How the Left Stole
December 10, 2001
Birmingham, England has cancelled Christmas, and not because Scrooge has taken over city hall. Seems multiculturalists worked a bit of magic with the calendar and came up with a nifty non-offensive replacement: “Winterval.” Now it’s possible to light a menorah, weave a Kwanzaa mkeka, and hail the winter solstice while singing “Away in a Manger.” Just don’t sing too loud. Or sing in a public place. Or mention that “Little Lord Jesus” part. On second thought, stick to the mkeka-making.
We’ve yet to follow Britain’s enlightened lead by plucking Joseph from nativities because his patriarchal gaze insults single moms, but we’re not faring much better on this side of the pond. In Eugene, Oregon, public Christmas trees are contraband. In Vienna, Virginia, religious carols are gone from the annual Christmas program. “Jingle Bells” in. “I Heard the Bells” out. Up the road in Kensington, Maryland, Santa wasn’t invited to thelocal tree-lighting ceremony because of his "religious" significance. No word on whether the kids who missed him knew of his sordid past as St. Nicholas.
This fit of secularism has a paradoxical feel.Only after a tumble up the down staircase should those offended by Christmas care to police the birthday of the Christ they don’t believe in. If Bethlehem’s baby is no more than myth, then Christmas should be the benign observance of a few deluded followers - as worrisome to atheists as rain dances are to weathermen. But the season has a spirit, and its exuberance is contagious. Thus, the Left found a way to share the warmth of chestnuts roasting while escaping the obligation of faith.
The result is diverse incoherence. WhenKenmore and West Seneca, New York set up public crèches, the ACLU drew its usual club: separation of church and state. (Code for contempt of Christianity.) To avert a lawsuit, West Seneca installed figures of Frosty the Snowman, Mrs. Claus, and a Hanukkah menorah next to baby Jesus. Kenmore surrounded the offending stable with Santa, a snowman, and a Star of David. The ACLU took its inquisition elsewhere, leaving the towns to celebrate their muddled holiday. Score two for the secularists.
Their mission, propelled more by antipathy for the majority culture than appreciation of others, leaves the old pillars but renders them irrelevant. By cluttering the essential with the inconsequential they manage to make all equally tedious. It’s a relativist’s dream. Sandwiching herald angels between Frosty and Rudolph reduces all to cheerful figments, unthreatening and insignificant.
Same with Christmas. Packaged as an all-purpose holiday with a 1966 African festival and an ancient Jewish celebration, it’s little more than an ode to bright lights and remaining shopping days. Judges did their part by ruling the Clauses must accompany the wisemen to the manger. Tolerance took up the rest, deciding we would wish “Season’s Greetings” and observe “Winter Break.” Somewhere in between, the birthday that marks history got lost in the crowd -- rather like the Savior it once celebrated.
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