By JAMES PEELE
Special to The SWT
If one watches Fox News or listens to talk radio, they will hear news stories and opinions about the “War on Christmas.” Fox will illustrate that with current examples of schools, municipalities, towns, counties, cities, and even states removing Christmas displays of one sort or another. Sometimes it involves Nativity scenes, other times just removing the word Christmas from their pronouncements or prohibiting any reference to Christianity or Jesus Christ. Schools referring to winter break rather than Christmas break, holiday tree rather than Christmas tree are classic examples. Several years ago major department stores (Macy’s, Walmart, Kmart, Target, and others) issued instructions to their employees to not use the greeting of “Merry Christmas” to shoppers. Once “The O’Reilly Factor,” a popular Fox News show, exposed this policy, it was reversed but not before it cost Macy’s over $ 1 Billion in lost sales through boycotts by Christmas shoppers.
On the other hand, liberals completely dismiss the premise of a war on Christmas. Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” mocks Fox and their reporting on the subject. So do many others on the mainstream news programs and over the air broadcasters. Even when instances of this type are demonstrated repeatedly, the mainstream media ignore it or dismiss it as an isolated incident.
The latest incidence is at an Air Force Base in South Carolina. The base has removed a Nativity display after a single complaint warned the base that it was in violation of the Constitution. The base responded by citing its own Air Force Regulations (AFR 1-1, 7 August 2012, Chapter 2.11 and 2.12) and then removing the “offending” display. Ignorant, biased, and unfounded responses are not what I would expect from the United States Air Force, but that is how they responded. The Supreme Court decision in the 1983 Lynch v. Donnelly supports the public display of religious themes, specifically Nativity scenes nor does the cited AFR restrict the display of religious themes as the USAF claimed. Most people who have even a rudimentary education can understand the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is neither ambiguous nor difficult to understand, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
Our Republic was founded to protect the rights of both the majority and minority, to ensure that majority rule would not result in mob rule and the subsequent trampling of minority rights. When one group or a single complaint can result in an action that discriminates against the majority of Americans who profess a belief in Christianity, then the Republic has failed that majority. Protecting minority voices does not grant that minority essential veto over the rights of the majority or even another minority. The First Amendment grants that right to all citizens, not just to the minority or contrary voice. These singular voices claim discrimination because a Nativity scene is displayed, some government official is a Christian, or a school choir sings a Christmas Carol. Nonsense!
Discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing, as Henry Ford once said about his Model T automobiles, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” Discrimination in a personal sense is what differentiates us from one another and other nations. If a nation expresses a desire to tolerate minorities and respect their cultural differences, customs, and traditions, then it is mandatory that these same cultures respect the majority’s cultural customs and traditions as well.
I do not know about you, but this writer celebrates Christmas and enjoys the excesses of this wonderful holiday season. I do not object to someone saying Happy Holidays, but I do object when one is prohibited from expressing a Merry Christmas in public. The Christmas Holiday was signed into law as a Federal holiday in 1870 by President Ulysses S. Grant and celebrated officially as a nation since that time. Christianity celebrates Dec. 25 as the birthday of Jesus Christ and this is the reason for the holiday in the first place. Expressing one’s beliefs and honoring one’s traditions is not an infringement on anyone else’s rights, even if the government does it or it is on public property. There is no protection in the Constitution or The Bill of Rights to prevent someone from being offended, majority or minority.
There is no government requirement to celebrate Christmas and there is no government requirement to believe that Jesus Christ was born on this day. If one does not believe in this holiday and does not want to celebrate with family and friends, then get up early Christmas morning, pack your lunch, and head to work. You most likely will be the only one there but so be it, you are not offending me in the slightest by working. Just a word of caution, if you see eight tiny reindeer pulling a sleigh with a red-faced jolly fat man wearing a red suit, try to avoid slowing them down, they are rushing to make millions of dreams worldwide a reality.