Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va.
A U.S. representative is defying the politically correct culture inside the Beltway – where earlier this month the House banned congressmen from sending out Christmas and Hanukkah cards – by producing a video that satirizes what he intones is the “suppression” of faith in America.
U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., filmed the video – titled “Merry __ and Happy __ from Rep. Scott Rigell” – from his congressional office and posted it on YouTube as a way of both skirting the House rule and taking a pointed jab at it.
“You may have seen … the guidance that members of Congress have received regarding what we can and, really, what we can’t say about the holidays,” Rigell says in the video. “And it’s really deflated, I think, the whole spirit of the season.”
Upon the word “deflated,” an inflatable Snoopy perched on a nearby table deflates, while a pair of ladies hold cards reading “Happy Hanukkah” and “Merry Christmas” walk through the background.
Purposefully standing in front of framed copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, Rigell gets a bit more serious.
“As I think about what the guidance is I’ve been given, and I try to reconcile that with some very important documents,” Rigell states, pointing to the frames behind him, “I find myself coming to this conclusion: It’s good and proper and right and constitutional for me to look into the camera and say to all of our friends and family across the second district and across the great Commonwealth of Virginia and the country, ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and wonderful and sincere holiday greetings from all of us in our office to each of you.’”
The full video can be seen below:
“I knew it was the right thing to do,” Rigell told WAVY-TV in Hampton Roads, Va. “This is America, and we cherish and value our right to express ourselves and our faith.”
In addition to the holiday greetings, Rigell’s video is clearly criticizing new franking rules in the House that ban holiday greetings such as “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” or even “Happy New Year” from being sent out in mass mailings paid for with tax dollars.
Rigell, however, takes exception to the rule.
“[Declaring that] I cannot use the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ and I cannot use the phrase ‘Happy Hanukkah’ is overstepping the bounds in America,” Rigell said. “It’s a small example of over-regulation that permeates this institution.”
Rigell told the station that his video didn’t cost the taxpayers a dime, so it doesn’t violate the franking rules, but that he felt the rules are sending the wrong message.
“This, I think, is really America at its best, is the celebration and the lifting up our faith, not the suppression of it,” Rigell said.
“Rep. Rigell likes to speak directly to the people of the second district via video quite a lot. In fact, we’ve made more than 100 videos this year. This one happened to strike a chord, and rightly so,” Kim Mosser Knapp, Rigell’s communications director told Daily Caller. “This nation is facing a lot of challenges right now. The last thing Congress needs to be doing is telling its members that we can’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah.’”