Carol Platt Liebau

Friday, December 17, 2004

Charles Krauthammer is a national treasure. Here is this week's piece, which protests the idea of Christmas being stripped of meaning in order to avoid "threatening" any non-Christian's religious identity. As usual, he says it all.

I've been fascinated by the wideranging discussion this year of the de-Christification of Christmas. Some believe that the discussion is taking place just because conservatives are "emboldened" by their election day victory.

I disagree. My view is that many, many people have been increasingly dismayed, over a period of years, by the "forcible secularization" of Christmas -- the sanitized "holiday greetings" and all the rest. But there was never any central "clearinghouse" where people could realize that many other shared their views . . . until the blogosphere came along.

Yes, the blogosphere was around last year, but it really only came into its own as a conservative resource over the past year -- Rathergate being the most prominent example. And now, people who before might have felt isolated in their opposition to "forcible secularization" understand that there are lots of compatriots out there for whom Christmas means more than "jingle bells" and "holiday parties." And that there is resentment at the small minority of devout secularists who are trying to strip every shred of religiosity from America's common social and civic life.

2 Comments:

Blogger Mary Eileen said...

Nice post! I've posted on the same general topic(http://standinthetrenches.blogspot.com/2004/12/keeping-christ-out-of-christmas.html, and http://standinthetrenches.blogspot.com/2004/12/christmas-lites.html), and in fact just now composed a nice long essay about Krauthammer's article, titled it "On the De-Chrismatizing of December", and then lost the whole thing. AARRRGH! Fie on Blogger!

Anyway, much to my amazement, I then found this post via Hugh, and realized that you and I were thinking almost exactly alike -- even to the point of your term "De-Christification of Christmas" being so much like mine above -- though I never have even seen your blog before. Isn't THAT a strange coincidence?! I'll be sure to poke around a bit and no doubt come back again.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Grumpy Old Man said...

I wrote a post on this in response to Hugh's challege, some of which I take the liberty of reproducing here, because we agree:

"This is a free country where the unchurched such as I flourish, along with parishioners of an astonishing variety of religious belief and practice, most of it Christian at least in name. It is also a country with an overwhelmingly Christian majority of largely orthodox profession of faith, and clear Christian historical origins.

"There is been a tendency to obscure this fact, a fact that threatens no one, and indeed goes far to explaining many of our country's admirable qualities.

"Nowadays Frosty the Snowman may grace City Halls, but there can be no crĂȘche and no angels. 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' replaces 'O Come All Ye Faithful.' 'Happy Holidays' crowds out 'Merry Christmas,' and 'Happy Hanukah,' for example. The bell-ringers of the Salvation Army are banished from Target because other solicitors are annoying. Even to one such as I, these changes seem a shame, both musically and culturally.

"'Happy Holidays,' however, has no life. It is the presence of an absence. Will the lost and broken turn with hope to the Jesus Seminar's footnotes and emendations? What kind of pageant will be left for children to dress up for? Whence "goodwill toward men"? Let freethinkers be freethinkers. Let skeptics be skeptics. And let America's Christians be Christians. They don't bite. "

You don't have to be a Christian, as Krauthammer and I are not, to find a message about what is not being said to be thin gruel.

10:10 AM  

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