Dr. Jerry Falwell said it; I believe it; that settles it.
What will it take for conservative evangelicals to stop taking this man's words at face value and start dissecting what he is saying?
In Dr. Falwell's latest wartime dispatch from the Moral Majority headquarters in Lynchburg, VA he is yet again espousing that there is a war on Christmas. Frankly, I am getting just a tad confused on this whole issue because no one else seems to think that there really is a war on Christmas except Dr. Falwell, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and...well, that's about it.
Yet Dr. Falwell seems to continue to engender fear and aggravation in the heart's of God's people over a non-issue. No one has kept Christians from doing anything this Christmas. No one has barricaded the door to the church I serve, no one has kept any church from performing their living Christmas trees, there have been numerous ads in the local papers inviting folks to living nativities (my family and I attended one this evening and there was no armed militia), and there was a manger scene in the local Christmas parade this year.
If there is a war, the battle has yet to have been waged here in our part of the state. Dr. Falwell's evidence is confusing because he is assuming that "secularists" and non-believers should act differently than their nature implies they should. This quote is fascinating:
This week, Alan Colmes, co-host of the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity and Colmes,” attempted to convince my buddy Franklin Graham that this war did not exist. Thankfully, Franklin shrewdly countered this notion by noting that there is indeed an accelerating effort by secularists in America to annihilate expressions of Christmas and Christianity.Note the effort is by secularists. Did not Jesus Himself say that in this world we will have trouble? Frankly I am glad that this war on Christmas is really all Christians have to deal with. Note the tender touch of sorrow in Dr. Falwell's sentiment in this quote:
Meanwhile, people across America continue to be harassed because of their faith.Just harassed? What about Christians across the world who cannot openly practice their faith? There are Christians in China, Korea, and in the Sudan who would love to have a fraction of the freedom we have in America. My blog friend Streak sums up this fallacious thinking quite nicely.
Christians had enjoyed a false sense of ownership of the public square for much of our history. Of course, they belong in the public square, but just as conservatives do not own the flag, Christians do not own our public square, and that is how conservatives are acting now that others want in. Nothing, of course, is stopping any conservative (or liberal) Christian from participating in Christmas as a form of worship. Not one thing; nothing stopping them from having Christmas services, Festivals, Parties, huge, lavish programs, etc.Dr. Falwell was disparaging CBS because they ran an episode of a sitcom "Two and a Half Men," which I have never watched nor intend to, where the lead character, played by actor Charlie Sheen in Dr. Falwell's words, turns the beloved Christmas hymn Joy to the World into a "sex romp." I'll admit, this inspires in me the same frustration as it does Dr. Falwell, but like it or not, CBS and Charlie Sheen have the right to do it.
Just some people suggesting that in the public square, the rest of us--liberal Christians, non-Christians, etc.,--have just as much right.
If I infringe on their rights just because I don't like it, then I invite the same infringement upon my rights as an American citizen. Whatever happened to America as the great "melting pot?" I misunderstand how Christians are mistreated in America. If we are it is by devices of our own making, not by the "efforts of the secularists in America." Dr. Falwell always falls back on arguments like this instead of hard factual evidence:
Further, imagine CBS reworking the inspiring words of Dr. Martin Luther King or a portion of the Koran with a character proclaiming he will soon be having a sexual romp.Here is my conjecture, for whatever it is worth, on the zealous right-wing view about this war on Christmas. Is it possible because of the belligerence of such radicals as Dr. Falwell, that the "media" turns conservative Christianity into a parody and they invite the network moguls to work such abominations into their scripts? You have to admit, conservative Christianity can be an easy target, primarily for its lack of sincerity. Therefore, conservative Christians must fall back on a fabrication such as the war on Christmas to turn the attention back to the "secularists" and fail to take responsibility for their own shallow behavior.
Dr. Falwell concludes his dispatch with these disheartening words.
No War on Christmas? You’d have to be “the Grinch” himself not to see it. There is indeed such a war and Christians are in the cross hairs. We must continue to stand up for our rights, my friends. If we don’t, it is readily apparent that they will be quickly eradicated.Somehow, this looks like putting the cart before the horse. If there genuinely is a war on Christmas, can we as Christians really expect secularists and non-believers to treat Christmas with the respect and admiration that it deserves given that we have offered them no better? Why would we want them to celebrate this holiday with us when what we offer really looks no more than defection to the enemy?
So, to Bill, Sean, Jerry, and all those other Christmas culture warriors who want to battle on behalf of us Christians: thanks, but no thanks. I won't be joining you in the foxhole. You have all gone the way of the proselytizer, the moralist. We already have a Savior, and you are not Him. And until He comes again (we are in Advent after all), would you please practice enough decorum not to foul things up any further?
Oh—and happy holidays!