The other night on TV, I watched a liberal talking head go ballistic in a discussion of the "war on Christmas." He ranted that there is no such war, and even if there were, it's those on the right, like Fox News, who are fanning the flames. He noted that in 1929 Henry Ford wrote that the Jews were behind such attacks and that the John Birch Society made similar claims against secularists in 1959.
It all sounded too familiar. So I consulted my email and discovered this from a letter I received in reference to my column of last week on the lack of religious Christmas programming on TV and in film: "The same fight has been waged at least since 1959, when the John Birch Society accused the communists among us (RIP Joe McCarthy) of secretly trying to eliminate Christ from Christmas."
My correspondent also went on to point out that there is no plot, but if there were, it's being waged by Republican owners of major media like Fox's Rupert Murdoch. So, much like the narrator in a famous Yuletide poem, in an effort to root out this like-minded chatter, I went to the web to see what was the matter.
These talking points apparently stem from a Salon.com article by Michelle Goldberg titled, "How the Secular Humanist Grinch Didn't Steal Christmas." In it, the author details the infamous words of Ford and the John Birchers, all evidently well documented.
SO DOES PROVING that there were previous charges of a war on Christmas mean that current charges are untrue? That view is as illogical as saying that the current War on Terror doesn't have merit since there have been complaints about radical Islam since the Seventh Century.
The fact is that there have been a number of battles waged, but the whole issue is more of a cold, than a hot war. And, like the decades-long big one with the Soviet Union, the conflict is between two different ways of life. One side champions belief in limited government and the notion that our rights are God-given, while the other believes that nearly all power should emanate from government.
What's heated up the hostilities lately is the blurring of the clear language of the First Amendment by our judicial system. Courts have misconstrued the meaning of an "establishment of religion" by the government, to mean nearly anything and everything; from mentioning the name of Jesus in a valedictory address, to a football team praying before a high school game.
Given the multitude of different churches that make up this country, for the government to actually establish a national religion, it would not only be undesirable but next to impossible. The idea that some kind of Christian theocracy is in the making is laughable to anyone who has ever debated the articles of their faith with those of another; see the term, sola scriptura, for instance.
That said, what does unite many of the 88 percent of this country who are Christian is the feeling that although they are in the great majority, those on the secular left treat them as if they were the minuscule minority they are alleged to offend. Though liberal judges have not yet discovered the source of the right not to be offended, this has not stopped them from proceeding as if they have.
The new twist on all of this is that Christians who are finally making a case for their formerly constitutional rights are now portrayed as being on the attack. Ms. Goldberg closes her piece with, "The war on Christmas trope lets the right pretend to be playing defense when it's really on the offensive -- against the ACLU, separation of church and state, and pluralism, to name just a few targets."
The truth is, it is the American way of life that has been hammered away at for decades by the three "targets" named above. One is the creation of communists; the next, the invention of a judge and the last, so much socialist psychobabble.
A war on Christmas? Perhaps. But as those on the left contend, it's really nothing new: "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you." John 15:18
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