By Rees Lloyd

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under Lenin, Stalin and their successor dictators infamously assigned a “political commissar” to all military units on land, sea and air. Their purpose: To censor and shield from military members all speech that was not in conformity with the politically correct socialist, secularist, atheist, “party line” of the totalitarian ruling Communist Party, communism being socialism on steroids.

Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party, or Nazi Party, while competing with and denouncing the German Communist Party, aped Stalin’s policy by assigning Nazi political cadres to military units after Hitler’s rise to totalitarian dictatorial power in the 1930s.

Mao Tsetung also aped Stalin’s policy by assigning political commissars to censor all information that might reach Red Army members when Mao’s Chinese Communist Party came to power in China in 1949.

Now, in the transformed America of 2013, the progressive liberal Democrat regime led by President Barack Hussein Obama is aping Stalin by having its appointees censor speech at Veterans Administration facilities to prohibit schoolchildren from giving their hand-made “Christmas cards” or singing “Christmas carols” to veterans confined to VA hospitals during the Christmas holidays.

That is, Americans are allowed by progressive liberal Democrats in power to utter the word “holiday” in VA facilities but are forbidden to utter the name of that holiday, i.e., “Christmas,” because it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, on Dec. 25, 0000, 2013 years ago, in what is now Israel, a land uniquely referred to as the “Holy Land” by Jews, Christians and Muslims.

So absurd is the politically correct secular extremism of progressive liberal Democrats that Iowa City censors actually prevented members of the American Legion, all of whom are wartime veterans, from giving Christmas gifts to their comrade hospitalized veterans if the “wrapping paper” contained the forbidden word “Christmas,” as in “Merry Christmas.”

This is further evidence of the truth of the proposition that if you scratch a sweet-talking, hopey-changey, “I love the people” progressive liberal, you’ll find a totalitarian hidden just beneath the surface, convinced that they should lead by the nose “the people” they claim to so profoundly love and “only want to help.”

The reality is that progressive liberals like Obama, et al., love people like they love dogs – as long as they are docile, willing to be led around, tail-wagging grateful for handouts of food and “treats,” and adoringly devoted and obedient to their masters, no matter how many incompetent decisions they make.

The late Richard John Neuhaus, brilliant American writer, thinker, theologian, Lutheran pastor, later Catholic priest and founder of First Things magazine, authored the seminal book “The Naked Public Square,” first published, fittingly, in 1984.

Neuhaus presciently warned that if Americans allowed the public square to be denuded of expressions and symbols of America’s own religious history and heritage, rendering it barren of religious expression, thought and values as part of the public discourse and debate on public issues shaping the culture and conscience of the nation, the vacuum would be filled – filled by the “state,” i.e., the government, which would dictate what speech, symbols and thought would be approved and allowed, just as in every totalitarian socialist state.

That is precisely what is happening as America is “transformed” by progressive liberalism, as Barack Hussein Obama promised he would do if elected in 2008. Extremist progressive liberals, epitomized by the ACLU, are attacking and removing from the public square practically every expression or symbol of our American history and heritage if it has a religious aspect, almost always the cross.

For example, consider the fanatical extremism of the ACLU, which has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism. The ACLU conducted a 10-year legal war in a failed attempt to destroy the cross honoring veterans at the remote Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial and is now in its 24th year of litigation to destroy the cross honoring veterans at the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

Now, veterans confined to VA hospitals during the Christmas holidays are to be denied the comfort of Christmas cards or the singing of traditional Christmas carols by American children grateful for their military service, or even gifts from their comrade veterans if not politically correctly wrapped, by diktat of national government censors, another transformative “first time in history” policy of the Obama progressive liberal presidency.

Fortunately, some Americans, particularly veterans who have not been “transformed,” are fighting back.

The American Legion, the largest wartime veterans’ organization in the country with some 2.4 million members, announced it has “asked VA Central Office for an explanation of why it appears that Christians are being singled out for restrictions, especially when the holiday honors the birth of Jesus Christ.”

American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger said: “First of all, VA’s decision to prohibit the delivery of Christmas cards that mention Christmas is ludicrous. Second of all, VA has been down this road before, and recently. VA has been warned through a federal court decree to stop denying freedom of religious expression at its facilities. It’s pretty obvious the Dallas VA did not get that memo.”

Similarly, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, an Army veteran and an American Legionnaire whose 5th Supervisorial District has a larger population than some states, has called for repeal of banning of Christmas at the huge VA facility there. In a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, he wrote:

“The Veteran’s Administration policy requiring hospitals to refuse cards from schoolchildren that say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God Bless You’ is an offensive form of censorship that should be repealed. This policy violates freedom of speech and religion, along with denying American people the opportunity to express gratitude and support to those who have fought to preserve our freedoms through the words and thoughts of their choosing.”

Liberty Institute in Texas, which represents the Mt. Soledad Association in the fight against the ACLU, announced that it would sue if the VA does not rescind the ban on Christmas.

The Alliance Defending Freedom in Arizona, Thomas More Law Center in the Midwest, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund in San Diego and other public interest law firms defending freedom have offered support.

But this is not a battle veterans should fight alone, nor a fight which should be limited to courts. The American people should rise up loud and clear to demand that all members of the House and Senate should act to repudiate and demand repeal of this outrageous banning of Christmas in the VA by the Executive Branch of Barack Hussein Obama.

Consider: If we Americans, inheritors of the freedom bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers and preserved for us by America’s veterans, cannot even protect and preserve the tradition of Christmas from desecration and abolition in the VA by intolerant progressive liberals, into what kind of people have we been “transformed”?


Rees Lloyd, a longtime California civil rights attorney and onetime ACLU staff attorney, is the co-founder and director of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project of the American Legion Department of California.

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