That time of year again….the invented "war on Christmas"

Earlier this week, Finntann, one of the astute bloggers at Western Hero, penned a piece based on an American Atheists billboard going up in several cities. The resulting discussion was constructive and civil.

On the other end of the pendulum swing, the Catholic League is apparently countering with a billboard of their own in Los Angeles.

I would proffer that calling religion a fairy tale isn’t terribly productive….nor is labeling those who don’t share your belief [and your quest for preferential treatment] ‘haters’.
In the spirit of the holidays….or Christmas if you prefer…..it’s important to remember the actual definitions of religious liberty and religious persecution. Rachel Held Evans, author, skeptic and Christian….offers a handy flowchart for the season, along with some sage words:

There is a pernicious rumor that resurfaces every Advent season and spreads across social media faster than a cold in a kindergarten class. 

It’s the rumor that God can be “kept out” of Christmas. 

You may have heard it from Kirk Cameron or an anchor at Fox News or an army of culture warriors who have once again worked themselves into a frenzy over the “War on Christmas.” Galvanized by fear, they storm checkout counters to demand that clerks issue them a “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” and cry persecution when inflatable manger scenes are moved from public courthouses to private property. They pine after the good-old-days when Christians could force Jewish kids to sing Christmas carols at school and they demand that every gift purchased, every mall opened late, every credit card maxed out must be done so in Jesus’ name or else Christ will be “kept out” of Christmas. They do it because someone told them that God needs a nod from the Empire to show up, forgetting somehow that the story of Advent is the story of how God showed up as a Jew in the Roman Empire.

In a barn.  

As an oppressed minority. 

To the applause of a few poor shepherds.

The whole story of Advent is the story of how God can’t be kept out. God is present. God is with us. God shows up—not with a parade but with the whimper of a baby, not among the powerful but among the marginalized, not to the demanding but to the humble. From Advent to Easter, the story of Jesus should teach us that God doesn’t need a mention in our pledge or on our money or over the loudspeaker at the mall to be present, and when we fight like spoiled children to “keep” God in those things, we are fighting for idols. We’re chasing wind. 

Religious persecution is real. Suffering is real. But sharing the public square is not persecution and being wished “happy holidays” causes no one to suffer. 

Merry Christmas, Chanukah Sameach (Happy Chanukah) and Happy Holidays

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3 thoughts on “That time of year again….the invented "war on Christmas"

  1. Nice post.

    I am Catholic, and I think the Catholic League and that angry Irishman whose outraged face is on TV all the time do us more harm than good.

    In the spirit of the season, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and in the spirit of ecumenical comity, have a Happy Festivus!

    Like

  2. And I wish you the same! My wife is a Catholic…but has serious issue with the antics of the Arlington (VA) Diocese (think Pope Benedict's Vatican West).

    After last nights PAC-12 Championship Game…..I think I'll be celebrating Duckmas this year!

    Like

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