Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Public Christmas

The turkey’s been picked clean, only crumbs are left to remind us of pumpkin pies, and a chill hangs in the air, bringing with it thoughts of Christmas. For most of us, this is a time for family, and for joy. It’s a time to reflect on another year gone by, and to give back to those who’ve given to us. Yet, there are those among us who’d see all mention of the holiday removed from the public tongue. A good friend of mine, has recently expressed outrage at those who object to public recognition of the tradition.

I'm hardly religious, but Christmas is somewhat sacred, for lack of a better word, to me too. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve laying in bed on Christmas Eve in anticipation of the following day, then awaking to see hordes of brightly wrapped packages nestled beneath the twinkling tree. Later in life, the joy of the season came in the form of writing that year's cards, in finding just the right thing for each person on my list, and in gathering the family together. I, for one, don't want anyone raining on my Yule Tide parade. Do the nay sayers have a point though?

Most of the people who object to public recognition of Christmas, see Christians trying to legally define marriage and propose other laws based on biblical teaching, so they counter such attempts by trying to remove ALL mention of religion from public policy. The problem with that is, our forefathers never meant for separation of church and state to be a denial of the existence of church or religious tradition.

Our money says, "In God We Trust." Our pledge of allegiance recognizes us as being, “one nation under God." Even our Supreme Court attends a Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. before opening their annual term in October. Jefferson and the gang didn't want laws to be based on any single concept of God, but there's nothing inherently offensive or un-American about public recognition of religious traditions.

If it were up to me, the right would shut up about gay marriage, the left would shut up about Christmas, and we'd all respect each other.

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