'Merry Christmas' and Other Offenses

It’s Christmas time but Christmas cheer isn’t abounding as it did when we were kids.

The lack of cheer is not due to the recession (which the mainstream media can’t quit talking about) but because of the myriad atheistic “Grinches” who have made it their life’s goal to steal Christmas.

The way in which Europeans have long referred to Christmas as “holiday” as always bothered me. I’ve understood it for what it is: an example of their cultural secularization. But when I see the same tendency here in the United States, a nation founded in large part by Puritans who sought to “build a shining city on a hill [to] glorify God,” I am not only bothered but surprised, for I never dreamed that citizens of “one nation under God” would allow Leftists and a bunch of two-bit fringe groups to intimidate them into trading the Christmas message for secular, Euro-talk.

Maybe we should have seen it coming. Atheists and other secularists in this country have been quite successful in using the court system to turn once valued rights and privileges into outright, legally banned offenses since the early 1960s. One of their first successes was the Supreme Court’s 1963 decision that school prayer was unconstitutional. From that point, the secularists were so aggressive that by the time 1980 rolled around the court had ruled that reading from the Bible over a school intercom was unconstitutional (Abington School District v. Schempp), that states could not ban the teaching of evolution (Epperson vs. Arkansas), and that the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools was unconstitutional (Stone v.Graham).

In 2006, atheist Michael Newdow sought to use the courts to ban the printing of “In God We Trust” on our money and, in 2008, “Edwin Kagin, a Boone County lawyer and the national legal director of American Atheists,” filed suit against the state of Kentucky over a plaque at the state’s Homeland Security Office which acknowledged Kentuckian’s “dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.”

But all this notwithstanding, the utter lunacy of the lawsuits this Christmas has taken the fruitcake. Some lady in North Carolina is suing to ban the singing of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer in her public school system because (she claims) “‘Rudolph’ and ‘Santa Claus’ are overtly Christian.” I don’t know about you, but I have often bypassed reading Paul’s letters to the Romans in order to flip further back in my Bible and read Kris Kringle’s letters to his elves.

Perhaps the most surreal aspects of these “atheists gone wild” activities took place this year in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Washington State. In Green Bay, the display of no less a Christmas distinctive than the nativity scene was opposed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which argued that the display of the nativity scene on public property constituted a violation of the separation of church and state. Of course they claimed a broad, grass-roots interest in their suit, which garnered the huge and widespread support of “14 Green Bay residents.”

You may have come across the Freedom From Religion Foundation via their continued opposition to prayer in schools and the current pledge of allegiance, both of which they see as examples of state-sponsored religion. Their opposition to prayer in school rests in part on their contention that “our founders wisely adopted a secular, godless constitution.” Have these folks ever read our Constitution? And their opposition to the current pledge of allegiance rests largely on the fact that “one nation under God” was not added until 1954.

I hate to be picky, but if antiquity’s the measure then someone needs to remind these kooks that the so-called separation of church and state was not found in the Constitution until 1947.

Fortunately, the lawsuit against the nativity scene in Green Bay was tossed out because Freedom From Religion Foundation had no case. According to Federal Judge William Griesbach, the group lacked the “standing to bring the claims, which he described as ‘so fleeting and slight that they do not warrant pursuing in federal court.’”

In Washington State, the same Freedom From Religion Foundation, applied and secured permission to post an atheist plaque next to the nativity scene at the state capital. The crux of the message on the plaque is: “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

What’s amazing about this is that many of the groups that file anti-Christmas lawsuits claim to be the innocent, offended parties. But if you have the time (or the stomach) to read around on Leftist websites like you’ll soon see who the truly offensive (and vicious) people are.

In response to the lost lawsuit in Green Bay, one blogger on wrote about how the emphasis on America’s Christian heritage is “a lie but [the proponents of nativity scenes] don’t care about truth, just power and the manger on public property [as] another power move.” Another blogger referred to nativity scene supporters as “bastards” and “a bunch of nut-jobs who plan on changing our constitution to align with their crazy views.”

These people are hateful and embarrassingly out of touch with reality. But sadly, it’s not just the diehard atheist activists who see “Christmas” as offensive. This Christmas season Outback Steakhouse, champion of “no rules, just right” seems to have come up with at least one rule in their television ads: they never mention Christmas but they gladly promote their “holiday gift cards.” Also, grocery shelves are stocked with Coco-Cola’s “holiday” can and Washington State’s atheist plaque is complimented by “a holiday tree” near the capital.

I can almost hear Rod Serling narrating a Twilight Zone segment somewhere in the background.

Like Don Henley and Axel Rose, “I will not go quietly.” I will not be a secularist or a European, nor will I empty Christmas of its meaning by wishing you a happy holiday. If that offends a blogger or two on some kook website, I’m sure they’ll get over it in time, but that’s their problem not mine.

“Merry Christmas” to every reader of HUMAN EVENTS. May this truly be “the most wonderful time of the year.”