Christmas Irritants Pervasive
By: Frederick Meekins
Use to be during the Christmas season in modern America, if the individual wanted a little buzz during the holidays, they would slip a bit of something into their eggnog. Now, all you have to do to feel that surge of agitated surliness is to turn on the news or read about those turning themselves into the hind quarters of the species the Holy Family rode into Bethlehem in order to pay the assessed tax (an existential financial matter it seems fewer and fewer could possibly relate to).
If you think it is only secularists making an overall nuisance of themselves, you are in for a bigger disappointment than finding a lump of coal in your stocking Christmas morning.
For better or worse, the Internet is widespread enough that most are aware that there is nothing in the Bible compelling believers to participate in the celebration of the birth of Christ even though His miraculous arrival is documented in the pages of Scripture and that many of the trappings such as decorations and related customs now imbedded with meanings symbolizing the spiritually profound account have (to invoke a word of sectarian irony) less than kosher origins.
However, for the most part, Christians on either side of the divide have established a kind of amicable truce where for the most part about the worst that they do to their counterparts is to look down their noses at one another and snicker how peculiar or inconsistent the ones on the side of the debate opposite their own happen to be.
That has changed in one Michigan town. There, an anonymous equivalent of Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character from Saturday Night Live sent a letter to those daring to adorn their abodes with Christmas lights.
Usually, those going to such lengths as to put the criticism of such decorations into writing make a point of accusing either the decorations or the individual putting them up of being too religious. This time, the victims of such in your face busybodyism have been accused of not being religious enough.
The note insists that the homeowners ought to reevaluate their beliefs. This is because decorative lights, mistletoe, and yule logs can be traced back to pagan origins.
While nothing should be done about the doofus posting the letter since the First Amendment is pretty much a get out of jail free card for unbridled stupidity, it makes you wonder just how much authority over what goes on in homes or on our property should be granted to those insistent upon a hardline implementation of America’s Puritan heritage.
Most years, it seems many of the Christmas time outrages such as the one detailed above occur on the local level such as a school child having their constitutional religious liberties trampled upon in the attempt to forge Christmas-free school zones or as result of the directors of homeowners associations overly eager to enforce Soviet-style architectural conformity. However, it now seems the partisans of the White Witch of Narnia are attempting to assert themselves at the center stage of U.S. national government.
Irrespective of the overall decline in respect for the body brought about by the often unconscionable behavior on the part of the institution, Congress is often looked upon as the greatest deliberative body in the world in that its members are suppose to be able to speak their consciences freely to their fellow members, their particular constituencies, and the nation as a whole.
However, it now seems that an authority within the legislative branch may be attempting to curtail expression that, to most Americans not having jumped off the cliff into one variety of fanaticism or the other, would be about one of the least partisan things one could say as such sentiments are usually enunciated freely irrespective of the party affiliation of those to whom the greeting was intended. One of the perks extended to members of Congress is the so-called franking privilege where taxpayers pick up the tab for the postal correspondence between legislators and their respective constituencies.
In exchange for this benefit, the outgoing communications are required to adhere to certain criteria regarding content. For example, these items aren’t suppose to be of a campaign nature.
It seems now though that, at least in regards to the House of Representatives, wishing someone a Merry Christmas via these official dispatches has been deemed the equivalent of saying, “Vote for me because the other guy kicks puppies.” Proponents of the prohibition insist epistolary interference is necessary as today one never knows who might be offended by the platitude.
I’ll tell you what ought to offend people. It’s that these clowns don’t only get to send mail at someone else’s expense but that they’ll get to enjoy lavish retirements while the last words from your dieing lips will likely be “Hello. Welcome to Walmart” because Social Security will be nothing but a memory.
This snide disrespect towards the religion and customs of the vast majority of the American people on the part of parts of the Legislative Branch extends beyond the House mailroom. It has even come to infiltrate the symbols this branch of government has adopted to commemorate this particular holiday. In so doing, it has attempted to manipulate the meaning of the occasion in the minds of the American people.
On the Capitol grounds, each year a stately tree is erected. As with countless other trees the world over, this one is adorned with a variety of ornaments.
By tradition, the ornaments are donated by the residents of the state from where that year’s particular tree originated. The 2011 tree came from California. So hence the theme “California Shines”.
CNSNews correspondent Terrence Jeffery observed that, while the decoration is a Christmas tree, other than a reference to Psalm 19 symbolizing that the Word of God is more precious than gold, not a single ornament on the visible part of the tree references Christmas as the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is also an ornament declaring how much the creator of that particular bulb loves President Obama, the figure many concluded worthy of adoration as a new Christ figure for no other reason than that he emerged from his mother’s womb of racially mixed pigmentation but who came up disappointingly short perhaps even more so than many other aspiring pseudo-messiahs.
When informed of this incongruity, officials from the U.S. Forest Service and the Architect of the Capitol both sheepishly feigned an unawareness as to the nature of the tree’s adornment and insisted that there is no stipulated prohibition regarding decoration content. However, that does not mean that hullabaloo surrounding the tree will remain objective and neutral.
To get students particularly to contribute ornaments to the tree effort, a special curriculum was developed. Yet if you assumed the lesson plan was about how these trees came to be replete with Christian metaphor and symbolism, you are sadly mistaken.
Instead, the Christmas tree has become merely an additional prop in the unending effort to indoctrinate students with environmentalism. According to Jefferies, the website sponsoring the decoration contest intones, “We ask that all ornaments for the Capitol Christmas Tree be made of natural or recycled materials…There is No Away with your students when they create an ornament for the Tree. Ask students where they think that trash goes when they throw it away. Work with them until they understand that trash eventually ends up in a landfill. Show students the image of a landfill.”
Can’t the students of today simply be allowed to do something for fun without being politically browbeaten? Why ought they be made to feel guilty for simply living and enjoying their lives when greater examples of waste occur at the levels fostering environmentalism not so much as a way to steward finite resources but rather as a way to control those of us deemed to be the lesser breeds of man.
If we are to lead lives of constant ecological vigilance as epitomized by the constant admonitions to buy locally grown produce, carpool to work, and these guidelines insinuating the environment will collapse if ornaments aren’t crafted from recycled material, isn’t one of the most profound examples of unnecessary excess the annual felling of a tree and the shipping of it to Washington, DC for no other reason than to titillate Congress’s sense of Yuletide vanity?
Between 1964 and 1968, the tree decorated was one planted permanently on the Capitol grounds. So in this era where environmental concerns are suppose to triumph over other concerns such as convenience and enjoyment, shouldn’t our so-called leaders set the example by planting a permanent tree rather than harvesting one at the close of each year?
The U.S. government is divided into three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Each of these have played their own role as a social irritant in the disputes regarding Christmas.
The courts have eroded the Judeo-Christian foundations of the legal system through rulings such as those removing Nativities and Menorahs from public land and decisions curtailing religious expression in the public school system.
In this exposition, it has already been examined the role played by the legislature in fomenting Christmas discord. Readers should not expect the executive branch to go unscathed.
Regarding the other examples examined thus far, each has been about those attempting to undermine the celebration of Christmas. However, it seems the Executive Branch may have gone overboard in commemorating Christmas 2011.
During his ascent to power as well as throughout the duration of his reign, Barack Obama has consistently called for shared sacrifice on the part of all Americans in the hopes of getting the nation through challenging economic times. One would think such a plea for austerity would result in the White House erecting only one or two trees not all that different than those enjoyed by Americans in most of our homes. And the cost for such a decoration ought to come out of the Obamas’ personal pockets given that they are multimillionaires several times over and it is doubtful they have been burdened with picking up the tab for their own Washington utility bills while we let them bunk in the servants’ quarters.
However, White House decorators didn’t exactly take the spirit of the Charlie Brown Christmas special to heart with that program’s classic message that even the scrawniest tree possesses its own form of inner beauty. Not only were thirty-plus Christmas trees jammed under the White House roof but also a gingerbread house weighing nearly 500 pounds. I am sure it wasn’t wasted and was distributed for consumption once it was no longer needed for ornamental purposes.
When this incongruity of calling upon the rest of us to give a little more up for the good of the COMMUNITY while she herself wallows and frolics amongst extravagant opulence was pointed out, Michelle Obama feigned what a burden it really was dwelling in the light of such splendor. The First Lady assured the trees are really there to uplift the spirits of the struggling in America, especially the unemployed and the families of U.S. military personnel.
But try showing up unannounced (even if you belong to one of these two unassailable classes invoked to nullify and evade nearly every form of known criticism) insisting you are there to see YOUR trees and see how far you get. The only holiday greenery you’d get to see after that would be the mold on the bread in the prison cafeteria.
The First Family spent the lion’s share of their Christmas vacation in Hawaii. So few Americans get to see the White House (as well as numerous other sites around Washington, DC) thanks in part to the security procedures put into place as a result of the Jihadist Third Worlders Obama so admires in the darkest depths of his heart.
There is really little reason for the White House to be decorated at all other than for a sprig or two of evergreen in the windows or on the pillars for the tourists to take pictures of from the sidewalk. But I doubt the common American is even allowed to do that anymore given that glorified rentacops so inebriated on their trivial amount of power that they don’t enforce properly enacted laws but rather ones pulled from their rear holsters.
Even though fewer and fewer Christians or conservatives want to admit to the existence of the culture wars anymore either out of the weariness that inevitably results from nearly constant struggle or for fear of losing any status they might have gained as a result of silent compromise, these disputes for the most part have become a permanent feature of American society. And until the triumphant return of the King so humbly born in that simple manger, these disputes surrounding the day celebrating His birth will no doubt ring out as among that conflict’s most contentious.