Just Wondering

Does anyone else out there remember how Christmas and “the Holiday” were once pretty much synonymous? Does anyone else wonder how it is that all of a sudden there is such a powerful divergence? It used to be that we lumped the Christmas season, New Years, Chanukkah, and the Orthodox celbrations of Christmas and Epiphany all together. We called it the Holiday season.

So, just who is behind all this contention and why are we willing to jump into the fray and make it flame out of control?

It seems to me that we ought to approach this hairy problem with a little razor d’Occam, you know?

I think maybe the ACLU is pulling everyone’s beard and it is having the effect desired -by them.

I’m for not giving those kind what they want, putting a little coal in their stockings and overcoming evil with the good of spreading our holiday cheer with a joyous Christmas celebration. Refuse to be painted as joylessless and grumbling prisoners of their complaints and pokes.

It’s Christmas! And God loves you….everyone.

7 thoughts on “Just Wondering”

  1. This is a very interesting/controversial topic.

    From your perspective, what do you think the ACLU is trying to accomplish?

    PS This is not meant to antagonize or to put coal in anyone’s stocking, I ask my question because I want to learn what people think the ACLU is all about.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,
    -JD

  2. I believe the change from Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays has been subtle. While the term Happy Holidays has certainly been around for quite a while, I have noticed that over the past few years it has become the phrase of choice, with regards to the Christmas season. In High School the two weeks we got off at the end of the year was referred to as Christmas Break. What is it referred to now? It used to be we would see notices, at work, of our annual Christmas Party, and now we see it referred to as the Holiday Party.

    You’re concern is valid, I think, because the term Holiday was used quite extensively in the past. But consider this: at the time, if one was asked, “What “holiday” are you referring to?”, they would probably have answered, “Christmas, of course.” What would the answer be nowadays?

  3. JD, I think it is obvious that the agenda of the ACLU has been to antagonize the Christian community and place them on the defensive. This is particularly true of their unremitting assault on the Christmas holiday through taking up fairly frivolous litigation against Christmas songs in school to nativity displays on public property. I would make the argument that these are frivolous and not on par with arguments against prayer in schools, etc.

    I don’t think the ACLU is at all even handed in this agenda. I also think it plays a large part in the present contention- this is why so many Christians are up in arms and so many stores are running scared of the mention “Christmas”. It is not coming from a grassroots popular sentiment- it is a politically manufactured brouhaha in my opinion.
    ===
    Rusty,
    “at the time, if one was asked, “What “holiday” are you referring to?”, they would probably have answered, “Christmas, of course.”
    I don’t think I would assume that- except from my own view as a Christian. I think it was common knowledge that this was a set of holidays, although it was predominately a Christian Christmas, yes. Through numbers and through exuberance.

    But what does it matter if the semantical terms were interchanged? If there is any contention it is not with the use of words, but in the shift within the culture and that is a whole ‘nother can of worms.

    In the sense of work celebrations, perhaps holiday is the more accurate term…just thinking out loud there.

  4. For JD and other interested parties;)
    Crosswalk.com – Will Christian Resistance Rally in the War on Christmas?

    “The ACLU’s anti-Christian actions, especially at Christmas time, are well documented, if only because of the many lawsuits the group has filed. Whether it is opposing a Nativity scene on public property, or barring schoolchildren from singing “Silent Night,” the legal organization has consistently fought against any kind of reference to Christianity. And every time the liberal legal organization moves to suppress Christian’s free expression or to discriminate against their faith, Storm says believers “need to respond in droves.””
    ===
    CATHOLIC LEAGUE for Religious and Civil Rights

    There is the unfortunate aspect to much of this discussion about Christmas in the public arena that certain elements within society consider religion—particularly Christianity—to be a divisive, if not dangerous force, in society. Their campaigns are built on intolerance, restriction of free speech and hostility toward religion. They believe that people need protection from religion and religious expression. While they have a right to such views, they do not have the right to treat Christian religious expression as in and of itself a secondary right. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has allowed private religious expression to be limited when it could appear to the “reasonable” observer that the government is “endorsing” that expression—meaning that the government appears to agree with or affirm a particular view of religion. (County of Allegheny v. ACLU, 492 U.S. 573 (1989)). Although four members of the Supreme Court have disagreed with use of this “endorsement test” against privately sponsored religious free speech, that test—derived from Allegheny—has not yet been explicitly overruled. (Capitol Square Review & Advisory Board v. Pinette, 515 U.S. 753 (1995)).
    ====

    Townhall.com :: Columns :: Christmas censors by John Leo

    The annual assault on Christmas comes in many forms. First, there is the barrage of litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is reliably offended by almost any representation of Christianity in the public square. Small towns, facing the prospect of expensive litigation over religious displays on public property, often cave in simply out of fear. Part of the intimidation is that if the towns lose, they must pay the legal fees of the ACLU.
    =====
    There’s more, but I think it makes the point….

  5. Hmmm… I’m thinking back on my childhood and don’t really recall much else that was celebrated around me in late December, except for Christmas. But how about looking even further back at some old movies, for example, and see if the celebration was “holiday” centered, or “Christmas” centered? Whether or not people really celebrated Christ’s birth is another issue but, unless they were Jewish, they weren’t celebrating Solstice, Kwanzza, Ramadan, or whatever else.

    I’m not sure why you think that work celebrations ought to be holiday centered, other than possibly an inclusionist approach? I guess I’d go along with that… when we stop having December 25th as our day off.

  6. Thank you my fellow commenters for the interesting and informative material that you all posted. I’m always curious about different perspectives, so of course I did a quick search (aclu+christmas+lawsuits) to see what I could find from the ACLU’s perspective. There were two articles that jumped out at me:
    http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1206-23.htm
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-12-18-gunn_x.htm
    I enjoyed reading the articles and I hope to continue learning about the different perspectives on Christmas, religious freedom, and our government. Thanks everybody!

  7. JD- Thanks for the articles- I might be pursuing this after the Christmas holiday ( notice how seamlessly I segued that together;)

    Rusty, I am not at all “inclusionist”, but I do tend to be pragmatic and I am an intp- which means it helps me to look at things from all sides. I will offer you something that I don’t usually when building a viewpoint: I entertain the thought that I could be 100% wrong on this issue. It is possible…but my gut – which includes how I feel in my spirit – tells me that something more is going on and to look for the unexpected in this issue.

    On the pragmatic side- in my growing up I lived in the university district. It was an unusual mix; no Kwazaa, though.

    Work celebrations often are paganistic in my view, and not a very holy celebration- unless you work in a strongly Christian environment, and I have been adding a bit of background on all this. Christmas is a Federal holiday, right? So there are issues not fully pursued in this whole thing. Probably because there would be general rioting in the streets if the ACLU made any inroads on denying the American people their holiday on the basis of church/state disputes.

    But for Christians the history is important- and I find that even many Reformed don’t know much background on their own… from comment I read concerning the Puritan stance. ( read over @ World Mag). That is where I would probably start should I take up the dispute later next week. I did find that the Christmas celebration in the church goes back much further than I originally thought.

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