By Mark David Blum, Esq.
What would the Christmas season be without someone somewhere giving fodder to the extremist Christians to argue that Americans have gone to War against Christmas. Somehow we managed to survive a Black Death Friday and retailers are piping in the Christianity and Christmas as fast as their CD changers can play them. “Christ” has returned to Christmas this year and all of Christian America is at peace.
So let me take aim.
Back in the mid-1980’s, I penned an Honor’s Thesis at college on the subject of social change and social control. Using the model of cults such as Scientology, Synanon, and the Unification Church, I made my argument about a fundamental change that has occurred in the manipulation and change in society. Specifically, among others, I posited that unlike several hundred years ago, since no new ‘society’ can find any real estate on the planet available to stake out a claim, they have moved lawyers to the center of the organization. In doing so, these anomic organizations can find a legitimate space within an existing society. Additionally, these cults are able to use their legal expertise to maintain a defense against society’s attempts to shut them down.
We have been badgered for a generation by Christian extremists on how Christ had been removed from America’s Christmas. They attacked retailers and singers, charged America had turned anti-Christian, and made more noise than an Iraqi funeral. Though the right wing crazies no longer control our federal legislature, they still control the media and compete with extremist Islamic Imams for the loudest mouths on the planet
‘Congress shall make no law … establishing’ any religion. By operation of the 14th Amendment, this law applies to the States and Local Governments. Hence, no government at any level can act or legislate any activity that endorses or condones or enforces the dogma of any particular belief system. Thomas Jefferson said it was an insurmountable wall separating the State from the Church. Ratified by Congress in 1797, the Treaty of Tripoli says at Article 11 that, "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Some argue we are of a Judeo Christian heritage, but that too is false as those two religions are not on equal footing. Christianity is a cult offspring of Judaism, founded on radical leftist ideology, and ultimately forced upon the European world at the point of a sword. Judaism, on the other hand, is a precious gift from God.
Next, we recognize that in the United States, Congress has legislated that Christmas is a national holiday. With the exception of skeleton crews and our soldiers in the Middle East, government at all levels shuts down for the day. Businesses close. The post office is sealed tight. An entire nation of all religions takes a day off.
Now, if we assume that no government of the United States would ever sanction a religious holiday, we have to assume that the “Christmas” that legislators had in mind was the Christmas of Santa Claus and Rudolph, of gift giving and office parties, of Mistletoe and Chestnuts. It is very unlikely that this national holiday is intended by design or operation to be a State sponsored celebration of the birth of the Christian messiah.
Consider if only for a moment switching this discussion to the subject of Easter. Since by operation it always falls on a Sunday, whether to have a national holiday has not come up as a discussion since everything is always closed on Sunday anyway. But let’s theorize for a moment that Easter came up on a Tuesday. Could this nation ever recognize a national holiday celebrating Easter and the death and resurrection of the Christian messiah? Of course not, unless Easter would become a general celebration of Jews and Pagans also and we could have this discussion again over whether to wish each other ‘Happy Holiday’ or ‘Merry Easter’ and would Easter then be about the resurrection or Easter bunnies and ham?
Must ‘Christ’ be inserted into the public square for ‘Christmas’? It would seem that whether Christ exists in Christmas is an experience unique to the individual. No school or State should ever compel such an interpretation.
The problem with ‘Christmas’ is the timely clash with several other major religious holidays. At the same time as Christians celebrate the birth, Jews celebrate the flame, and Pagans celebrate the harvest. Cultures around the world have year end celebrations. Here in the United States, many of those cultures are well represented. Each group is entitled to our nation’s respect and we must accept and tolerate those beliefs. Whether your holiday be Festivus or Kwanzaa, we should all take joy in your celebration and happiness. Is that not what Christians expect from the rest of us at Christmastime?
Where the problem comes in is in how you deal with people. Can you look at someone and determine whether to wish them a Happy Hannukah or a Frolicking Festivus. Should our language morph the word ‘Christmas’ into a generic holiday greeting? The words “Merry Christmas” are not intended to be used by everbody and everywhere and that in each salutation will be implied the real meaning of Christian Christmas.
The real problem lies in the concept of the United States being a giant melting pot. In a sense, we are indeed the amalgamation of a universe of concepts and ideas. The people of this nation come from all over and but-for the Indians, none of us is native to this land. Unfortunately, when you apply a melting pot theory, what you get is one ugly shade a gray. Mixing all the colors of the rainbow together gives you a very drab and uniform shade. None of us want that.
Instead, what we need is to realize that we are a nation of 300 million peoples. Each of us is unique and has a specific set of standards, goals, beliefs, morals, and ideals. Bringing all these diverse ideologies together is a difficult chore; one which we have done damn well over the years. The movements that seek to homogenize us into a single culture take away our uniqueness and make us all drab. We need to celebrate difference without tolerating the trampling of one upon another.
There shall be no Christ in the public Christmas.
In conclusion, I want wish my Christian friends a Merry Christmas, my Jewish friends a Happy Hannukah, my African friends a Peaceful Kwanzaa, and to my Seinfeld friends a Freaky Festivus,
Better yet, how about to all my friends and foes alike … HAPPY HOLIDAYS