Eating the Apple

Eve did it. Adam did it. Now it's my turn to take a bite. Why not? Hey! It's delicious.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Imagined War

I'm really puzzled over this alleged "war against Christmas". I never heard of such a thing until recently, when John Gibson's book "The war on Christmas" hit the news. What puzzles me is why should anyone this blathering seriously.

In the interests of full disclosure, I state that I have not read the book. Nor do I intend to. I didn't get past the subtitle, "How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought". It just sounds nuts!

In the first place, there is no one person or one organization who speaks for all liberals. There are many types of liberals and they have many opinions. It would virtually impossible organize liberals into a cohesive group with a focussed mission. For proof, look no further than the failures of the Democratic Party over the past decade.

In the second place, many liberals enjoy Christmas. One of the liberal groups in a religious sense are the Unitarian-Universalists. What do Unitarian-Universalists do on Christmas eve? They attend Christmas eve services. They sing the old Christmas carols and listen to the Christmas story. And what do Unitarian-Unifversalists do on Christmas day? They vist with their friends and family, open their presents, and enjoy a Christmas dinner together. No, liberals are not about to abolish Christmas. Even atheists enjoy Christmas.

In the third place, this so-called war is not about Christmas. It is about the use of public property. A public park does not belong just to evangelical Christians. It belongs to everybody. We all pay for parks and public buildings -- Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Zorastrians, mystics, pagans, humanists, non-believers, and even Unitarian-Universalists. Public property should not be used by one religious group to promote its creed or beliefs -- that is what the First Amendment is all about.

There are cases where a religious group meets in a public schoolroom for Sunday services. To me this is acceptable provided that the group pays a fair fee for the use of the facility and that all religious groups have the same priviledge, including agnostic and atheist groups. This means that if a Christian group is allowed to put a Christmas creche on a town common, then every religious group should be allowed celebrate their faith in a similar way. Either that, or allow no religious celebrations on public property.

In the fourth place, there are many mainstream and conservative Christians who can accept a ban on religious displays on public property. If one respects the religious beliefs of other people, if one respects the laws and constitution of our country, if one respects democratic principles, then one can understand the harm that is done by those, like John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly who are find every excuse to demonize 'liberals' and complain that this imagined 'War on Christmas' will lead to thre enactment of "secular progressive programs like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, [and] gay marriage."


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