Gates featured in secular Arkansas holiday display

From the Microsoft company blog.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is one of several “freethinkers” featured in a secular holiday display that will be erected at the Arkansas state capitol.



A federal judge on Monday said the display, built by the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, can be put up next to a traditional Christian nativity scene already at the Little Rock capitol. The society sued last week after Arkansas Secretary of State Charlie Daniels rejected the proposed display, saying it wasn’t consistent with other displays at the capitol.

The society’s president, Tod Billings, told that he and the other members chose Gates because of a 1997 Time magazine piece about the Microsoft co-founder.

“Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient,” Gates told Time back then. “There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”

The display, which stands 8 feet tall, also features Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson, Warren Buffett, John Lennon, George Carlin and many other “freethinkers.”

Gates featured in secular Arkansas holiday display.

First of all, I’m glad the Freethinkers will have a display on the Arkansas state capitol grounds this holiday season. Government should never pick and chose which belief systems it will favor over others.

Yeah, Bill. You’re right. Religion is not very efficient. Neither is American government, love and romance, raising children, developing NFL football players or training neurosurgeons.

Christians understand that, after the creation period depicted in Genesis one, God sat down enthroned as ruler of the universe. He “rested” on the seventh day. In other words, God sanctified his gift of time. Christians cheerfully accept that gift.

Mr. Gates is to be congratulated on his many acts of generosity and he deserves to be treated gently because of his tremendous humanitarian instincts. Nonetheless, none of us are the masters of our own lives and souls.

The Sovereign God has put his hand on Bill Gates and decreed that he should have great wealth. Gates has benefited from the happy circumstance of divine mercy and he has been kind in dispensing his share of the world’s goods.

But God owns everything. He commands our love and worship. He desires to share his eternal kingdom with fallen men and the Eternal Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, took on human flesh to secure our salvation and right standing with God.

God says, “trust me.” Give me a stinkin’ day and I will take care of you. It’s very inefficient. God intends for us to take some time off and enjoy friendship with him. Bill Gates is going to be a great saint when he “gets it.”

About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

One Response to Gates featured in secular Arkansas holiday display

  1. arkstfan says:

    I may be one of the few regular church attenders in the state not upset about the freethinker display, simply because the law is the law. I don’t appreciate the politically motivated effort to oppose the display when the law was so clear.

    That said, I am a bit disappointed in the name selection criteria. One stray quote that actually says nothing about Gates and whatever faith he may or may not have is a peculiar selection criteria.

    Giving such a massive fortune away as Gates and his wife have done, I can see that being a trait worthy of honor. The broad acceptance of his MS-DOS and later Apple rip-off Windows weren’t dependent on manufacturer and was a major factor in moving us to a world of affordable computing power.

    One quote of no particular import is a weak selection basis and seems like a sportswriter casting his hall of fame vote for the friendly and genial yet basically average player over the hard to work with superstar.

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