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Yes, Virginia, there is a real war on Christmas

When reading a much more interesting article at the Touchstone site, my eye fell upon this annoying little gem. (It's an unfortunate fact of blogging that more annoying posts often are better blog fodder than more interesting ones, because the annoying ones make you want to go write a response.)

J. Douglas Johnson, following (he says) Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, is practicing putting eyerolls into type font in response to the question, "Is there a war on Christmas?" And he's looking for an opportunity to do the real eyerolls on someone.

It’s been two years since Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon of All Saints Church in Chicago waylaid one of our parishioners during the Adult Sunday School class for bringing up the war on Christmas. “War on Christmas??” Fr. Pat shot back, “This is no war on Christmas…”

Someone in the congregation raised the topic in hope of coming away with some good fightin’ words, but Fr. Pat only gave him a wry smile and a “oh knock it off” look (a fairly common sight at All Saints during our Adult Sunday School). And then he said: “So the shopping malls won’t let anyone say ‘Christmas.’ Oh big deal. That’s no war on Christmas. Herod killed every first born. Now THAT was a war on Christmas!”

I’ve been waiting two years to use that on someone.

Well, if Johnson is waiting to "use that on someone," I'm sure he'll find the opportunity.

But it's baloney.

And pernicious baloney to boot.

I could make all our eyes fall out trying to follow links detailing all of the incidents (and no I am not talking about the color of Starbucks cups) of the war on Christmas, but in the interests of time, I'll just give three representative ones.




In many of today's public schools, to which for good or ill a majority of America's children are consigned for much of their upbringing, the heritage of Western Christmas music is being stripped from the curriculum. The knowledge of the meaning of Christmas is being systematically erased for fear of the shrieking harpies of tolerance. The beautiful biblical texts relevant to the season are not being read out of fear of legal bullies. A positively Stalinesque ideological purge is going on to expunge the religious basis of Christmas from our children's ken in the schools and to make us treat the very word as a dirty one in our daily interactions. How do you spell "propaganda" and "Orwellian"?

But don't worry. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon and J. Douglas Johnson assure you that you are a knuckle-dragging buffoon and deserving of a "Puh-lease" if you think there is a war on Christmas. Because...er...the king isn't literally slaughtering your children. Or something.

The king (in the form of bully-bureaucrats and ACLU letter writers) is just trying his hardest to make them ignorant cultural clods cut off from the riches of the very civilization that sustains them and the religion that gave them that civilization. That's all.

Don't you feel a little silly now?

Comments (13)

Right on, Lydia.

As Dennis Prager cogently argues, even on a secular level, the richness of the older American mystique of Christmas (say, 1920-1960) amounts to no mean effort in middlebrow artistic endeavor. Sinatra and Nat King Cole and all the rest. Most of the best radio talkers (what better synecdoche for "knuckle-dragging buffoons"?) have been playing these compositions and rearrangements for a week or so now. Good for them.

A deep animus toward Americana has penetrated some precincts of the Right. It's very unseemly.

Alright, we get it, you don't like that gauche "war on . . ." language. Nor do you care for those less articulate effusions of outrage, which so often issue forth when someone or another, though unendowed with a graduate degree, nevertheless notices the striking fact that the Left is busy deracinating America, stripping her symbols of concrete meaning, sneering at her patriotic sons and daughters, and generally attempting to extirpate her historic culture.

But those whose sophistication prevents them from sharing solidarity with their less articulate countrymen, on the grounds only of that very inarticulateless, should maybe ask themselves if perhaps their snobberies have become more dear to them than their own country.

At issue here is the scourge of political correctness which kills the mind and deeply affects the soul, if not necessarily the body as Fr. Patrick Henry would have it. You describe it well as "A positively Stalinesque ideological purge". The war on Christmas is merely one symptom of a greater, all encompasing idelogy of very confused ideas about tolerance and equality.
Ben Carson has written a lot about it and has been very vocal about his desire to fight political correctness for a long time. I note that Ted Cruz has also been acknowledging how deadly this modern thought-control is. I'm glad that they see the problem and want to fight it.

I don't think the ideology of tolerance and equality is at all confused, at least at the level of those who have invented it. These ideas are quite intentional and their purpose is not one of mere confusion, but to wreck, silence and annihilate Christianity in particular and Western Civilisation in general.

DeGaulle, I think fellow travelers are confused. Culture warriors on the left (among whom I count those who bully schools and offices into stifling Christmas) have a clear, totalitarian ideology and intent.

At my local Wal-Mart one of the greeters is an elderly black lady who is always singing gospel songs and for the holidays has been signing traditional Christmas carols. Score one for Wal-Mart for leaving her unmolested.

Johnson has been "waiting two years to use that on someone?" My only question is who let Johnson into the *adult* Sunday school class?

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s when Christmas was celebrated in North America, and Western Europe. The Soviet Union and her allies celebrated Winter break. The reversal of roles, in the last 50 years, is striking.

In the 1950s and 1960s their were some within Christendom, [cultists like Jehovah's Witnesses and some conservative protestants like Reformed Presbyterians, Primitive Baptists, and Landmark Baptists] who took exception to Christmas celebrations based on their understanding of the Regulative Principle of Worship. They would however, never make common cause with the ACLU in its war on the civic and public observance of Christmas. They recognized that the ACLU was really at war with all things Christian.

The culture warriors on the left have willing allies in the Judiciary and the Justice Department of the current administration; who have advanced 'their clear totalitarian ideology and intent.'

Dr. Seuss was a prophet, and the Grinch is indeed a reality.

“So the shopping malls won’t let anyone say ‘Christmas.’ Oh big deal. That’s no war on Christmas. Herod killed every first born. Now THAT was a war on Christmas!”

Idiot. All you have to do is refer to Sun Tzu: The object of war is to convince the enemy to cease to oppose you effectively. The measure of the truly, commandingly successful leader is not to have won many battles over the enemy, but to have short-circuited the enemy's opposition so that he fails to even ATTEMPT to oppose you. The war on Christmas is, by this measure, a "real war", at least it is far along in the process of achieving the real object of war.

Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

Fr Reardon, whose writings on the Orthodox perspective can be read profitably, is certainly no fellow traveler with the Left nor he can be accused of being even a little bit PC.
Perhaps, he considers the Bolshevist persecution of the Orthodox--that was war.
He was in news in June this year for his refusal to sign civil marriage licenses.

Bedarz, the Touchstone post says what it says. If you think J. Douglas Johnson (who obviously idolizes him) has misrepresented Reardon, you should go argue with Johnson about it, not me. Perhaps Fr. Reardon was having a bad day that day, and Johnson is unfortunately perpetuating his ill-considered remark.

But it was a _very_ ill-considered remark, Johnson's gleeful advertisement of it and emphasis on it is even worse, and I make no apology for criticizing it sharply just because they're both conservatives. They're wrong on this one.

I have stumbled across this 2015 blog post four years after the fact, and so I suppose my comment won't be read, but I'll say my peace regardless. First, I couldn't agree more--along with Fr. Patrick Henry Rearson--that we are surrounded by those who hate our faith and who want to run Christ out of Christmas.

But imagine yourself talking to someone who takes offense at the Christ in Christmas. He or she is one of those persons whose bodies seize for a second when you greet them with "Merry Christmas." How should you respond to such a person? You can bemoan the banning of "Merry Christmas" or whatever else from Macy's or some other department store, but to what effect? The person to whom you are talking might be the one that banned it. He or she is happy to say there's a war on Christmas, and that she's manning the front lines. He or she will be elated to see the sadness or fury in your eyes.

But now imagine saying to this same person "War on Christmas? Pah! This is no war on Christmas..." Pause for a second. This person will be happy to see she's talking to a kindred spirit who thinks the Christians are a bunch of whiny, anti-science loons. What are those Christians upset about this year? She's about to ask you if you'd like to go grab a drink, and then hit her with" Herod had every first-born killed. Now THAT was a war on Christmas."

She wants the war on Christmas to be a war against what she considers a fairy-tale. But this line says, "oh it's no fairy tale dearie. It's very real. This man overthrew the Hasmonean kings in the first century. He knew a real threat when he heard about one, and that's why he had every first born killed."

This is not something you say to faithful Christians. It's something you say to the enemies of Christ, with the objective of pulling the rug out from under them.

Sorry, I don't buy it. According to your story, Fr. Pat *did* say it to a faithful Christian. And he said it with a "big deal" and a flatly false statement ("There's no war on Christmas") thrown in for good measure. And if your story is an accurate representation, I'm quite sure that the parishioner went away feeling that his instinctive (and correct) conservative sense that our heritage is under attack by ideologues had just been belittled as over-reaction, Christian victim-mongering, wimpiness, etc., etc. And that's how you come across in the article as well. The added reference to "O'Reilly in a rant" just confirms the impression. You clever chaps are above hoi polloi conservatives who listen to O'Reilly or who feel affirmed when someone "rants" about the "war on Christmas."


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