Okay, I guess I'm going to have to blog about the subject of whether someone stole Christmas or not. For the record, I don't think anyone has stolen Christmas, even the Grinch was unsuccessful at doing that, for heaven's sake! But, in the discussion which took place at I am a Christian Too (IAACT), under the topic of War Against Christmas, Or Just Good Manners?, the subject of the ACLU came up. It seems that because liberals largely support the ACLU they were fairly in the dark about many actions which the ACLU has taken regarding law suits against small towns and cities across the Nation over Christian symbols.
This year many Christians from "the right" decided to make a "preemptive strike" against the ACLU rather than allow them their usual leisurely time to attack small towns and communities for individual displays of Christmas symbols, symbols which, in some people's opinions, actually have the insensitive signature of promoting the fact that Christmas is, after all, a Christian holiday and the actual meaning of it is that it is the time when Christians across the Nation, and world, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I visited the ACLU site, in an effort to find some of their old cases concerning law suits on these small towns and cities, but what I found was no documentation of this sort of thing. I believe the reason could be as simple as the fact that many of these small towns and cities did not fight the ACLU due to costly litigation fees and so, with the mere threat of an ACLU lawsuit, they caved in and removed any vestige of faith from their Christmas displays. I did find mention of the case in Alabama involving Judge Roy Moore but I believe only because it was such a high profile case. I did find an article, written by Fran Quigley and entitled American Civil Liberties Union : How The ACLU Didn't Steal Christmas. In this article, obviously intended to defend the ACLU and paint all those who claim they have "stolen Christmas," as what, I guess insensitive liars? Mr. Quigley makes this claim:
"Of course, there is no "Merry Christmas" lawsuit,....But the facts are not important to these groups, because their real message is this: By protecting the freedom of Muslims, Jews, and other non-Christians through preventing government entanglement with religion, the ACLU is somehow infringing on the rights of those with majority religious beliefs."
Yes, of course there is no "Merry Christmas" lawsuit, Mr. Quigley, what there has been, however, is a systematic suppression of the Christian faith and/or it's symbols while your organization has largely ignored symbols of other religions, such as the Muslim and Jewish faith's symbols, over a span of a great many years. In many cases the ACLU has not cared that other religions are represented but will single out Christian articles of faith for their lawsuits or threats of lawsuits. No one, I am aware of, has charged the ACLU with filing suit against anyone with the specific intent of keeping someone from wishing others a "Merry Christmas," what your organization has done, instead, is promote that climate and set the stage for all of America to question whether it is any longer politically correct to say anything about Christmas, while all other religions' free speech rights have largely been kept intact.
In my searching, I came across an interesting article written back in December of 2004, authored by John Leo, the editor for U.S. News and World Report, and a columnist, it was published on Townhall.com. and can still be found by clicking on this link: Townhall.com :: Columns :: Christmas censors by John Leo, I used it as part of an argument I had made at IAACT, and also to a liberal in a private AOL group of which I am a member. I felt this article was particularly pertinent because it was written last year, before the "preemptive strike" of Christian Conservatives, this year, regarding whether it is politically correct to say Merry Christmas. In the article it points out that:
"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. But now religious-liberties legal groups provide attorneys to stand up to the ACLU. The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund won in federal court last month in a suit filed by the ACLU against the city of Cranston, R.I. Cranston allows religious and secular displays of all kinds on the front lawn of City Hall.The ACLU argued that this was a church-state violation, but U.S. District Judge William Smith ruled that nothing in the evidence "reveals or even remotely supports an inference that a religious purpose was behind the creation of the limited public forum."" (emphasis mine)
and Mr. Leo's column adds:
"Some principals and teachers around the country even ban the word Christmas. In Rochester, Minn., two girls were reprimanded for saying "Merry Christmas" in a school skit. And though Christmas trees are considered secular when they are useful in warding off Nativity scenes, the word Christmas is often removed by panicky officials, thus producing multicultural trees, holiday trees, community trees, care trees, and giving trees. The White House still has a Christmas tree, but Congress has a Capitol Holiday Tree. Accommodating all traditions is a worthy goal. But a broad movement to erase the word Christmas is an extraordinary development in a culture that is more than 80 percent Christian. How much more of this is the public willing to tolerate? "
and Mr. Leo ends with this prophetic prediction:
" The South Orange/Maplewood, N.J., school district banned religious Christmas songs, even in instrumental versions. In Florida, an elementary school concert included songs about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa but offered not a single note of Christmas music. A recent winter parade in Denver looked very much like a Christmas event, except for one small thing: Every reference to Christmas was banned. Unless believers and religious-liberties groups begin to push back, the anti-Christmas trend will prevail in the public square." (emphasis mine).
You see, Mr. Quigley, while the ACLU may not be suing anyone over the use of the word Christmas, it has laid the ground-work for people across this Nation to be reluctant to use the word, so influential has been the ACLU's past work at purging our Nation from any vestige of Christianity in the public square that the American people often do not even understand that they have the right to be openly Christian and to speak about the birth of Christ on the days leading up to the one day of the year when Christians celebrate the birth of their Savior.
Whether that has been your organization's goal or not really doesn't matter, your organization's influence brought us to this day, this point, in which store owners and merchants across the country feel they must be more "sensitive" to that small minority portion of the population who do not profess Christianity. For you to chastise anyone in our Nation for exposing your contribution to the state of the country, in this regard, merely shows that you wait to attack anyone who would question the activities of the ACLU as though they are extremists because they question the effect your organization has had on society. You state:
"In truth, it is these website Christians who are taking the Christ out of the season. Nowhere in the Sermon on the Mount did Jesus Christ ask that we celebrate His birth with narrow-mindedness and intolerance, especially for those who are already marginalized and persecuted. Instead, the New Testament like the Torah and the Koran and countless other sacred texts commands us to love our neighbor, and to comfort the sick and the imprisoned. That's what the ACLU does. We live in a country filled with people who are sick and disabled, people who are imprisoned, and people who hunger and thirst for justice. "
Christians are not asking that we celebrate Christ's birth with narrow-mindedness and intolerance. All of the Christians I know and have spoken with about this issue, whether "Progressive" or "Conservative," "website" Christians or internet dummies, have no problem with the phrases "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" being used in conjunction with "Merry Christmas," nor do they have a problem with a Menorah display, Happy Hanukkahah wishes, or any other religious celebratory salutation or symbol, they simply do not understand why the climate of the United States of America has come to the point wherein store owners and merchants and public schools feel they must omit the fact that this is "Christmas," that "Christmas" is a federal holiday and make it so doggoned politically correct that every other minority religion is allowed their symbols and salutations EXCEPT Christians on what is, and has always been, a Christian holiday. Further, I must wonder how making certain that small cities, such as Republic, Missouri, remove a small Christian fish symbol from their city's seal has aided the sick, disabled and imprisoned? Whether you care to admit it or not, Mr. Quigley, the ACLU has had a huge influence on the climate of our Nation this Christmas season. Thankfully, Christians across the country have heeded the advice of Mr. Leo this year and are ready, now, to "push back."
You further state toward the end of your column:
" We agree with the U.S. Supreme Court's firm rulings that this freedom means that children who grow up in non-Christian homes should not be made to feel like outsiders in their own community's courthouse, legislature or public schoolhouse. "
If "children who grow up in non-Christian homes feel like outsiders" at Christmas time it is simply because they are not Christians. They are outsiders when it comes to Christianity, Mr. Quigley. There is only one way I know of to remedy that. These "children," if they do not accept Christ will also feel like an outsider on the day of judgment, when Christ pronounces, "depart from me, I never knew you." That is Christ's judgment, not mine, not "website" Christians, not "Progressive" or "Conservative" Christians. You may argue with the reality of a coming judgment, Mr. Quigley, and I cannot prove that this judgment is coming but I don't think an ACLU suit against the Son of God will have much effect on his choice of words on that day.
Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, to you, Mr. Quigley.