Rather than proclaiming peace on Earth this holiday season, self-proclaimed spokesperson for God Jerry Falwell, is launching a holy war.
The Rev. Falwell writes at www.falwell.com, I am calling on pastors, churches and individuals to join Liberty Counsels Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign. We need to draw a line in the sand and resist bullying tactics by the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the American Atheists and other leftist organizations that intimidate school and government officials by spreading misinformation about Christmas. Celebrating Christmas is constitutional!
The TV evangelist is urging his listeners to pledge to be a Friend to those entities which do not discriminate against Christmas and a Foe to those that do. One of the foes in the bulls eye is Target that allegedly doesnt allow its employees to wish customers Merry Christmas.
I agree that the above groups do tend to bully believers and that celebrating Christmas is constitutional. And I do agree with many of Falwells conservative convictions, but I disagree with many of his means and methods. In this case, he seems to be missing the whole Christmas message about peace on Earth, goodwill to all. Even the Americans and Germans called a truce on Christmas Eve during World War I. This is not the time to wage another campaign in the culture war!
First, Christmas is short for Christs Mass. While early Christians observed Christs resurrection rather than birth, Dec. 25 has been celebrated as the birth of Christ since A.D. 354. So Christmas is a distinctively Christian holiday.
Second, as Falwell rightly points out, celebrating Christmas in the public square and public school is a constitutional right. But we live in a pluralistic society where one is free to worship God, nature, or the Mall of America. Christians cannot be guaranteed their right to worship as they please, unless all are guaranteed their right to worship as they please.
And third, lets try to look at the situation from a non-Christians perspective. I doubt that Falwell and his Friends would be happy if the Jewish Wal-Mart greeter wished shoppers a Happy Hanukkah. How bout the Wiccan clerk at Target wishing customers a Happy Yule? Or the Islamic clerk at 7-Eleven greeting customers with Happy Ramadan?
Continuing this line of thinking, how bout making a federal holiday of Buddhas birthday? Celebrating the Islamic fast of Ramadan in public schools? (Sorry, kids, the cafeteria is closed this month. Infidels will need to brown bag it.) Or giving everyone Dec. 21 off so Wiccans can celebrate the pagan sabbat of Yule?
Falwell and his Friends would be filing lawsuits, sponsoring Justice Sunday rallies, organizing boycotts, and marching in the streets.
Currently, schools are free to sing Hark, the Herald Angels Sings as long as they include secular holiday songs as well. Courthouse lawns can display a nativity scene as long as there is also a menorah or Santa Claus. (Santa may not be the best example since he originated as a charitable Catholic priest.)
It seems to this writer (a conservative Christian who refuses to compromise his convictions) that the cause of Christ and His message of peace on Earth, goodwill to ALL is not well served with a Friend or Foe mentality during Christmas or any other time.
Keep in mind that Christianity thrived under a Roman government with an official religion of emperor worship that celebrated its gods births on Dec. 25. And, if I remember correctly, the baby in the manger grew up to be the Prince of Peace who told His disciples to Love your foes.
So, wishing peace and goodwill to ALL during Yule, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and for Seinfeld fans Festivus.