Forget the garish imports. Even if they were recently grown in a local greenhouse, they’re ultimately imports and we have natives, hereabouts. Take a look at the wild poinsettia that flourish in North America.
The Washington Post does a fine job here, starting with the myth that Christmas is the most important Christian holiday.
… I just won $25. I bet a friend (a member of the clergy in a mainline church, no less) that the first salvo in the fake War on Christmas would be launched prior to Halloween this year — the traditional time for retailers to start hanging their garlands.
And I was right. Gary L. Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commssion, sent out a warning email at 12:07 p.m. Tuesday.
The symbolic importance of the creche decision.
In our War on Christmas nation, the Christian president has to include the key Christian symbol in everyone’s White House at Christmas. Or pay a very large political bill.
Susan Jacoby is the token secularist at the Washington Post/Newsweek feature On Faith. Regarding whether President Obama “should display a crèche or a menorah or any strictly religious symbols during the holidays in the White House,” she writes:
Who cares? With 40 million Americans having trouble putting food on the table and 10 percent out of work, there are more important things to worry about than whether the president, following the tradition of his predecessors, is disregarding the separation of church and state by displaying a creche in the White House. For the record, the White house should not have a creche, a menorah, or any other specifically religious symbol on its grounds. But it’s not high on my indignation list. If that makes me a lukewarm atheist, so be it. This annual battle over Christmas is becoming as tiresome as that awful, ubiquitous ditty, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year….” If I had to choose between getting rid of that headache-inducing song and getting rid of the White House manger, I’d choose to ban the song.
Of course J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, disagrees with Jacoby about the religious symbols and also argues that the president is free to do whatever he chooses.
He didn’t take a stand on the song.
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, former president of Chicago Theological Seminary, reminds us that the presidential decisions about symbols are in fact nontrivial.
Robert Paraham of the Baptist Center for Ethics gets to the fundamental issue for Christians. It isn’t the choice of White House decorations:
We love little baby Jesus, as NASCAR champion Ricky Bobby, in the movie “Talladega Nights,” reminds us. We adore Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, wise men bearing gifts, shepherds searching, angels singing. We love baby Jesus because he makes no moral claims on us. Instead, we get to project our hopes for the impossible possibility–that all things will be made right.
Yet the biblical story moves quickly from the manger to the man who makes moral claims on people of faith.
The Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount calls Christians to be peacemakers, challenging those who want more war in Afghanistan. The Jesus of “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s” challenges Christians to do the hard work of moral discernment in a pluralistic country and drop plans for an American theocracy. The Jesus of “love your neighbor” confronts lawmakers to rethink their commitment to the corporate greed of the health insurance industry and ideologues to abandon their social Darwinism. The Jesus of the Golden Rule calls into question Wall Street’s deceitfulness and unmerited bonuses.
Lest anyone misunderstand, the debate is hypothetical. Christmas decorations at the White House include a crèche in the East Room.
With that in mind, please read all of the replies here.
The Santa hats in the new American Humanist Association ads confuse us.
They seem to enrage the Liberty Council, which says:
The American Humanist Association is waging war against Christmas, but their temper tantrum is doomed to failure. An overwhelming percentage of people in America believe in God and celebrate Christmas. Rather than advance its “Godless” agenda, the American Humanist Association has shown just how far out of step it is with reality.
Now, the Liberty Counsel isn’t really threatening to “sue everyone who doesn’t say ‘Merry Christmas,'” no matter what the Grinch Wing Watch says. They’re just sayin’:
Liberty Counsel’s Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign is entering its seventh year. The campaign is designed to educate and, if necessary, to litigate to make sure that the Christian aspect of Christmas is not censored.
Not feeling any “Season’s Greetings” love here. Just smiling, singing war.
Not long enough for memories to fade. When this year’s Conservative Party cards went on sale emblazoned exclusively with “Season’s Greetings,” pseudo uproar ensued. One Tory back-bencher deemed them “totally unacceptable.” Lost over the hill and through the woods in politically correct land, never reaching grandmother’s house.
The online Conservative Shop has since added some “Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” cards to its “Season’s Greetings” stock. Although none with any message show a religious Christmas picture. No Christ Child in a manger. No Star of Bethlehem. No wise journeying wise men or watchful shepherds. Instead, each has an outline of the Conservative oak tree logo, within which is either a robin or one of four snowscapes (yawn).
It seems the first skirmish in the war against “Season’s Greetings” ends with British Tories losing the high ground they held last year as the Christmas party.