It Takes Courage To Keep Christ in Christmas
- 8 December 2006 by Author 0 Comments
It Takes Courage To Keep Christ in Christmas
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 12/08/06
Christmas is a joyous time of year, not just for Christians, but for all who heartily engage in the festivities of the season. People are a little more friendly, hearts a little softer, and acts of kindness and generosity increase through this time of year. Appropriate for the celebration of the birthday of the Prince of Peace.
But it’s become increasingly difficult to celebrate publicly the birthday of Him whose birth we acknowledge. Public parades, like the one in Chicago, disallow an openly Christ oriented float; companies issue policies against personnel saying “Merry Christmas,” in favor of the secular greeting, “Happy Holidays;” and watchdog groups raise their antennae a little higher just itching for a fight over anything that might have too much of “Christ” in it.
All very surprising developments in a country that declares in its very constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Too many in our society focus strictly on the establishment clause ostensibly forgetting altogether the free exercise clause. Or perhaps they’re aware of it, but they think that it only applies to minority religious groups. Certainly, from their perspective, Christians are not to be allowed free exercise. Someone might be offended if we show our Christianity as a nation.
Interestingly, nearly 9 out of every 10 Americans claims to be a Christian. About the same ratio as Muslims in Egypt or Kuwait, and about 10% higher than the percentage of Jews in Israel. Would it be logical for Egypt or any of the Middle Eastern countries to not publicly acknowledge Mohammed? Should Christians in Israel be offended at the display of a Menorah?
So why is it that in a nation of 90% Christians, and where 97% of the populace celebrates Christmas, we are to cower to a small minority and hide our religion in the closet? Why is it that businesses are more interested in not offending 10% of the population that they are willing to risk offending the other 90%?
It seems that the 90% has become used to having their freedom of expression rights trampled by the 10%. The 90% apparently doesn’t take offense as easily as the 10% does. When you think about it, you can’t offend me unless I let you. You can say anything to me, assault my sense of propriety in any way, yet unless I give you power over my attitude, you can in no way offend me. Yet it would seem that the 10% gives that power readily, anxious to have someone do or say something that they can take offense at, whether intended or not.
Tolerance, for some reason, seems to be expected from Christians, but not others. We must be willing to tolerate secularism hijacking our holy days, aberrant sexual parades in our streets, and extend the freedom of religious expression that Christians are disallowed by the 10%. Tolerance, in other words, is not a universal quality to be expected from all since the small minority has absolutely none for Christians. Like George Orwell’s Animal Farm, all beliefs are equal, but some beliefs are more equal than others. The result is extreme intolerance towards Christians from people who talk so much about tolerating all views and religions.
Ignorance of the law (the Constitution), overly zealous courts, and the ACLU has somehow been able to intimidate the majority of us into submission as we continue to see the real reason for the celebration of Christmas gradually, yet forcefully removed from our culture. Those who “choke at a gnat,” the open celebration of the Christian faith, are typically the same who “swallow a camel,” demanding tolerance of everyone but themselves. From their perspective, transvestite parades are constitutionally protected, but nativity scenes are not.
Many in the academic world somehow think it to be chic to denounce, disparage, and criticize Christians. If anyone in our midst should be most tolerant, it should be our educators. They are the sieves of our culture, sifting the academic and cultural chaff from the kernels of truth and knowledge. Of them, more tolerance of all faiths should be expected.
Thank you to the businesses that have the courage to actually use the Christmas appellation rather than “Holiday Tree,” etc., and to KLCE, that all month long plays Christmas music, including traditional carols that actually say “Christ” in them! And thank you to you teachers who have the courage to sing Christmas Carols with your students. We can’t conscionably take Christ out of Christmas any more than we can take Martin Luther King out of the observance of his birthday.
May this Christmas season find us all more tolerant, from all perspectives. May we be less willing to be offended, and eclectically gather the positive elements of all religion’s holy days. And may we be filled with a spirit of love and giving that spills into the rest of the year, not just manifested during the Christmas season, whether we’re Christians or not.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.