Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. Look for Part 2 on Monday.
The spiritual Grinches in our nation are accelerating their war against Christmas as never before. And they are tragically convincing growing numbers of our fellow citizens – primarily those in our nation’s public schools and public administration – that Christmas should be publicly shunned, replaced by nebulous substitutes designed to avoid offending those who are all-so-easily outraged.
But adherents of this colossal effort to create a secular utopia have forgotten two significant realities:
- Our founders were men who explicitly embraced Judeo-Christian principles in the founding of this nation. Even those who were Deists openly recognized the need for the citizenry to fall to their collective knees and beseech God’s favor. They understood the need to recognize God in our Constitution, in our courts and in our schools.
- Our fellow citizens do not want a spiritual sanitization effort to sweep out all vestiges of Christianity from the public square. One need look no further than an AOL poll this week. An astounding 89 percent of respondents (as of Wednesday afternoon) answered in the affirmative to the question, “Should religion be included in public holiday celebrations?”
The so-called mainstream media often portray radical secularists as reasonable individuals, but the people at the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and other such groups are practitioners of an extremist movement that would completely outlaw God, Christianity and any remnant of such from the public arena.
And they are, in many cases, winning this war.
That’s why this week the student members of the Columbia High School brass ensemble in Maplewood, N.J., were told they could not play any Christmas-related songs – not even instrumental versions. (We wouldn’t want some student or parent to get offended by a wordless tune, would we?)
This is the milieu of outright censorship that many students face today. Their teachers and administrators have become convinced (primarily through fear campaigns by leftist groups) that even the most blurred mention of Christmas would be an outright constitutional offense.
They are wrong. Disastrously wrong!
Other anti-Christmas strategies have gained headlines recently:
- TARGET will not allow the Salvation Army to collect funds at their stores, meaning that the Army will lost about $9 million this year;
- Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have prohibited the phrase “Merry Christmas”;
- Denver’s “Parade of Lights,” which has outlawed religious expression, is now considering allowing a Christian group to participate in the event;
- New York Mayor David Bloomberg now refers to the giant Christmas tree in the city as a holiday tree.
Other examples abound as a few Americans attempt to oust Christmas from the public vernacular. Leaders of religious freedom-based legal groups around the country tell me that during this time of year they see a hefty incursion of anti-religious expression cases.
One of those organizations is the Orlando, Fla.-based Liberty Counsel (which now has a divisional office on the Liberty University campus), which is involved in hundreds of cases each year wherein attorneys protect the rights of Americans to express their faith.
Christmas remains legal
Mathew Staver, founder and general counsel at Liberty Counsel, says that that publicly sponsored Nativity scenes on public property are, in fact, constitutional as long the display includes a secular symbol. The government may publicly exhibit depictions of Mary, Joseph and Jesus or a Menorah if such scenes incorporates the image of Santa Claus or Frosty the Snowman.
In addition, public-school students may sing Christian Christmas carols such as “Silent Night” as long as they also sing secular songs, such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Furthermore, schools may not prohibit access to religious books, because to do so discriminates against the religious viewpoint of the message contained in the book. Public employers may not discriminate against staff by prohibiting Christmas celebration.
Mr. Staver also says that privately sponsored nativity scenes erected and displayed by citizens or groups in a public area are constitutional and require no secular symbols to be included.
“This nation was founded by people who sought to freely exercise their religious liberties,” Mr. Staver said. “We have no intention of letting these liberties fall by the wayside or be chilled every holiday season by uninformed or hostile government officials.”
Mr. Staver tells me that all 600 of his attorneys are available to provide free legal aid to students or employees around the nation who face religious discrimination. Visit the organization’s website for more information on Liberty Counsel.
Other similar religious-freedom legal groups are actively working to protect Americans’ rights to express their faith. The task is daunting because leftist organizations are aggressively attempting to redefine America in their own Godless image. They seek a national mandate.
While I celebrate the fact that men like Mat Staver and others are standing up for American values, it is imperative that parents and grandparents ensure that their children understand the Judeo-Christian ancestry that is undeniable. We must also make certain that our children’s schools are not gagging their rights to live out their faith in the classroom.
The effort to preserve our religious heritage and future requires the diligence of us all. May we, through God’s grace, faithfully safeguard the wonderful Christian birthright of America.