Warning: I am about to say something very offensive. You should either stop reading now or get ready to be outraged. But I am going to do it anyway, so here it comes:
I do not wish you “Happy Holidays,” (Happy Holy Days … hmm … mmm … maybe I ought to reconsider the offensive value of that phrase, too), but I want you to have a very, merry Christmas.
There … I said it. Are you ready to call the Sheriff’s Office to come get me? This one word — Christmas — seems to have the power to irritate, enrage, revile, and repulse more people than any other. It is more powerful than fire to Frankenstein’s monster, a silver bullet to a werewolf, or a crucifix to a vampire.
Why do apparently so many people refuse to say that hateful word? Why does any mention of that dreadful day seem to be slinking for the shadows like a shameful expression of some bygone bigotry?
We are told that because it is religious, we must expunge every vestige of Christmas from our public life. School children can’t sing Christmas carols any more, and they no longer have a Christmas holiday. It is now a semester break.
The management of some senior apartments in Newhall, Calif., has banned menorahs and a Christmas tree from the complex common area. Rhode Island governor, Lincoln Chafee, recently declared the big evergreen tree in his capitol rotunda is a “holiday tree,” not a Christmas tree.
Never mind that Christmas has been approved as a legal national holiday since President Grant. The logic is the government is not allowed to promote anything religious.
Even a church in Little Rock, Ark., canceled its production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” after local public elementary schools refused to take their students to matinee performances. The religious connotation in the play could be inappropriate, harmful, or offensive.
Now that I have you thoroughly infuriated, I want you to calm down and engage your brain for a second.
We are told the reason for purging Christmas from the public square is that it is religious, and the government is not allowed to promote religion. I am here to tell you unequivocally that is a lie.
The government promotes religion every day! They can’t help it. They can’t not do it. No one can. Every business, every government, and, yes, every school, EVERY DAY teaches and promotes religion. It’s just not CHRISTIAN religion.
Well, if it’s not Christian religion, then what is it? It goes by many names like secularism, atheism, naturalism, humanism, and materialism. This religion’s basic doctrines are these:
There is no God. All there is is the natural, material world which came into being by natural laws. The world is run by random interactions of matter and energy which produce complex organization and complex organisms.
When I die, I cease to exist, and one day the whole universe will stop because all usable energy will be gone. Humans are highly evolved animals who can create knowledge themselves.
We decide who is valuable and who is not. We decide what is right and what is not. We, therefore, are all naturally good because we follow our own moral standards.
Since we are all good, then the basic problem with human society can’t be that we are bad. It must be inequality.
None of these beliefs are really scientific, but are, in fact, metaphysical and religious. No, there is no deity (except ourselves). There is no place of worship (except in front of a full-length mirror).
Yet, these basic doctrines comprise the official religion of today’s government, media, law, and education. They are accepted with as much faith as the Christian religion. They are promoted by journalists, teachers, and lawyers with the surety and fervor of an evangelist.
When these secular clergy assert that public institutions cannot promote religion, what they are REALLY saying is they want to be free to promote their religion with no competition!
It is time for us to say, “Enough!” There is no religion-free government, school, or business. If you want to bow to Mecca in the courthouse square, then you should be free to do so. You should be able to put up a menorah or a nativity WITH public dollars.
Don’t tell me we can’t promote a religion with public funds. We do it every day.
I don’t hate anyone. I’m just tired of secular missionaries shoving their religion down my throat. The alternative is not religious neutrality. That can’t be done. A religion is always promoted, so let’s just admit it.
What is really in danger is our freedom to believe, follow, and promote the religion we choose.
So again, I say (while I still can) “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and all your family!”
I wholeheartedly celebrate that Jesus, the Savior of all mankind, was born (even if it wasn’t really on Dec. 25). The God who made us loved us all so much that He became a man. He lived with us and died for us that we may live forever with Him if we want to.
[David Richardson of Peachtree City is the executive director of The Assumptions Project. He has a master’s degree from Oxford University, and is a university consultant in education and culture. He is a recognized expert on the religious attitudes and beliefs of university professors. He, his wife and children have lived in Fayette County for over 22 years.]