Though the leftist sport of this December is to demonstrate smug denials of any “war on Christmas,” the contemptible accounts of the Left’s attempts to kill Christmas – and the government’s appeasement of them – are a well-documented refrain: kids forbidden to talk about baby Jesus or Santa Claus in school; teachers instructed to avoid Christmas-themed jewelry; non-Christians who claim their rights are violated by a manger scene; and the censorship of virtually any mention of the word “Christmas.” Devout Christians are rightly offended.
I, an atheist, am just as outraged.
Every American should be, because there is much more at stake here than Christian sensibilities. The Left’s compulsive dedication to ridding the country of Nativity displays and turning “Merry Christmas!” into a slogan of minority oppression is not just a war on Christians, but – far worse – on Western culture itself.
Christmas hasn’t been a solely religious holiday for some time. What irks many devout Christians is that those who attend church only on Christmas Eve, who get more excited about the fat man in the red suit than the carpenter from Nazareth, and who find the idea of a supernatural Creator who hears our prays preposterous, have laid claim to Christmas as theirs, too.
While Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas time, the holiday has developed into a Western tradition with many aspects – as faithful Christians lament – utterly devoid of religious content. Many devout Christians – some sport bumper stickers of Santa Claus crossed out with a big X – feel that for large segments of society, the meaning of Christmas has become watered down to a godless excess of presents, food, and glittery lights.
It has. Isn’t it wonderful?
Atheists like me can go to church concerts to rejoice in the glorious music of the season, delight in picking out special gifts for family and friends, and wish everyone a “Merry Christmas.”
But it’s much more than a gorgefest with angel decorations. Just because atheists don’t believe in a God in Heaven doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the Christmas message of brotherhood and peace on earth. While we don’t believe in the supernatural, we can recognize Christianity’s invaluable contribution to human love. That is worthy of celebration every year.
And while a handful of Christian evangelicals wants to ban Rudolph and Santa, my faithless Christmas celebration is in no danger from them. But it is in danger from the Left.
Unhappy that this country is built on Western and Christian values and customs, the Left seeks to abolish any public celebration of Christmas – religious or not – by insisting that holidays of other religions around the world be treated as equal to Christmas simply because they happen to take place in December.
Which is why we have schizophrenic displays of Christmas trees with giant Menorahs next to them (Jews laugh at the idea of Hanukkah as the “Jewish Christmas”), office Christmas parties must be called “holiday” parties, and the Christmas-oriented “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Holidays” have been perverted into including everything from Ramadan to the phony and racially separatist “Kwanzaa.”
Surely there are some Hindu and Buddhist holy days in December – what’s next, statues of Vishnu and Buddha draped with tinsel and blinking lights?
The problem is that the nonsensical sensitivity sentiment has spread from the extreme Left into much of the mainstream population. Still wanting to acknowledge Christmas, however, Americans devise ways of doing so without admitting it.
Perfectly nice, normal people send cards each December without ever using the word “Christmas” (including, famously, the president and first lady). Others hang fir branches instead of putting up a tree and claim they’re merely being “seasonal.” They decorate their homes with red bows, light candles, and prepare festive meals, claiming they’re doing so to celebrate the winter solstice. Businesses send out cards to clients that mention only “success in the new year.”
What none of them wants to admit is that the one and only reason everyone is slurping eggnog and trudging through over-crowded shopping malls is a man named Jesus born two millennia ago (whether you believe he is Christ or a mortal) – not the Macabees, and not Mohammed. They pretend there is a “holiday season,” as the Christmas season is now called, which celebrates holidays from different faiths. They have all succumbed to the grotesque notion that any celebration by a majority rightly offends the minority.
Not one of them would, of course, expect the Israelis to put up Christmas trees in downtown Tel Aviv in December, so that the Christians living there don’t feel left out. Not one would go to a Jewish friend’s Hanukkah party and expect him to call it a holiday party. Not one would move to Morocco and expect Thanksgiving decorations during Ramadan. Not one would dream of calling the Hanukkah Menorah the “seasonal candelabra.”
It’s not majorities that leftists despise – it’s Western majorities. And when, due to their fraudulent campaign, Western people in a Western country must worry that “Merry Christmas” will be taken as an insult to non-Westerners or secularists, it’s time for every citizen of that country – Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, or Hare Krishna – to fight this abomination.
We must all help protect the right of Christians to sing “Silent Night” publicly at a Nativity scene – because if they can’t do that, there’s no telling what the rest of us won’t be able to do next.
Karina Rollins wishes all readers of this column a Merry Christmas.
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