Is there really a war on Christmas?
As I visit the malls and stores looking for last-minute gifts, I might be tempted to conclude that rumors of a war on Christmas are greatly exaggerated. I say that because I have never heard more sacred music in public than I have in this Year of Our Lord 2011. (Oops, that just slipped out).
My belief is that the complaints of Christians have had their effect. The return of “Silent Night” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” is less, I suspect, evidence of a softening of the hearts of our retail Godzillas than it is a reaction to the counterattack of the church goers. After all, Christians make up the vast majority of America’s population and spend the more money on Christmas. And lately they have been speaking out.
The ACLU and the New Atheists may shout and scream and tremble with rage, but the big retail merchants know how to “follow the money.” That’s why you hear fewer “Happy Holidays” and more “Merry Christmas” greetings in the stores these days.
Still, the war goes on, only it’s not just on Christmas but on all public religious expression, Christian in particular. Saturday Night Live does a mocking skit on Tebowing with Jesus walking in the door in a cloud of smoke. I wonder if they would dare stage one with Mohammed sauntering in to visit Bin Laden. Not a chance.
One of the problems that Christians have is that they generally are meek and mild when it comes to expressing their faith. Unfortunately, some of that is timidity in the face of an aggressive secular culture, but in general the Christians I admire do not go around spouting off about their faith. It’s just there, and after a while you spot it. True Christianity breeds courtesy and kindness, and sometimes that is a disadvantage when dealing with the new brand of atheist who froths at the mouth as he goes eyeball to eyeball with God.
Yes, I know all about hypocritical, psalm-singing Christians so common in Hollywood’s depiction of religion. It’s true that some Christians are charlatans, and aggressive ones, but that has always been the case. Anything of value, like gold or the dollar, will spawn counterfeiters. Anyway, we get the point—ad nauseum. In recent years how often have we seen a Christian portrayed sympathetically? It’s a rarity. Who nowadays wants to hear about self-restraint, sacrifice, self-denial, humility, and virtue? Get serious. This is the 21st Century for God’s sake (oops, sorry, there I go again).
Christians in general may be reticent about speaking up, but fortunately there are those who go where angels fear to tread. I speak of the Bill Donahues of this world. Dr. Donahue is president of the Catholic League, and he can outshout and out argue any militant atheist that I know. His aggressive brand of apologetics may not be my cup of tea, but sometimes it’s nice to see the smirking, self-important secularists get a dose of their own medicine. (All right, that’s not a meek thought, but I’m only human).
Anyway, I will continue to enjoy “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” as I sit here in Barnes and Noble tapping at my laptop. They remind me that something big happened in a faraway place 2,000 years ago.
And the world hasn’t been the same since.