Everyone in America loves Christmas. The smells of Fraser firs, roast beast, and spiced cider, the sparkling lights, the crackling fire, the egg nog, the gifts, the human tenderness and family love, the music—in other word, the gemütlichkeit—such fantastic things, right? But can’t we keep those things and get rid of all the religious accoutrements that keep ruining our
Christmas buzz? Let’s just say “Happy Holidays.” That way no one feels left out. Let’s call the year-ending educational hiatus “Winter Break.” In other words, let’s have Christmas, but without Christ and outside the church. Wouldn’t that be grand? A Festivus for the rest of us…
Every year, Christmas draws two very distinct feelings out of me. On one hand, I love it. I too love the smells and sights and sounds of Christmas. But the secular American celebration of Christmas really gets under my skin. It highlights yet again that Americans love the fruits of a Christian worldview, but they hate its root.
The ubiquitous controversy over Phil Robertson is another example of this same love-hate attitude. Duck Dynasty is the most popular reality show on cable television, so obviously everyone loves watching the shenanigans of these charming backwoods country folk. They’re just good people, you know? But not everyone wants to accept the whole picture. All of these critics of Robertson’s politically-incorrect views don’t seem to realize that he’s a package deal. That part of him they all like is not separable from the part of him they despise. In fact, that part of him they all like actually comes from the part of him they all despise. If he were a tolerant jellyfish, would they like him? Is it not his coarse, salt-of-the-earth quality that makes him charming to his fans?
And Christmas is no different. I read an interview that NPR conducted with the band Bad Religion to promote their new album, “Christmas Songs.” The interviewer remarked that it was odd for a band so critical of religion to do an album of religious Christmas hymns. What the band said in response was telling:
MARTIN [NPR Interviewer]: And these are not secular songs, we should point out though. You could’ve done, you know, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” These are religious Christmas hymns.
GUREWITZ [Bad Religion Front Man]: I would disagree. I think that all of these songs are secular. Even though they have their roots in the pulpit or in the church setting, virtually everyone who celebrates Christmas has heard these songs. And so, it’s not Bad Religion that has made them ironic. It’s kind of a secular society that’s made Christmas ironic.
They aren’t the only ones that love Christmas music (or at least the revenues Christmas music can make for them) but don’t want Christ. A recent elementary school “holiday” concert in New York excluded any mention of Christ from the song “Silent Night” in order to keep from offending non-Christians. Who cares about Christians though, right? Like Bad Religion said, it’s not like it’s a Christian song or anything. Christmas belongs to all of us and all of that.
Yes, it is somewhat ironic that American mainstream society hates Christians so much, but loves and reveres pretty much everything good only Christianity has ever produced. Whether it is the scientific revolution, the civil establishment of personal liberty, the Protestant work ethic, family values, safe neighborhoods, or Christmas, people love what Christianity produces in a society. They just don’t want to have to live like Christians to get it. And they’re not even willing to let you live like one while you’re in their country. They are the ones, after all, that made this country great… haven’t you read your government-issued history book?
On the contrary, as Steve Deace said in USA Today:
Irrefutable history documents that the Bible and its teachings were the biggest influence on those that founded the freest and most prosperous nation in human history. Yet nowadays if you believe that same Bible is true you will either silence your beliefs, or you will be silenced.
Ironically, the most hated people in the United States are the ideological heirs to the major reason why this country is worth living in. We wouldn’t be arguing about redistributing wealth if there weren’t wealth to redistribute. The reason why secularists want a secular America is because they want all the good things America has to offer. They just want to remove what produced those good things in the first place. They’re sure they can have one without the other. Never mind that’s never worked in any of the other countries in which they’ve tried it. Seriously, if secularism keeps the fruits even after the tree is dead, why don’t these people just move to secular societies? There are plenty of them all around the globe.
But no. The truth is ideologies that produce good things are more valuable than the good things themselves, for if you don’t know how to produce good things, you’ll be worse off than you were before when the good things you’ve borrowed or stolen run out. And they are running out. If much more of this country buys into the secular paradigm for much longer, this country will become bankrupt in every sense, just like all the countries secularists have left behind them in search of some Christmas cheer.