Thursday, December 22, 2011


Jon Stewart mocks the idea of a “War on Christmas” by featuring images of huge Christmas (or “holiday”) trees located in public spaces throughout the nation. The bit provides a stark verbal-visual juxtaposition for the amusement of progressive nabobs.

Logically, such anecdotal evidence is as invalid as concluding that malnutrition doesn’t exist based on photographs of overweight Americans.

If Mr. Stewart directed his attention to the various “Winter” programs performed in public schools throughout the country—or to the city of Santa Monica—he might come to a different conclusion.

That city’s Palisades Park has long displayed a series of Nativity scenes assembled by various church groups. This year, however, only two of the 21 display areas focus on Christmas. Another, appropriately enough, has a Hanukkah theme.

Three, however, tout anti-religious messages, and the rest are empty—all thanks to non-resident atheist activist Damon Vix and his cohorts from American Atheists Inc. and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

The Trinity of in-your-face displays wish holiday viewers a “Happy Solstice,” place the Christian faith on the same level as the Olympian god Neptune, and provide spectators with this intellectually dubious observation by Thomas Jefferson: “Religions are all alike—founded on fables and mythologies.”

Apparently the rigorously applied PC rule that regularly silences public religious expressions that “might give offense” doesn’t apply when the offending shoe is on an atheist’s foot.

The fact that most of the atheist-reserved spaces in Santa Monica are empty speaks volumes about the ongoing war on Christmas. Displays that once gave joy and hope now offer nothing to lift the spirit. Angels, shepherds, wise men, and lovable critters are replaced by a void that aptly symbolizes an uncaring, godless universe.

Scenes depicting the holy family are banished. In their place stands a barren, undecorated sign whose “Happy Solstice” greeting mocks the spiritual legacy of a civilization that for almost two millennia has expressed gratitude to a god who revealed himself in the humble form of an infant.

San Diego’s “December Nights” in Balboa Park provides a more understated version of secularization. The Holy Day that must not be prominently displayed is mentioned indirectly in the third paragraph of the event’s Internet description—and then only as the name of an international festival where one can sample “food from around the globe.”

This “secular sanitization” of our cultural heritage brings to mind Alfred North Whitehead’s delightful rebuke of Voltaire’s excessively critical philosophical musings: “If men cannot live on bread alone, still less can they do so on disinfectants.”

Kudos to cities like Poway that still embrace these “offensive” but uplifting words: Merry Christmas.

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