Well, Tiny Tim, it’s time that you learned about the war on Christmas.
It’s 2013 in America, and the war rages on….Actually, no it doesn’t. You see, there is an imagined war going on in America. Um, well, perhaps I should start at the beginning, to give this a little perspective.
In the beginning, the Puritans banned Christmas. For about 30 years, it was outlawed in MA.
“But, I thought it was those atheists waging war on Christmas?”
Nope, at least not in the beginning.
Later, it was a Jewish war on Christmas, because, you know, they didn’t celebrate it…the heathens. In more recent times, the John Birch Society propagated the myth that it was the godless communists waging war on Christmas. That makes perfect sense, right? In a time where we change our pledge to include God, and we replace “E Pluribus Unum” with “In God We Trust” on our money, the fear of the rise of communism was high.
“Well, fear of something sounds like an odd reason to make up a war.” Indeed it does, Tiny Tim.
Today, the war is fought on new fronts. The righteous Christian army is battling attacks on Christmas from every side! It’s chaos!
“Wait, wait, wait. You said the war was imaginary!”
Oh, yes, of course. I’m sorry. I got a bit carried away.
There are really two major things today that are pointed at as the war on Christmas. One involves various secular groups speaking out against, and even seeking lawsuits against, government entities having sectarian Christmas displays.
“Well, that seems silly.”
It does, Tiny Tim, but when you really look into it, it makes sense.
You see, the establishment clause of the first amendment of the constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This is what frames a separation between church and state in America, one upheld time and time again by the supreme court. When a government entity uses tax payer funded property to showcase a single religion, then they are taking preference in a country with many religions.
“But, aren’t most Americans Christian?”
Yes, though non-Christians are rapidly growing in number. Even then, however, the government couldn’t stand for Christianity without choosing a denomination, and so many of the denominations contradict each other in doctrine that it wouldn’t work very well. That’s why the founding fathers sought to separate the two, especially after seeing what a merging of church and government in England could become. Also, though they are the majority and we’re a land ruled by the majority, the constitution is framed in such a way as to provide protections for the minority from the tyranny of the majority. This is primarily housed within the duties of the supreme court, who have already ruled in favor of the separation.
“Oh, that makes sense. What’s the other battle?”
Well, this is the really big one. Christians all over the country are up in arms because people working in department stores dare to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” This started with Amazon and has spread from there. Even this year a woman punched a Salvation Army volunteer for saying “Happy Holidays.”
I told you that it got heated. In the end, however, they’re missing the point. People in this country are from many different religions and celebrate many different things this time of year. Whether someone says “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas,” or any other holiday greeting, the best thing to do is to take it to be saying exactly what it means, “I wish you well.” That is what this season is all about.
This time of year, even us “filthy heathens,” the secularists, atheists, humanists, and whatnot of the country find something to celebrate. We go to Human Light Celebrations, a time for friends and good conversation, reflecting on the year and planning for the future. We spend time with family. Sometimes, we just take time to ourselves.
To some, like secular musician AdeKwit, it means family, as he expresses in his newest Christmas song, Sad Xmas. For myself, Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” really brings home the meaning, especially not having been able to be home for the holidays for a number of years.
“That’s really cool! So, what do we do now that was know all of this?”
Well, Tiny Tim, to me it’s very simple. This is a time for good tidings, no matter what you believe, or don’t believe. There’s no war on Christmas. The only war is in the minds of those who miss the whole meaning of it all completely. So, take a step back to reflect, stop fighting any wars this Christmas, and remember that everyone has a reason for the season…even if it’s different than yours.
From Tiny Tim and myself…..We wish you well!
Contributor: Robert Sacerich
Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.
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