Tyrades! By Danny Tyree

As Easter approaches, I am more than a little dismayed by some of the mistaken notions circulating in the nation’s Sunday schools.

The name “Easter Island” indeed arose from the fact that the island’s first recorded European visitor (Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen) encountered it on Easter Sunday 1722. It did not derive from the notion that Roggeveen told his crew, “We’re just stopping to use the restroom. One Peep out of anybody and no TV tonight.”

Jeff Parker / Florida Today (click to view more Easter cartoons)

And the date of the movable holiday Easter was determined long ago by theologians diligently calculating Passovers and full moons and vernal equinoxes. It was not a case of one cleric announcing, “Hey, my parents are out of town that weekend!”

But can we really blame our youth? Adults have allowed too much of a mixing of the sacred and profane in the observance of Holy Week. 21st century man is now more interested in the debt ceiling than in the Sistine Chapel ceiling. At the turn of the millennium there was a brief resurgence of spirituality, but today if one raises the question “What Would Jesus Do?,” the knee-jerk response is “Uh, start by eating the EARS of the chocolate bunny first??” Try sharing the Good News with the fellow in the next pew (the guy who looks vaguely familiar from Christmas service) and you’re liable to get a response of, “Sure, sure, Jesus won the Victory Over Death, but what I wanna know is WHAT WAS THE POINT SPREAD????”

I must admit that the problem has been going on for some time. Ages ago, the church blended the celebration of the Resurrection with pagan elements to appeal to a wider audience. The church has always had a knack for finding fixer-uppers among pagan rituals. Some have just been more challenging than others. (“Uh, the Feastl of Mud-Wrestling Midget Transvestites From Mars? We’ll need to add some comfy pews and a collection plate and…”)

Generations of churchgoers have gotten all dressed up in brand spanking new clothes for Easter services, ostensibly to show reverence for God and the Messiah, but hey, it wouldn’t hurt if Elverna Bradshaw got a load of your duds, too, right? The nation’s mommas must have the idea that J.C. Penney covers a multitude of sins. I guess they picture the Almighty grousing, “I had fire and brimstone in mind, but Joe sure does look good in seersucker.” (All of this while the angelic choir blasts out ZZ Top’s “Every Deity’s Crazy ‘bout A Sharp Dressed Man” in the background.)

Even the secular elements of Easter are helpless before political correctness. I understand that in the works is a revised ditty that starts “Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin’ down the bunny trail…which was carved out of territory stolen from indigenous peoples…” And egg dyeing contests have been delayed as Planned Parenthood representatives go around to the nation’s hens counseling, “Here are some pamphlets to let you know you have OPTIONS…”

Still, Easter is all about hope and faith. I trust that when faced with the image of the Empty Tomb, our nation’s leaders will come to the same humbling realization: “Hey, we need a tax on Empty Tombs!”

*Sigh* My blood pressure is risen. It is risen indeed.

©2011 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns, please email Cari Dawson Bartley at [email protected] or call 800 696 7561.