Friday, December 11, 2009

An Obama White House War On Christmas? Card, Creche and Controversy

Seems there's a Christmas Controversy in the air.

Dan Riehl has a piece today about the decision whether to display the creche in the East Room of the White House. According to the New York Times, Desiree Rogers was helping to plan a "non-religious" Christmas celebration -- which has met with resistance.

FOX News reported yesterday that the official White House Christmas card from the Obamas doesn't say "Christmas". On the outside, the card says "Seasons Greetings", and inside it says "May your family have a joyous holiday season and a new year blessed with hope and happiness."

I don't see the problem.

I am not a fan of this administration. I did not vote for Obama, and I'm willing to call him out on any issue where I think he's off the mark. That said, I just don't see anything wrong with his "Holiday Card". And although they've decided to include the creche after all, I would have supported the decision not to.

Instead of telling people to "Have a Merry Christmas!", I tell them to "Have a nice holiday!" Why? I personally celebrate Christmas... but I have no idea what the person I'm addressing might celebrate so I use the generic. I have no problem with the Obamas doing the same. I don't see it as excluding Christmas, I see it as including everyone.

As for the creche... I'm an atheist. I celebrate Christmas as an observation of love and the spirit of giving. There's no nativity scene at my house, and it has never detracted from our enjoyment of the holiday. I don't mind at all when I see them about, because I try to be tolerant of all faiths. I would have been fine with the White House creche being displayed -- or not.

I'm far more bothered by this:

But Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C., said abandoning Christmas at Christmas is just
plain wrong. On Tuesday, he introduced a resolution calling for the protection
of the sanctity of Christmas. So far, 44 lawmakers, Democrat and Republican,
have co-signed the bill.

Congress isn't supposed to be protecting the "sanctity" of anything. It says so right in the Constitution. This is basically asking Congress to recognize the religious implications of a date, and to raise up the beliefs of a particular faith.

Christmas and Christianity already have protection under the Constitution. We have the freedom of religious expression and practice. And that protection covers everyone, all faiths. To make a specific rule promoting government recognition of any one religion at any one holiday goes in the face of those rights.

I notice the Obamas call their trees "Christmas Trees", and their television special with Oprah will be "Christmas at the White House". He's not doing away with anything... he's remembering that there are many different folks of many different faiths. I prefer that to a public official demanding others recognize the "sanctity" of something they may or may not believe.

While I may not agree with President Obama on a lot of things, on this one I'm firmly in his corner. And I'm just as firmly opposed to someone forcing me to hold a day as sacred just because they do.

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