Tag Archives: War on Christmas

‘Tis the Season…for Culture War Stupidity

According to the Christian Science Monitor,

Wishing students “Merry Christmas” is now protected in Texas public schools thanks to a recently minted Merry Christmas law, which allows students, teachers, and administrators to say traditional holiday greetings on campus….

The bill, signed into law last year by Gov. Rick Perry, allows religious scenes and symbols, like a nativity or Christmas tree, to be displayed on school property. It also allows schools to teach about religious holidays, including their history, and include religious references and music in school performances.

Well, isn’t that special?

Can we deconstruct this embarrassing piece of theater? To the extent this measure purports to allow things that would violate the Establishment Clause, it is totally ineffective. (There’s this pesky little thing about the U.S. Constitution–it trumps local laws.) Christmas trees are fine, but nativity scenes (unless surrounded by symbols of Chanukah and Kwanzaa and other artifacts of winter’s seasonal celebrations) remain legally off-limits.

To the extent this law is inconsistent with the Establishment Clause, it is null and void. But more to the point, everything else “protected” by this legislative display of civic ignorance is already protected by the Free Exercise Clause. 

Teachers can already teach about religion, religious holidays, and the role of religion in history. Music teachers and art teachers are free to include religious music and art in their lessons–indeed, it would be difficult to introduce students to either discipline without recognizing the role religion has played in the evolution of those arts. (Granted, a “Christmas Chorale” composed exclusively of devotional hymns–no “Frosty the Snowman” or “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” to leaven the religiosity –is unlikely to pass Constitutional muster, but otherwise, no problem.)

Excuse me, but…those of you who are ostentatiously wearing the label “Christian”–can we talk?

I am getting really, really tired of your whining, tired of your petulant assertions that if you  can’t force everyone else to acknowledge your beliefs (in language that you deem appropriate) and genuflect to your observances (in recognition of their superiority), you’re being picked on.

Read my lips: There is no “War” against Christmas. Nice people wishing you a happy holiday are not trying to destroy the country and/or deprive you of your cultural heritage. They are just being nice. They are being thoughtful. Respectful of others.

You might try that sometime.

You might try acting….oh, what’s the word? Christian.

 

Maybe the Gingrich Stole Christmas??

Okay–there isn’t going to be much of a post today, because I am waging my  own “War on Christmas.” And unlike the one manufactured by the professional rabble-rousers on Faux News, mine is personal.

I have been crawling on the floor under our pre-lit “keep it simple, save a fir” tree all morning, trying to figure out why some of the lights don’t work. I’ll spend most of the rest of the day–assuming we’ve accurately diagnosed the problem (I’ve sent Bob to the hardware store for replacement fuses–those teensie little fuses that are hidden in the plugs that are hidden in the needles and are impossible to remove without the eagle-eyed vision of the young and the skinny talons of a small but vicious bird) wrapping gifts.

I was raised Jewish. We don’t know how to wrap. I’ll try my best, but I’ll undoubtedly end up with the sad and lumpy-looking packages that are so unlike the beautiful, beribboned gifts you see on television.

When I’m done grousing, I’ll admit that Christmas–the way my husband celebrates it and the way I’ve learned to approach it–is a lovely family holiday. In our “multi-cultural” home, the tree has a yarmulke on top and among the ornaments are dreidles and other decidedly non-traditional elements. There’s a menorah on the fireplace next to the tree, and we send gifts to a Buddhist cousin and give and get others from atheist family members. It really IS a “wonderful time of the year”–as the song goes. (Well–at least it’s a festive occasion that makes a generally cold and unpleasant time of the year SEEM wonderful.)

For those who celebrate the holiday as a “holy day” (which, by the way, is what “holiday” means Mr. Dumb-ass O’Reilly), I have the utmost respect. For those who want to throw tantrums whenever they see someone’s enjoyment of the season deviating from their script, I  say “Bah, Humbug.”

What cracks me up about the “War on Christmas” folks is that they tend to be the same people who agree with Newt Gingrich that poor kids ought to do janitor duty in their schools. Listen, guys, I’m not a Christian, but it seems to me if you’re really into the religious meaning of Christmas, it might be appropriate to act a bit more…Christian.

Just sayin’