It’s less than three weeks until Christmas, and you know what that means. The most ridiculous battles yet fought in the American culture wars will reemerge from the dark holes they crawled into last December 26 and show us that we are once again in for three more weeks of tedious absurdity.
Last year, a Wall Street Journal article declared 2015 to be The Year Christmas Died. But if it is truly dead, somebody must have forgotten to tell the inhabitants of Monroe, Louisiana.
Local TV news station KNOE reported yesterday that a billboard paid for by the American Atheists organization and bearing the message “Make Christmas Great Again: Skip Church!” was taken down after residents complained that it offended them.
I’m also offended, but more as a consumer of news than a Christian. Shamelessly aping Trump’s campaign slogan does not count as a catchy headline, billboard, or anything else.
Also, why would an atheist want to “Make Christmas Great Again?” Wouldn’t they want to make Christmas nonexistent? Also, when was Christmas great? Back when it was a 100 percent religious holiday that could only be celebrated by going to a church?
But I digress.
Even if their billboard was completely nonsensical on multiple levels, the American Atheists had the right to display it, and the reaction of the Monrovians was exactly the kind of PC policing that most American Christians claim to hate.
Liberal news outlets like Vox often use the phrase “patriotic correctness” — a right-wing brand of PC that operates on the same rules but replaces “prejudiced” with “un-American” as the epithet of choice — and there seems to be a Christian form of that at work here.
It’s the same attitude that motivates those who aggressively snarl “Merry Christmas” at store clerks unlucky enough to wish them “Happy Holidays,” and that is once again forcing us to sit through a social media firestorm of millions of people complaining about a handful of people complaining about the new Starbucks cups.
On the other end of the spectrum, a Portland-area district recently banned Santa from its schools like a common pederast in order to create a more inclusive environment. No one had complained about their children being traumatized by decorations featuring the 4th-century bishop-turned-elf sweatshop owner, but the district took it upon themselves to launch a preemptive strike on old Kris Kringle.
And then, of course, we have to have the political weaponization of Christmas where pro-lifers pontificate about Jesus in Mary’s womb while others try to portray the Holy Family as refugees cast out into the cold.
I get it. Everybody’s stressed. There’s shopping and baking and decorating to do, and you can’t even go in a store without hearing a voice straight from the pit of hell demanding a hippopotamus for Christmas. But do we have to take it out on each other?
Last weekend, I walked by Macy’s in New York City and saw several Salvation Army bell-ringers standing on the sidewalk singing “Joy to the World.” Nobody came to kick them off the sidewalk, and in turn they didn’t tear up paving stones to hurl through Macy’s aggressively secular Christmas windows.
Most interactions between Christians, secularists who still put up a Christmas tree, and celebrants of other winter solstice holidays probably go just as smoothly, so I guess the point of this piece is to discourage those miserable few who insist on getting victimhood in their stockings.
You are not under siege. When you get arrested for attending or not attending church on Christmas, then we can talk.