Tuesday, December 21, 2004

What Would Doctor Phil Say?

Mark Steyn illustrates for us the "How is it working for you so far?" ramifications of the anti-Christmas crusade:
The seasonally litigious rest their fanatical devotion to the deChristification of Christmas on the separation of church and state. America's founders were opposed to the "establishment" of religion, whose meaning is clear enough to any Englishman: the new republic did not want President Washington serving simultaneously as Supreme Governor of the Church of America, or the Bishop of Virginia sitting in the US Senate. Two centuries on, these possibilities are so remote that the "separation" of church and state has dwindled down to threats of legal action over red-and-green party napkins.

But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins? For the answer to that, look no further than last month's election results. Forty years of effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to eliminate God from the public square have led to a resurgent, evangelical and politicised Christianity in America. By "politicised", I don't mean that anyone who feels his kid should be allowed to sing Silent Night if he wants to is perforce a Republican, but only that year in, year out it becomes harder for such folks to support a secular Democratic Party closely allied with the anti-Christmas militants. American liberals need to rethink their priorities: what's more important? Winning a victory over the kindergarten teacher's holiday concert, or winning back Congress and the White House?


notherbob2 said...

How about some gasoline on this fire (and I am serious, not just trolling)? I think that the trend, if viewed as anti-Christian, is correctly identified as being alarming. However, and it is a big however, the use of public funds to put up a display that is meaningful to only one of the many religions we have in America is wrong. Forget clauses in the Constitution. When everyone was Christian or thought that one should be only Christian if ever they were religious, such government displays and expenditure of public funds was, perphaps, appropriate. Now that we must become globalized, freedom of religion no longer means freedom to be Methodist or Episcopal or Baptist (and even Catholic). We need to change. Setting up the barricades is not necessary. Pitting citizens against each other over this issue is not Christian. I just wonder why more Christians are not standing up for reason and tolerance on this issue.

Matteo said...

Oh, I don't know what the ultimate answer is, Bob. As a libertarian, you know that the term "public funds" is problematic. If 90% of the public doesn't mind a little of their money (taken, in the final analysis, at gunpoint) spent to spread some decorative Christmas Cheer, then it's hard to see where the harm is. Sometimes tolerance means the minority tolerating the majority. However, the problem is, even if it was based on voluntary donations, the ACLU would still cry foul.

The thing I find so absurd is that I would never dream of going to, say, India during Diwali (which I've done), and complaining that I'm offended by all the colorful displays of Ganesh and the other gods. It would be just lame. It's their culture (notice the root of the word culture: cult, meaning worship), not mine. I'm a guest. America somehow managed not to be a theocracy for its first 200 years before all this PC inanity started, I imagine we're capable of doing it again.

At any rate, ultimately the majority does rule. I don't know why the Democrats want to be on the wrong side of it.

In any case, I'm not particulary equipped or inclined to debate this thing into the ground. I'm not a hardliner, but it does seem that the pendulum needs to swing back in the other direction. Liberals need to practice a little bit of this darned tolerance they're always trying to shove down everyone else's throat.

notherbob2 said...

Ah yes, another contented taxpayer. Well, I wish you a Merry Christmas and success in the new year.

Matteo said...

I'm not sure where "contented taxpayer" is implied in anything I've said. My point is that it seems sort of absurd that when a bunch of folks, the vast majority of whom agree on a certain issue, pool their money through taxation, it becomes "public money", thereby sacrosanct, and unusable to support something the vast majority believes should (or at least may) be supported. Again, even if people made individual donations to support a display, it would still raise the ire of the Democrats and the ACLU.

There've been cases, documented in David Limbaugh's book "Persecution" where schoolchildren have been silenced for praying at lunchtime, or for naming "Jesus Christ" as a hero, or for using a Bible story as an example of their favorite story. There's nothing whatsoever neutral about that kind of thing, and that's part of the driving force behind the counter-reaction we're seeing, which has about three more days to run before being put to bed for another year.

Thanks for reading the blog, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

notherbob2 said...

You are correct, I should have prefaced my comment with [sarcasm/humor alert]. It never occurred to me that anyone, other than a liberal, could be a contented taxpayer. Your post referred to taxes being taken "at the point of a gun", hence my comment.