Tuesday, December 23, 2003

...and Everything Else Too

  Fox News reports that there is an alarming and growing trend afoot to remove all vestiges of our Christian heritage not only from public Yuletide celebrations and displays, but from everything else the public square as well.

It seems militant secularist groups with more time and $$$ than brains on their hands are increasingly Hell-bent upon shoving Christianity, including Christmas itself, and Western religion in general down George Orwell's Memory Hole: 

...Burning the flag is considered free speech; erecting crosses as roadside memorials is not. The FCC allows the "F-word" on television, but thanking God at a high school graduation is a no-no. And some schools freely dispense condoms to kids, but pencils that read "Jesus loves little children" were confiscated from a first-grade class in Virginia.

Some, like
War on Christianity author David Limbaugh, say the list of examples is long and is evidence of an undeclared cultural war on the religion.

But those on the other side of the battle, like Elliot Minceberg of People for the American Way, point to the Constitutional separation of church and state as the reason behind keeping religion out of public life.

...[But] the Constitution doesn't explicitly discuss separating church and state. Instead, what it does say is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...," which means that, unlike in England, the United States decided not to form an official national religion, nor can the government interfere with the practice of any religion.

In fact, in 1789, in the days after Congress passed the First Amendment, it declared a national day of prayer.

Still, the number of bans on public displays of Christianity continue to grow...

The American Public Takes on the Grinches

  In his nationally syndicated op-ed column of this past Sunday, pundit John Leo notes that there is a growing popular resistance against efforts by the ACLU and other radical "First Amendment" groups to erase Christmas and traditional seasonal references, as well as Christmas carols and symbols, from all public "holiday" displays and events: 

....on the whole, things are not going well for the Grinches. In New Jersey, for example, the Hanover Township school district said it was considering a ban on Christmas carols and other religious songs at school concerts. Parents protested and threatened to sue, so the school board beat a hasty retreat. “If a school wants religious music, they can have it, the way they could before,” said the school board president.

The key phrase here is “threatened to sue.” In the old days, when an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer would show up to hammer some tiny school board into submission, the legal costs of resisting were so high that the boards usually caved in. Now the anti-Grinches have legal muscle of their own. The Arizona-based
Alliance Defense Fund, which supported the Hanover parents, claims to have 700 lawyers ready to fight anti-Christmas assaults around the country. The ADF played a lead role in blocking an attempt by the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League to force a charter school in Elbert County, Colo., to ban religious songs from its holiday concert. The Anti-Defamation League said the school’s program was harming the sense of well-being of Jewish students. But how harmful can it be to sing six Christmas carols, two Hanukkah songs, and a lot of ditties about Rudolph and Frosty?

In Plano, Texas, a school district refused to allow a third grader at a class party to hand out candy canes with a religious message attached. The
Liberty Legal Institute and the ADF jumped in last week and demanded that the district back down, arguing that “public schools are not zones of religious censorship.”

The [Catholic]
Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Mich., supported a parent’s legal challenge to the New York City public schools’ policy that allows the Islamic star and crescent and the Jewish menorah (which the Anti-Defamation League concedes is a religious symbol) but not Christian religious symbols such as a Nativity display. The schools’ chancellor offered a tortured argument in court: The menorah has a “secular dimension” large enough to qualify as nonreligious. The judge, who was caustic about the school policy during arguments, is expected to rule any day....

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