Thursday, December 14, 2006

The war on Christmas?

I don't think so! I think it's another axe to grind for the self-styled "persecuted" majority.

Here's an informative discussion on the basis of federal rulings concerning religious and secular holiday displays on public property.

It seems most religious displays are allowed on US government-owned property (contrary to many allegations) when they are in a secular context (including Santa and reindeer in a holiday display, for example) and don't represent a tacit endorsement of religion by the government (solely religious displays and deliberately excluding secular content, for example).

Then again, it seems the Bushes have declared "War on Christmas". The White House 2006 holiday card is just out – and it does not once mention the word “Christmas.”


ironjenny said...

Hi, Nanc!
Sometimes people jsut want to hate the Bushes. No matter what they do. Imagine the outcry if the HAD mentioned Christmas!
I like that the Old Testament is quoted, and by saying "the season", I infer that to mean the Christmas season, so I am OK with their cards this year. BTW, I have never received one, but I always know what they say!
Have a good day, and the photo you posted is beautiful!

nancytoby said...

Or maybe they're planning on sending a holiday seasonal greeting to one of the 18% of Americans who do not identify themselves as Christian!

Fe-lady said...

Being in the public schools we get all this shoved down our throats every year...I celebrate Christmas, so if you don't want your kid talking about Santa in speech class, then take them out of the equation for the season! End. Of. Story!

nancytoby said...

Heh. As for me, I think Santa is pretty darned secular!!

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nancytoby said...

Farkin' spammer. I always go to blogs like that and flag them for objectionable content. I don't know if it actually does anything, but it makes me feel better.

21st Century Mom said...

There is no war on Christmas - only people who like to argue.

21st Century Mom said...

I just looked at the card and with a quote from the Bible I think we can conclude that is celebrates Christianity. It has a nice message, though so CUT IT OUT, NANCY!! There, there - go have a Christmas cookie,dear. You'll feel better. ;-)

nancytoby said...

Psalms? That covers Judaism and Islam and mainstream Christianity and God knows what else!! Sorry, no cigar!

Growl!! I already ate all the Christmas cookies in the house. Send more!!!!

Spokane Al said...


I agree with 20th Century Mom. Let's pause a bit on whether or not the president has actually declared war on Christmas and just concentrate on enjoying this special time with friends and loved ones.

Politics are for another day . . . perhaps.

Comm's said...

I don't disagree with the thrust of your point, what is religious v. secular on public property.

i think the Presidents Christmas card is a big hulla-ballu by left wing extremists trying to confuse people. I don't think that is your position Nancy, your just using the illustration for the post.

The real crux, is it’s the secularization of America’s favorite holiday and the ever-stronger push toward a neutered 'holiday' season so that non-Christians won’t be even the slightest bit offended.

People who celebrate a Traditional Christmas get upset when they’re told more and more these days that celebrating Christmas in any public way is a violation of church and state separation.

I think you brought up a good flash point for the season. You will certainly get more responses.

nancytoby said...

Good comment!!

I think it's always been a secular holiday in many respects - well, unless you consider Saturnalia to be a religious holiday. :-)

This is a good book on that topic, that I cited in an earlier comment but it got eaten by the columns:

The Battle for Christmas (Paperback)
by Stephen Nissenbaum

Personally, I don't think the hullaballoo is by left-wing extremists, actually. I think it's provoked by right-wing extremists like Jerry Falwell who are trying to browbeat businesses into using the term "Christmas" to promote their sales events or whatever:

21st Century Mom said...

One more comment. I actually like it that we are encouraged to say 'Happy Holidays' to someone we don't know. No harm, no foul. I also like to see Nativity Scenes and Menorahs in the same place. I celebrate Christmas unapologetially even though I don't go to Church. I celebrate Channuka whenever I'm invited to a Channuka party. I love the Holidays and I resent all the press about loud mouths on either side of 'the war on Christmas'. I think Nancy's point is that there is no War on Christmas - just an effort to recognize that not everyone celebrates Christmas - some people just don't and that's okay with me and apparently it's okay with with the Bush household. Or maybe it's not but I'm not unhappy that they got with the program.

nancytoby said...

Heh, yeah, I always like a good party, regardless of whatever holiday name you want to put on it!!

What people "are told" is a violation of church and state separation is often much different than what the law actually states - which is why I posted that reference to the actual Supreme Court decisions which do allow many types of Christmas observances.

Frankly, I haven't personally seen too many people (of any faith) who are upset by having someone wish them a Merry Christmas. The people who are making a big deal about it these days (as documented in the helpsavechristmas links I provided) are the evangelical Christians who are all upset over holiday greetings that are inclusive of people of all persuasions.

Iron Pol said...

There Nancy goes, bringing out the "Pol" side of my blog identity...

Something to consider, Nancy. In at least three school districts in this area, and in my nieces' school district, they have been told there will be no parties (holiday or otherwise) in school, because. It had been cut back to "no parties that could be confused with anything religious." Now, it's just nothing that might actually celebrate Christmas. As a Christian, it's difficult to see that as anything but hostile towards religion (Christianity or otherwise).

The problem is left-wing or right-wing extremists. It's both. Most Americans are fairly centrist with a liberal or conservative lean. Liberal extremists cry foul on separation of church and state. Conservatives go nuts about that. Those caught in the middle throw up their hands, claim a no-win situation, and throw out the baby with the bathwater.

But if we consider the Declaration of Independence refers to our Creator as the source of our rights (God given rights) and that the Constitution Convention both opened and recessed for prayer, it is difficult to believe our founders wanted no interaction between church and state. They simply wanted each to let the other run itself.

The "war" most conservatives cite isn't a war on Christmas. That's just one battle. The war is that of progressives attempting to remove God from the equation. Once God is out of the picture, than any rights we have come from the government, and can therefore be taken away.

nancytoby said...

I can't really comment on your local school district situation, not knowing the surrounding facts. My daughter's class has a holiday party scheduled for Tuesday.

But . . . there's no mention of God in the Constitution, which is the Law of the Land. So your conclusion is deeply flawed. God hasn't bestowed any rights or laws - good sound logic of sensible human beings working together is what bestowed those rights. If you want to call that God, okey-dokey.

The Declaration of Independence is an important document, but not law and not the legal basis for any rights. And note the significant order in the first mention of any diety there? "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God".

nancytoby said...

And to continue my rant....

Whether or not some landed gentry and politicos had an overtly public display of piety in their meetings over 200 years ago is just about as relevant as whether they had coffee or tea during their breaks. It's simply a reflection of the custom of the day, and may have been a bone to toss to the more superstitious members of the group.

It's not national policy nor precedent. It didn't make it into any of the documents.

And I'm pretty sure that Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson just mouthed the words. :-)

runr53 said...


nancytoby said...

LOL! And merry Christmas to you too!!


Ladyrunner said...

I despise politics. That said, I think the card actually has a Christian theme running through it.

The scripture that is quoted says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

I have heard of Christ referred to as the Word. So, to me personally, that scripture would mean that Christ is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path. (Meaning that Christ's teachings and example is what I should follow and He leads the way.)

Regardless, if it means "the Word" being Christ or "Christ's word" (meaning what Christ says), it's still all about Christ.

(I hope that made sense!)

nancytoby said...

I'm pretty sure a Jew or a Muslim would have a different take on that part of Psalms!! :-)