A Halloween store selling decorations and costumes

A Texas pastor found himself in hot water after publicly urging his followers to ensure Halloween gets a surprising Christian twist this year. Pastor David Grisham Jr. used his Facebook page to spread the word about a fantastic plan he'd crafted to help convert nonbelievers and "lukewarm Christians" who participate in "pagan celebrations like Halloween."

The plan is simple, Grisham explained: his fellow believers should go "undercover" to Halloween and costume stores and pretend to shop for Halloween items. Once inside, they will hide Gospel verses in costume bags, decoration boxes, and any other popular items they see for the eventual buyers to find. The goal, supposedly, was to convince these unsuspecting Halloween enthusiasts to return to Christ.

It didn't take long for news outlets to find post, and Grisham was soon feeling the heat.

Busted Cover

After substantial backlash, Grisham decided to delete the post. But this is the internet, and things don't just magically disappear once you delete them. Here's the full list of "tips" he gave to his followers for how to carry out their important covert operations:

"1. Do not go inside wearing Christian clothing. Do this undercover so as not to draw attention to yourselves.

2. Do not put your church information on the tracts. This will get you nasty phone calls and emails if you do.

3. Do not hang out as a group inside while doing this. If you go in a group, split up while inside the store so as not to be as noticeable and you can cover more area and be quicker.

4. Spend no more than 30 minutes inside each store. Remember, you can go back and do it again several times before Halloween. This helps you keep a lower profile.

5. If you have a large enough group, you can assign one person to keep an eye on the store employees and if they get suspicious you can distract them with a question about their products or pricing. Have this person communicate with the other team members by text message. Being on your phone is not at all suspicious in today's culture.

6. If you get caught just leave peacefully and immediately. And do not reveal what you've been doing.

7. Enjoy yourself. This is really fun to do."

The Man Who Hates Holidays

If the name David Grisham sounds familiar, it's because this isn't the first holiday stunt he's pulled. Grisham leads Repent Amarillo, a radical evangelical group known for using controversial tactics to push their agenda. In fact, a couple years back Grisham went viral after he ambushed a group of kids waiting in line to see Santa at the mall, telling them that Santa isn't real and that they should find Jesus instead:

!#https://youtu.be/u1xqD9-9RA0 #!

Apparently, Repent Amarillo has a long-running vendetta against Santa Claus the group first got put on the map back in 2010 after posting a video of Santa being "executed" by firing squad. The video has since been deleted.

ULC reached out to Pastor Grisham for comment on this story. His response is included below.

"Our ministry is based off of Acts 26:20 where the Apostle Paul is conversing with king Agrippa and states that his mission is to preach that people should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

That is also our mission. Since the scriptures also command all Christians to preach this Gospel message to ALL the world and to EVERY creature then we understand this to mean there are literally no limits as to where and to whom we preach this message.

For instance, as to putting Gospel tracts in Halloween costumes and decorations in stores we feel compelled to do this because many Christians are participating in a pagan based holiday when the scriptures clearly state that we are to "come out from among them and do not touch what is unclean." Many Christians are not only touching the unclean things and practices of the secular world but are fully immersed in them. We are commanded by scripture to warn the righteous should they veer from the narrow path with Christ.

We also use this as an opportunity to reach the unsaved and call them to repentance. We do this without regards as to how the secular world receives the message because we are not obeying the feelings or political correctness of this wicked and perverse generation but we are obeying the commands of scripture. This naturally results in offense with many people.

Jesus Christ Himself went against the "religious correctness" of His day and it resulted in Him being crucified. Do you suppose the Romans were throwing first and second century Christians to the lions for declaring that "Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?"

The modern American version of Christianity is riddled with cowardice in the face of the opinions of men. Most churches will not call out sin or make bold calls for repentance from sin. We will. We have already died to this world and so we have nothing to fear from it. We fear God but not men and so we will continue to preach the truth outside the box and we remain unapologetic for it."

Would Jesus Want Holidays Canceled?

The nature of this approach naturally begs the question: would Jesus really want people acting this way in his name? Halloween almost certainly has its roots in pagan tradition, but it's hard to imagine Jesus forbidding people from participating in fun traditions like dressing up and handing out candy to their neighbors. Likewise, Santa Claus is about as harmless a figure as they come. Would Jesus really feel threatened by a friendly old man who passes out gifts once a year on his birthday?

People like Grisham argue that these cultural traditions are helping push people away from religion, even though this claim lacks any substantial evidence. But logic tells us that these hardliners are only hurting their cause by campaigning so energetically against Halloween and Santa.

After all, what better way to ensure a child never steps foot in your church than ruining their favorite holiday?

43 comments

  1. Dave's Avatar Dave

    What a maroon.

    1. sibyltheheretic's Avatar sibyltheheretic

      The moderators keep deleting my posts. I guess I'm not supporting their narrative. Sabotage? Sounds like more is being encouraged than just leaving notes. I was taught that "All Hallows Eve" ( All Saints Eve) is a Catholic take over of a Celtic harvest celebration. The remembrance of the dead was added by the Catholic church as "All Souls Day" and "All Saints Day" when the church decided to appropriate the holiday. Do you ever pray for those that have passed? Some people just need a reason to hate. Maybe we should pray for the haters.

      1. Alexia Martinez's Avatar Alexia Martinez

        Hispanics have Dia de los Muertos during all Saints day. This too is what i was taught.

      2. McLellan's Avatar McLellan

        Precisely, while a few pagan folk practices remain in the popular celebration style of Halloween, these have been thoroughly Christianized and adapted by the Church throughout history. It is a feature of Christianity that it's willing to adapt practices in order for people to accept it doctrine. That's why Christmas and Easter are also when they are, as they were placed around Yule and Beltane. The non-religious practices and symbology in those also has Pagan roots, ie. Christmas trees, Easter bunnies, chicks, painted eggs; though I would no longer consider them pagan, and certainly not religiously pagan.

        Now the only groups who celebrate Halloween or Samhain to them, are modern pagan faith group, which are an extremely small group and do not detract people from celebrating Halloween as a completely areligious holiday unless not Catholic.

        1. The Doctor's Avatar The Doctor

          You do understand Pagan wsa just a derogatory term used by early roman christians to dehumanize rural romans still practicing the older religions. If your not a rural roman practicing an old roman faith, your not a pagan. Calling oneself a pagan is only playing into the hand of christians seeking to persecute non christians.

          The modern so called neo pagan movement has nothing to do with the actual traditions that got dubbed pagan by those wanting to see them crushed under the foot of the new holy roman empire.

          The church did not for example call the tribal groups of the americas pagans, they called them heathen and savage and devil worshippers. Because even they understood that the term pagan had no application to non romans or followers of non roman faiths.

          For example if I worship any of the greek/roman gods Id be a pagan. Id never tolerate being called one as that word is an insult pure and simple.

          I know it may seem a word sticking point. But words have meaning. Pagan has a very specific one, and is itself a negative term no less then a racial slur.

          Using the word pagan basically is saying the roman catholic church is right in condemning those who had chosen to remain connected to their ancient culture and history rather then be converted to worship of a tortured and dying man on a cross.

          1. Lori's Avatar Lori

            Wow. The roman catholic church is still trying to weed out the child molesters. I think they need to focus on their own evils. I'm sure you'd like to be out there burning the witches for your own pleasures. The conditioning you've received is from a source that isn't interested in spreading LOVE

          2. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

            Heathens and Heretics? At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, history hints that for over two millennia the church has aggressively ignored Christ’s prayer for unity among his followers. We have overplayed the differences between believers and non-believers, at times referring to the unbelieving as heathen or pagans. But we have also splintered ourselves into tens of thousands of denominations or sects, each tenaciously holding on to their particular version of “truth.” The members of each sect, of course, believe themselves to be more righteous and correct than the others. Those who differ with the prescribed narrow view, are conveniently regarded as heretics.

            American churches have also entered today’s supercharged political environment, splitting believers into democrats and republicans, while of course, claiming the higher ground in each camp. Sadly, Christian unity has been a massive failure. Why? The institutions and structures of the church became yet another framework to proclaim our supremacy over others and conduit for power and influence. In other words, they become factions. It’s not just Christianity. When governments are weak, or they ignore the people in their jurisdiction, religions, often the most radical misrepresentations of them, become the center of power. On the other extreme, when religion and government attempt a merger or a theocracy, they can persecute or even execute the “heretics.” One religion can even justify taking up arms against another, e.g., the crusades, or one sect fights another, e.g., Sunni and Shia or protestant and catholic.

            Where does all of this come from? It’s deep. Human kind is a dichotomy of the divine, being created in the image of God, and the depraved, owning a proclivity to sin. So, what is at this core of this sin thing? Rebellion? Falling short? Pride? Is it the desire for self-superiority? Me over others, over God? We all desire to be right. (That sounds good.) To be the most right. (Hmmm.) To be “righter” than everyone else. (Approaching the danger zone.) Then we get to feel great about ourselves, establish those who differ as “the other”, the sadly mistaken, the heathen, the heretic, the enemy. (Red warning lights are flashing!) We can then carve up humanity with me and my small band of righteous cohorts on top of the heap. Other folks are well…dangerous! So, how can we move toward unity? It begins with understanding and remembering our command to love, refusing to think of people in terms of groups and stereotypes, and getting to know them as individuals. Here are some random ideas:

             Do not fall into our tribalistic, two-party political system. It seems like each side might have a few good ideas and few bad ones, while being equally guilty of vilifying the other side for personal gain. The chances of each party being too extreme on its own are pretty decent.

             Do not focus on the differences between us, but the similarities. Unbelievers or someone they might classified as an unbeliever, just because they don’t worship the same god as they do or don’t practice the same religion or faith, have the same types of life issues as a believer does. Members of other denominations are not so different. Our group is not as distinctive as we would like to think. Even members of other religions share our humanity and common desires for safety and prosperity for our families. Unless I am hugely mistaken, our response toward everyone on the list ought to be the same, to love them.

             Watch Fox News and MSNBC. It will seem like they are reporting from alternate universes, but we need to learn more about that other universe, because they are not all stupid heretics or godless heathen. Having a personal opinion is great, but chances are, it probably needs to be a little more nuanced.

             Have lunch with a liberal, or a conservative, or a muslin, or a catholic, or a protestant, or an evangelical or even a Heathen/Pagan. We can’t love people we don’t know, and we can’t continue to harbor prejudice once we move beyond referring to people as groups and get to know them as individuals.

        2. Kivajiva Christie's Avatar Kivajiva Christie

          Nice post.

    2. cbcuff's Avatar cbcuff

      Being in Texas maybe he's a neighbour of the more infamous Moron, a past president. Like the other Moron this man should not be allowed out of the yard, let alone at malls. Some serious mental health issues at play here!

      1. Paul's Avatar Paul

        Maybe you can find another thread to post your political beliefs.

    3. Lucia's Avatar Lucia

      The divisiveness is so disheartening. Why is acceptance and inclusivity STILL foreign to people?

      1. Dave's Avatar Dave

        Let's see. I am supposed to be accepting of someone who wants to proselytise through damaging merchandise? And inclusiveness to include people like that? Why does the pastor not practice inclusiveness by embracing the fun of the holiday? Or even the pagan origins? Fundamentalist christians, in my experience do NOT practice inclusiveness.

        Maroon in this case means someone who wants to foist his beliefs on someone else in a way that has absolutely zero chance of success. Not only annoying, but not particularly bright.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Just another deist that has been totally indoctrinated and his brain taken over.

    ?❤️

  1. sibyltheheretic's Avatar sibyltheheretic

    Sabotage? Sounds like more is being encouraged than just leaving notes. I was taught that "All Hallows Eve" ( All Saints Eve) is a Catholic take over of a Celtic harvest celebration. The remembrance of the dead was added by the Catholic church as "All Souls Day" and "All Saints Day" when the church decided to appropriate the holiday. Do you ever pray for those that have passed? Some people just need a reason to hate. Maybe we should pray for the haters.

  1. Cyndi McReynolds's Avatar Cyndi McReynolds

    Who wants to leave their kids with this guy? He gives me hives.

  1. Rev. Larry Mager's Avatar Rev. Larry Mager

    Pray for Haters, like Him who uses Christianity to spread his vendetta. I know a number of people who, as a result of this guy's tactics and hate, have turned even MORE and STRONGER towards "paganism"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way to GO!!!!!!!! Talk about something coming back to bite to bite themselves in the derreire (sp)!

  1. Ben's Avatar Ben

    None of my fellow pagans call for an end to Christmas or Easter. What happened to live and let live? I've sooo had it with Christians.

    1. Cheri's Avatar Cheri

      I've so had it with Christians too, and I'm a follower of Jesus/Yeshua. Many forget (conveniently) that Jesus himself was not a Christian, the faith did not start until long after his death. I agree, live and let live.

  1. Rev. Larry Mager's Avatar Rev. Larry Mager

    Hi, Ben, I understand where You are coming from. There are enough troubles in the world, so we don't need this sort of Bull Hockey adding to it! Remember, though: Not all Christians agree with Him! Please don't tar and feather us with that "fellow's" same brush. Thanks! And Cheers!!!!!

  1. Rev. Brien's Avatar Rev. Brien

    Just another nutcase. This does not warrant any attention.

  1. Bill Kinsland's Avatar Bill Kinsland

    Truly sad....Santa Claus is actually rooted in Saint Nicholas of Myra (Asia Minor)...he was a CHRISTIAN BISHOP who is revered as the Patron Saint of Children...best remembered for saving children from being sold into slavery ( a common practice in his day...the Fourth Century)….He is stil celebrated to this day with his own special Feast Day on December 6th.

  1. Mary Benoit's Avatar Mary Benoit

    Grow up and see the fun of Halloween. Nothing to fear. Learn the history of this and the two holidays and how they are celebrated. Kids know the difference between make believe and real. Maybe the religious right should explore the concept.

  1. Pastor David Grisham's Avatar Pastor David Grisham

    It might seem trivial to some to celebrate a pagan holiday in the name of fun but the word of God strictly forbids it. At one point in our history a nice looking piece of fruit in a garden seemed harmless too. It’s too bad that most people spend the majority of their time looking for excuses to participate in the ways of the world rather than looking for ways to further the kingdom of God.

    1. sibyltheheretic's Avatar sibyltheheretic

      "All Hallows Eve" is a Catholic holiday. So is "All Saints Day" and "All Souls Day". I believe that the "Pious" will spend more time in purgatory than the pagans. Many horrible things have been in the name of God; remembering the dead and giving gifts to children are good things.

    2. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Did you have a particular man made god in mind?

      Just asking!

      ?❤️

      1. sibyltheheretic's Avatar sibyltheheretic

        Many horrible things have been done in the name of the Jewish God, the Christian God and the Muslim God. All the same God. This God was not made by man, he created man. And man (Constantine and the Catholic Church) created the Bible by selecting certain religious writings and burning the rest. Now the arrogant church people who presume to speak for God, use the Bible as a weapon against the infidels. The infidels being everyone who disagrees with the church people. I was once asked to leave a Catholic Church because I was not Catholic (not holy enough).

    3. Rick Shirley's Avatar Rick Shirley

      God is love, faith and compassion for others. Condemnation and retribution is the word of man. For too many centuries the religion of man has brought suffering and death under the auspices of “God’s will.” It is time that false prophets be unmasked and the love and compassion of God prevail. Get a grip!

      1. The Doctor's Avatar The Doctor

        Uhm yeah no, since the creation of the first abrahamic religious text it has been very clear that their god is not love and compassion. Faith is for the follower not the deity.

        Jesus himself is described as aggressive and violent towards people several times. and ironically due to roman records are some of the few non christian texts supporting the existence of such a man. We know a man named Jesus assaulted a guard at a roman temple and struck him so hard in the head the man last his sight. We know a man named Jesus started a riot at a place of commerce. These actual facts of a man that do line up with events described in the bible do not paint the portrait of other then a angry and rebellious not to mention violent man.

  1. Dave's Avatar Dave

    Absoulutely! (Did you see what I did there?) We should eliminate this unholy holyday and switch to true transubstantiation. (Wait, if it's spaghetti so start with is it just substantiation?) Everyone eat spaghetti and further the kingdom of his holiness the Flying Spaghetti Monster. May he reach out and touch you with his noodly appendage. Ramen. (At least this god isn't made in man's image like many of the others.)

    1. Helen's Avatar Helen

      R'amen!

      1. Cynthia Wilson's Avatar Cynthia Wilson

        R’amen you are Pho king on to something here.

  1. Alexia Martinez's Avatar Alexia Martinez

    I teach Ancient Civilizations and what many dont realize is almost everything todays society does has its roots from a polytheistic culture.

  1. Doug Frith's Avatar Doug Frith

    From a purely commercial point of view, adulterating products for sale is likely a crime. The fact that the pastor is urging people to do this surrepticiously, is a good indicator that it shouldn't be done. (What would your mother say if she saw you do it?) Regardless of the original meaning of the day, the current cultural meaning of Halloween is a day when kids can dress up and get free treats. (Religious meanings of the day don't revolve around candy.) To all those who are upset about the non-religious aspect, I'd suggest they relax and perhaps think about how to encourage people to peacefully come to their way of thinking. And stop worrying about inserting messages in Halloween outfits and paraphernalia.

  1. Penny Prentice-Best's Avatar Penny Prentice-Best

    This holiday we call Halloween has had many meanings in different countries and different times. I do feel we focus too much on ghoulishness and horror, which in this age is very detailed and often disturbing, but I'm sorry sneaking gospel tracts into costumes will Not "save" anyone. My own children were given an intense indoctrination by a well-meaning relative who wanted them to "get Saved", according to that individual's understanding. It was a traumatic experience for them. None of this fits into the practice of a spiritual tradition based on the words and the example of the man who told us to "Love one an other as I have loved you". We could start shifting the focus of Halloween from blood and horror to ancestors, heroes, both real and fantasy, or any number of more positive images, but we don't need to suck the fun out of Halloween in the name of religion.

  1. Cynthia Wilson's Avatar Cynthia Wilson

    I wonder if he would like a group of people showing up at his church to tell his people that there is no god. I would be totally down for that. I would even do it in cosplay.

    1. Kivajiva Christie's Avatar Kivajiva Christie

      Cool

  1. Eve Spirit's Avatar Eve Spirit

    Well, I've read all you have posted and can only say the source to which one thinks is the habit one lives, weather true or false is in ones discretion. this morning I put my custom on and filled a huge cookie jar, which I painted funny objects on it, yes I'm a believer, love "GOD" with all my heart, mind, and soul. years past I did stop Hallow 'Eve, as my minister proclaimed' paganism and it was evil, therefore, I stopped and went to church to celebrate Hallow 'Eve. Later I thought about this event held in church and wondered; what was the difference, we dressed up, passed candy ate cookies, my child was dressed in his favorite comic character, so what's wrong with this picture if its suppose to be a pagan tradition, we were doing the same thing only in a building! Wow, stop the presses'. Satan was created by "GOD" and humans create holidays, not from past history, but for selfish motives, whatever they are, if I believe in "GOD" then why should I have any fear of the unknown, or what man generate, I say do right, respect and accept all as they are and have been created, and enjoy the events of what you chose to participate in, the choice is yours, I've survived two cancer, and lost most my family so I can say, live is short and while living in respect towards all human beings, take those lemons life hands out, and make lemonade and as they say, enjoy the drink. in short; if you don't like or agree with the surrounding's , don't get involve if its harmless leave it alone, the kids enjoy the fun, and candy and that to me is what its all about... Happy Hallow 'Eve from Eve

  1. Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF's Avatar Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF

    Two words ... Mental. Illness.

  1. Gary's Avatar Gary

    I guess the minister doesn't realize that a vast majority of major Christian holidays and Catholic "Holy" days and feasts were place on or about pagan holidays to take them over. That does not seem to bother him. Besides being a harvest holiday, it was also thought that this day/night was when the barrier between living and dead was at it's least. It was used as a day to remember relatives and friends who had passed on.

  1. Secretary3rd's Avatar Secretary3rd

    I think it is rather strange to dress up and for the soul purpose of getting sweets so that my teeth will rot. That might be why Ween is so popular in the first place. It is that getting my fix cheaply that I so love not to love Ween. It is nice to live in a country with so many religions that can all celibate Ween at the same time and not offend another religion. Another way to look at this day is that all the stuff you see in the store and buy was made in China and how that has influence people in China who have also decided to celibate Ween also. Sneaky is it not to Americanize China.

  1. Bill Fox's Avatar Bill Fox

    It's no longer safe for children to go out for Halloween treats and fun.

  1. Reb TK's Avatar Reb TK

    Jewish, but enjoyed "our mission. Since the scriptures also command all Christians to preach this Gospel message to ALL the world and to EVERY creature then we understand this to mean there are literally no limits as to where and to whom we preach this message."

    Which means there is hope for the off-shoots of the prehistoric creatures from which we all eventually evolved.

    Perhaps I can teach my cats to hear the gospel and to sing gospel music?

    Every year the same tiresome drama over Halloween.

    We Jewish folks have "Halloween" more or less, at Purim, when kids dress up as characters from Esther's trials and triumphs among the goyim and the defeat of the evil Hamin, who plotted against her peoples.

    We can enjoy that without "preaching" to amphibians or invertebrates.

    Either scenario, by the way, would make a great Halloween theme costume!

  1. DJ's Avatar DJ

    Surely Jesus is up there laughing at the tiny box this preacher has prayed himself into. Trying to shove your opinions down other people's throats is not a kind or loving practice. For many generations, our large Catholic Family has celebrated Halloween with fun, food. friends & great costumes. No evil - just love. And now our children are doing the same. You can demonize anything if you put your mind to it, but we choose to focus on our love & respect of others. Dear Pastor, we bless you on your journey.

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