No Christ in Christmas? How absurd
Although I’m not a particularly religious person, I simply don’t understand those few misguided souls who want to take Christ out of Christmas. And despite my differences with bombastic Fox News Channel commentator Bill O’Reilly, I agree with his thesis that “Christmas is (once again) under siege by the growing forces of secularism in America.” He cites the following evidence to support his thesis:
• Macy’s department stores have suggested that managers avoid displaying “Merry Christmas” banners and have ordered employees not to talk about it.
• In Denver, a church was banned from the “Festival of Lights” parade because it wanted to enter a religious theme float.
• The Maplewood, N.J., school board has banned all religious music from “holiday” concerts. (Would someone please tell me exactly what holiday this is?)
• And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists that the lighted tree outside City Hall isn’t a Christmas tree; it’s a holiday tree. (Same question.)
But ordinary citizens are fighting back. Just last Tuesday, voters in an Oklahoma City suburb defeated an $11 million school bond issue after the local school superintendent removed a Nativity scene from an elementary school Christmas program.
Early this month I attended the lighting of our state and city Christmas trees at the Capitol and was pleased that neither Gov. Kenny Guinn nor Mayor Ray Masayko referred to them as “holiday” trees. What possible harm can come to us from maintaining traditional Christmas customs in a country founded by God-fearing men and women who were “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights?”
As Bill O’Reilly wrote last week, “Surveys show that more than 90 percent of Americans celebrate the federal holiday of Christmas, signed into law by President Grant in 1870. Despite that overwhelming number, the tradition of Christmas in America continues to get hammered … by those (few) Americans who get offended by the mere mention of the birth of Christ.” How silly!
“What’s really going on here,” O’Reilly added, “is a well-organized movement to wipe out any display of organized religion from the public arena,” a movement led by American Civil Liberties Union officials and others “who find a baby in a manger so off-putting that it ruins their day.” As far as I’m concerned, they should lighten up and observe a widely accepted sports rule: No Harm, No Foul.
According to O’Reilly, the ACLU and its “progressive” allies “understand very well that it is organized religion, most specifically Christianity and Judaism, that stand in the way of gay marriage, partial-birth abortion, legalized narcotics, euthanasia and many other secular causes” rejected by a majority of Americans. “If religion can be de-emphasized in the U.S.,” O’Reilly argues, “a brave new progressive society can be achieved.”
That “progressive” society might resemble Canada, which has legalized gay marriage and abortion on demand, and lowered the age of consent for sex to 14. No wonder so many extreme Bush-hating Kerry voters are moving to Canada. I hope Al Franken, Michael Moore (the new face of the Democratic Party) and Barbra Streisand join them. Because if they leave, they’ll be doing a favor for new Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and other moderate Democrats.
For the most part, Nevadans aren’t buying this politically correct “take Christ out of Christmas” nonsense. I still see plenty of manger scenes around town, I hear school kids singing Christmas carols and I know of at least one Nevada county (that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) that proudly displays the Ten Commandments outside its courthouse.
The poster boy for the “progressive” forces is the Sacramento attorney who went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent his 10-year-old daughter from reciting the hated “under God” portion of the Pledge of Allegiance. He pursued his lawsuit even though he doesn’t have legal custody of his daughter and even though she likes the Pledge just the way it is. Fortunately, the court rejected his specious arguments.
In another egregious example of political correctness gone wild, the Puyallup, Wash., school superintendent canceled Halloween last October because he didn’t want to offend Wiccans (witches). Give me a break! Let’s face it, almost everything we do or say offends someone, as I’ve learned from writing a weekly political column for more than eight years. So if I’ve offended anyone, I apologize in the same sincere spirit that ex-President Clinton “apologized” for groping a White House intern in the Oval Office.
The first line of the First Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….” But it doesn’t say anything about an absolute separation between church and state, and that’s that. God Bless America and Merry Christmas!
Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat, resides in Carson City.