on their mailing list.))

One thought on “Point of Reference”

  1. Not to sound like a ditto-head (as per my recent comments agreeing with your take on blind links and foul language) lol – but I’m with you on this AFA non-issue as well. Those in the scholarly world already use BCE and CE as designations for Before the Common Era and Common Era. And those that use AD typically use it wrong – as in 2006 AD. Today’s date is actually 18 April AD 2006 (AD standing for Anno Domini – Latin for “In the Year of the Lord” – and comes before the year, not after). Cheers, lgp

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