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December 25, 2004
Column #1,217

                                Let's Put Christ Back in Christmas
                        
     This Christmas Christians are fed up with the removal of Christ from Christmas. They are fighting back, and they are winning some battles.

     "People are tired of the growing number of cases by ACLU attorneys," said Family
Research Council President Tony Perkins. "When they take Christmas Carols out of
schools, we are robbed of the joy of Christmas. Our folks have been isolated by the media and made to feel their values are out of sync. Christmas is part of our heritage. It's who we are, what we grew up with.

     "It is called Christmas, not Buddhamas."

     Last Christmas Pastor George Morrison of Faith Bible Chapel in Denver took his family to see the Denver Parade of Lights and noticed, "There was an absolute absence of anything related to the birth of Christ." He thought that a mistake had been made. In spring he called the Denver Downtown Partnership and offered to have his church create a float this Christmas.

     "What kind of a float do you have in mind?" they asked.

      "I'd have a choir singing Christmas carols, some of which might be Latino American or African American, and a banner that says "Merry Christmas." 

     "We don't allow any religious themes. No 'Merry Christmas' or singing of carols.'"

     The pastor was "shocked." He called the religious writer for the Rocky Mountain News, who checked into it and found that one float featured a "Two Spirit Society," a group of gay and lesbian American Indians. Another float displayed Chinese in a dance of the Lion to "ward off evil spirits."

     "I am doubly offended," Pastor Morrison replied. "Christians can't celebrate Christmas but other religious groups can participate." This outrageous double standard was exposed three days before the parade and became the lead story on TV and radio. My son, Adam, interviewed Pastor Morrison on his San Antonio radio station, KSLR, and posted the names, addresses, phone numbers and emails of the leaders of the Denver Downtown Partnership on his website. 

     Sheepishly, the Partnership's leaders asked to meet the Pastor on Monday. He agreed, but recruited the Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese to join him. Reinforcements were not needed. The Partnership's Chairman said, "We are changing our policy. We will let you in next year."

     In Pasco County, Florida county officials ordered a nighttime removal of Christmas trees from libraries, recreation and community centers to avoid "more public controversy." The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) called local officials and told them "The acts of censorship you are engaging in are unconstitutional."

     The county replied, "This is not a decision by Pasco County...It is a decision previously made by the Supreme Court and we are obliged to follow the law." The ACLJ retorted that the assertion was not factually correct. The Supreme Court never took a position on Christmas trees; It did say nativity scenes can be displayed in public areas without violating the Constitution.

     The Christmas trees are back up in Pasco County.

      The fight seems to be everywhere. The Broward and Fashion malls in South Florida put up a Hanukah menorah but no nativity scene. School children in Lake County, IL were barred from singing Christmas Carols on the bus. In Kirkland, WA, a production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was halted. Mustang, OK school officials banned the singing of Silent Night.

     But the battle is beginning to turn. When Target Stores told the Salvation Army it could no longer collect donations in sidewalk pots, costing millions in donations, Wal*Mart announced the Salvation Army was welcome at its stores which would donate up to $1 million to match individual gifts.

     In North Carolina Pastor Pat Wooden of the Upper Room Church of God said,
"It is time for born again people to come out of the closet. There is power at the cash register." Dillards Department store clerks pointedly wish a "Merry Christmas" to shoppers and saw their sales rise.

     Charles Krauthammer, a Jewish columnist, deplored pettifoggers who "strip Christmas of any Christian content...Are we to pretend that Christmas is nothing but an orgy of commerce in celebration of...what? The winter solstice?

     "I'm struck by the fact that you almost never find Orthodox Jews complaining about a Christmas creche in the public square. That is because their children, steeped in the richness of their own religious tradition, know who they are and are not threatened by Christians celebrating their religion in public. They are enlarged by it."

     "Merry Christmas. To all," wrote Krauthamer. 

     Amen.

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