In this self-congratulatory age of multiculturalism and hyper-tolerance, what religion other than Christianity is treated as inherently offensive? In fact, haven’t our cultural high priests instructed that we dare not find other religions offensive, but must even enthusiastically embrace them for contributing to our diversity of ideas and values?
Of course they have, but that admonition — as all but the most inattentive recognize — doesn’t apply to Christianity, as this year’s annual war on Christmas demonstrates once again.
The city of Chicago asked organizers of the German Christkindlmarket, a downtown Christmas festival, to reject New Line Cinema as a sponsor because its advertisements for the movie "The Nativity Story" might offend non-Christians.
Isn’t that line getting a little old, especially in a nation where some 90 percent of the people supposedly identify themselves as Christians? It’s always easy to say people might be offended, because some people are always in a desperate hurry to be offended.
But what is more likely is that activist organizations like the ACLU, various atheist groups and other radical secularists want to create the impression that Christianity is offensive in order to diminish its influence and its presence in the public square.
But since we’re talking about offensiveness, how about the sensibilities of Christians? Isn’t it far more reasonable for Christians to be offended at the banishment of their displays from the public square than for non-Christians to be offended at their presence?
Yet this obsession with scrubbing away Christianity from public places suggests there is something offensive about Christianity. I wish just once some of these anti-Christian charlatans would be asked to specify precisely which of Christ’s teachings they find offensive — other than perhaps his unequivocal pronouncement of absolute moral standards.
Secular leftists usually tell us that their primary interest in these matters is to ensure that our society and our laws guarantee religious freedom for all. But this nativity flap is one of many that reveal their true mindset, which is hardly as pluralistic and tolerant as they would have us believe.
If religious freedom were their driving motivation, they would be on the side of the German Christlkindmarket, and its unfettered right to choose its own sponsors. Shouldn’t those who boast of their commitment to religious liberty fight for the right of entrepreneurs to promote Christian-based movies or themes?
But these secular objectors aren’t committed to religious liberty across the aboard as they claim, because their tolerance and pluralism don’t extend to Christianity, for which they have an obvious hostility.
I saw one propagandist disguised as an ACLU lawyer in an interview on "Fox News" defending Chicago’s policy as a vindication of the Constitution’s guarantee of church/state separation. Of course, this "constitutional lawyer" has to know better than that the Constitution contains any such guarantee.
Indeed, most of the opponents of the ad aren’t seriously objecting on constitutional grounds because even the ridiculously distorted judicial precedent that has turned the First Amendment Establishment Clause into a sword against — instead of a shield for — religious freedom won’t help them here. Instead — as mentioned — they are hanging their hats on the presumed "offensiveness" of Christianity.
People would be well served to understand the differences in these issues. While Christians don’t set out to offend others, we must be clear that there is no right in the Constitution not to be offended. But there is a right to religious liberty, and it even applies to Christians.
The Framers deemed this right so important that they made it the subject of the very first two clauses of the very First Amendment: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, both of which were designed to safeguard religious liberty, not to separate church and state.
The Establishment Clause was intended to protect religious liberty by preventing the federal government from establishing a national church or religion. The Free Exercise Clause sought to do so by guaranteeing our right to worship as we please.
The zealous advocates of church/state separation and the opponents of Christian expression in the public square, in the name of promoting religious liberty go a long way toward selectively suppressing religious liberty: that of Christians.
So when you read about such controversies as the one involving the German Christkindlmarket, try to look behind the deceptive claims of the secular activists who are at best fair weather champions of tolerance, pluralism or constitutional religious liberty.