What’s behind the attacks on Christmas?
The recent and on-going attempts by the far Left to eradicate the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child from American life are a cause for wonder. What is it about the birth of a little Jewish boy 2004 years ago that evokes such hatred?
Assuming one is an agnostic or even an atheist, isn’t the life of this little boy worthy of a least a little celebration? From all accounts Jesus led an exemplary life. His teachings brought to the world messages of peace and the idea of loving one’s neighbors as oneself. In the Muslim world, Jesus is revered as a great prophet. In the world of philosophy, Jesus is often ranked with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the great Stoics such as Epictetus – all of whom believed in a transcendent spirit.
So what is so offensive to the far Left about Christians taking a few days each year to celebrate the life of this little boy who grew up to give the world his enduring insights on how we should treat each other with respect, dignity and, above all, forgiveness?
Here are some possible explanations: If you are from the far-out Environmental Left, you might argue that all new births only add to what you perceive as an already over-populated planet. Thus, even the celebration and wonder that attends the Christian’s veneration of a birth occurring 2004 years ago somehow encourages more births.
If you are from the pro-abortion Left, a celebration that promotes thoughts about the sanctity of human life and the miracle of birth is, by itself, a guilt-provoking reminder that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life.
Here’s what the First Amendment says about religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Those who despise Christianity or any vestige thereof hang their hats on the phrase that was designed by the Founding Fathers to insure that the fledgling new government would not impose the Church of England as our state religion. The second phrase was put there to make clear that people of all religious persuasions should be able to practice and celebrate their religious beliefs without fear of censure by the government.
Because the First Amendment restricts the powers of Congress, it is logical to assume, in like manner, that the Founding Fathers did not intend for the courts to prohibit Christians or Jews or Muslims or any religious group from proclaiming their faith in any arena, public or private. If the Congress is not given the power to make laws prohibiting the practice of religion, then how can some judges take it upon themselves to do so?
Here’s the classic and obvious case of the proper application of the First Amendment to a public place like a square. Jews wish to place a Menorah in front of city hall and celebrate their Festival of Lights. Christians wish to place a manger scene in front of city hall, a scene that depicts the lowly birth of a child whom Christians regard as Divine. During Ramadan, Muslims wish to place a miniature Mosque like the Ka’ba in front of city hall and pray there five times a day.
How, tell me, would any of those violate the First Amendment as long as no religions are excluded from the public square? How, in the name of Yahweh, God or Allah would the permission of such activities lead to the establishment of a state religion?
Of course, such permission would not. In fact, to ban such activities violates the part of the First Amendment that says: Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
Neither logic nor law explains the banning of these religious expressions from the public square. So, we are left to conclude: It must be for reasons of agnosticism or atheism or far-out environmentalism or pro-abortion self-guilt.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2004. William Hamilton.