Why Attacking Christmas Is Bad For America

Why Attacking Christmas Is Bad For America

America needs Christmas as a public expression: not only for its magic and delight, but as a testament to the Judeo-Christian roots upon which this country was founded.
Aryeh Spero
By

It’s once again holiday season, so we can expect the American Civil Liberties Union to be back working the courts as the Grinch to steal Christmas. Not content with tearing from public venues innocent and reassuring nativity scenes, the ACLU seems determined to eradicate any public reference to Christmas as an American holiday.

In 2005 in Covington, Georgia, for example, the ACLU filed suit against a public school district for having a calendar referring to December 25 as Christmas. Its legal wrecking crew would have us believe this is “advancing religion,” whereas sanity dictates that this is merely a routine calendar designation, just as July 4 is commonly inscribed as Independence Day. Certainly non-Christians are not being denied their freedom of religion by a calendar stating a well-known fact.

The ACLU’s war against Christmas reared its head a few years back in a different suit, this one against a public parking lot setting aside spaces near a Roman Catholic church in Pittsburgh to display a nativity scene that people travel from afar to behold. The locality, in Chamber of Commerce fashion, simply accommodated visitors for a popular and admired local attraction—in this case a religious, seasonal one. The ACLU’s insistence that common courtesy and civic accommodation be forbidden bespeaks their antagonistic and mean spirited agenda. It smacks of vengeance: “If I don’t celebrate or enjoy Christmas, neither can you.”

There is something un-neighborly, stingy, and mean-spirited by ACLU legalists plotting to deny Americans the comforting and good-willed seasonal greeting “Merry Christmas.”

All Cultures Derive From Religion

Obviously, the ACLU is animated by hostility to Christianity, certainly in the context of American public life. But America needs Christmas as a public expression: not only for its magic and delight, but as a testament to the Judeo-Christian roots upon which this country was founded. Our historic way of thinking—the American ethos and its laws and liberties— do not come from bubbles or by accident, but are direct outgrowths of the Founding Fathers’ understanding of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Since Christmas represents this, its linkage to American public life is crucial. President Grant affirmed this when he codified it for, in a sense, it all began with Christmas. Politics is influenced by culture, and all cultures derive from religion, even if time obscures the initial religious source and impetus.

I would venture that other societies have not attained America’s present-day success and opportunity precisely because they have drawn their culture and behavior patterns from religious beliefs less conducive to productivity, fair play, inventiveness, and individual liberty than that implanted in the unique Judeo-Christian outlook. A holiday directly tied to the Judeo-Christian ethos deserves special recognition in America, the land nourished from its founding by that very outlook.

While all Americans are free to practice their faith, their holidays are not necessarily emblematic of America. Most religions and religious ideologies found in the world do not contain within them the seeds and temperament that engendered America’s widespread efficaciousness, as was the case with the American Judeo-Christian outlook. Absent the Judeo-Christian outlook as our underlying ethos, America might have been just another geographic location. It would cease to be real America.

America Is Not Itself Without Christianity

Ironically, those most at war with public expression of Christian imagery are usually in the forefront demanding public expression and acknowledgement—especially in public schools—of Islamic symbols and rituals. However, nowhere in Islamism do we see the seeds or the principles that animated the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If it was within Islam, then among the 57 Islamic countries we should have seen dozens that mirror America. But none do.

The ACLU’s demand of separation of church and state appears to be triggered against things Christian, not Islamic. This hypocrisy is shrouded through a semantic game wherein Judeo-Christian symbols are ostracized as “religious,” while Islamic rituals are embraced as “cultural” expressions, the latest manipulation of politically correct “multiculturalism.” Foot baths in school gyms tailor-made for Muslims and playing out Koran dramas in the classroom are very acceptable to the ACLU.

One senses the push for things Islamic by those hypocritically fighting Christian symbols arises because they know the essence of America depends upon its specific links to the Judeo-Christian ethic, and, for whatever warped reason, toppling traditional Americana is their goal. It has become obvious that when the ACLU talks of separation of religion and state they mean separation of state from Christianity.

As with so many situations involving the ACLU, in the name of protecting a minority they deny the majority its rights. A reverse fascism, a tyranny of the minority over the majority is taking place. It may be purposeful.

If America Isn’t Distinct, Patriotism Dies

Sooner or later, a people are called upon to sacrifice and risk life for the preservation of their society. In this terrorist milieu, Americans are aware of this for the first time in recent memory. But the more the ACLU strives to divest our society of what is traditional and dear to it—be it Christmas, the Boy Scouts, the Ten Commandments, or parental rights—the more it diminishes that which rouses people to sacrifice for society. Delinking the public face from the private heart, creating separate identities between the polity and the private, is a recipe for civic detachment and apathy.

Why sacrifice and risk all for an America that is no longer America, but Sweden? After all, the Swedes don’t. Clearly no one will go into harm’s way simply to preserve our way of life to play midnight basketball or watch YouTube.

America is ready to accept all who come here to become American, live by our laws, pledge allegiance to it, pose no danger, and come to contribute rather than demand that others financially support them. Yet it’s undeniable our foundational principles derive from the Judeo-Christian ethos, a Christian understanding of the Old and New Testaments. Christmas does an exemplary job of representing these ideals and should thus be positioned in public posterity within America’s Hall of Fame.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is president of Caucus for America and author of “Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit” (Evergreen).

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