More on “war” on Christmas: writer wants special treatment for Christians

In his essay, False perceptions regarding the attack against Christmas (Renewamerica.us 12/14/05), Robert Meyer tries to make a case that businesses expressing “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” are being offensive to and exclusive against Christians.

He writes that a recent letter to the editor he read pointed out how can Christians complain Christmas traditions are being marginalized, when many of the traditions they uphold are of non-Christian origin to begin with?

Meyer responds:

Yet such analysis entirely misses the real crux of the conflict though. If certain retail stores or other entities had said that they were no longer observing long-standing traditions (such as the “Christmas Tree”) because of their pagan origins, he might have made his point. I would applaud this type of distinction.

Yet, that is hardly the case. We might ask whether the Puritans would have thrown out the Savior with the tree, as some retail outlets are more than willing to do. In fact, the true reason for discontinuing these practices, is a false perception on the part of some, that there is a halo around the Bill of Rights which creates the implied right not to be offended. Unfortunately, this is both a false and dangerous proposition.

In trying to be inclusive and unoffending, they become demonstrably offending and exclusive in their new approach. We might also ask what public perceptions led to this policy change? With the majority of the U.S. still professing to be Christians, it is a wonder they never considered whether that majority would themselves be offended by the changes.

Free exercise of religion isn’t realized by an exclusion of all. This is an attempt at negative neutrality that publicly squelches the free exercise of religion, but does nothing constructive to ultimately avoid conflict. It amazes me how the First Amendment, which protected the public’s free religious exercise from intrusions by the government, now is twisted so that the Establishment Clause is used to sanitize the public square from any mention of God.

Like all strident religious and political conservatives, Meyer misses the illogical conclusion he expresses. Sometimes I wonder if they listen to what they say and really think about it.

It isn’t about “sanitiz[ing] the public square from any mention of God” as he and others state. It is about not letting the government be the head cheerleader and using its time and resources to support a single religious sect like Christianity. We don’t live in the United States of Christian America… [yet….]

Why do people like Meyer have such a hard time understanding what “neutrality” means. Are they morons?

If Wal-Mart or some other business wish to say “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, or even “Happy Festivas”, it doesn’t matter to most and the public can only speak with their feet. If those business do or don’t recognize Christmas has NOTHING to do with free exercise of religion of the individual. Wal-Mart, by not saying “Merry Christmas”, isn’t burning your church down. The government really has no say in what Wal-Mart says in expressing the holiday season but people like Meyer seem to wish it could.

Meyer continues:

It is interesting to note that a position of “deliberate neutrality,” is by default an endorsement of the atheist/humanist position, since the atheist claims to be motivated by an absence of belief, and not an active choice to disbelieve.

SIGH…….

Yes, it seems Meyer is a moron because he doesn’t understand what “neutrality” means.

Let me make it simple. Lack of belief isn’t neutrality. Neutrality means having no specific view or taking no specific position. In terms of the state and religion it should be all religions or none. To pick Christmas or Easter for acknowledgement or special rights is to give preference to a particular sect – Christianity. “Happy Holidays” at least recognizes all beliefs that have celebrations at this time of year.

See the difference?

Christmas = Christianity
Holidays = Everyone

Finally Meyer ends by writing:

In a society run amok with prostration to tolerance, it seems to me, that there should be an onus on the minority to graciously tolerate customs held by the majority of citizens.

Well, Robert Meyer, we minorities do, every day of the year. I have to with every church I pass, every “God Bless America” the President utters, every God invoked when my favorite team wins the game, and every Christmas when I have to hear people bitch and moan that we need to celebrate the “real reason of the season”.

I have reached the end of being gracious because religious nuts like yourself are like Dads we can’t please because you expect more and more and more and still are not happy with what you have and are given.

This post was written before April of 2020 when this blog transitioned to a podcast.

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2 Comments

  1. July 31, 2006

    Greetings Doug,

    I just recently found your blog criticizing a piece I wrote around Christmas. The main point of your argument was that I was a moron because I didn’t understand what “neutrality” was. Actually, I need to up the ante here. I must be a complete idiot, since I don’t believe in neutrality at all. The piece below is philosophical in nature, not about the First Amendment. My own observation is that the courts are trying to appear evenhanded in their approach, while not recognizing that “neutrality” is an ethereal concept, more than anything practical. The First Amendment never required neutrality though. I think that language came out of Lemon decision in the early 70’s, building on Hugo Black’s “wall of separation”.

    http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/meyer/040209

    I was a bit dissappointed to see that you had only critiqued a couple of my pieces though. I have numerous editorials on my archives that would be perfect fodder for your blog. It could certainly facilitate a discussion.

  2. August 1, 2006

    The reason I haven’t commented on previous articles is because I don’t normally read conservative editorials. This blog has a narrow topic – church and state – and I pick and choose those articles I come across that I feel more comment is needed. I also try to avoid repeating myself.

    As for government neutrality, it doesn’t surprise me you don’t believe it exists or was intended. That is whole foundation of the religious conservative argument to try and justify their special status and to expand that special status into other areas of people’s lives.

    I first heard about Hugo Black’s ideas on the 1st Amendment while watching the Fox News religion special and after considering it, I like his idea – no law means no law. That would mean no ‘under god’ in the pledge, no ‘god’ on the money, no faith based initiatives, and end to government cheerleading of religion.

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