First off, I want to clarify a couple of things:
1. I agree with Bill O’Reilly’s statements regarding the culture wars and the war on Christmas.
2. Even though I agree with SOME of his points of view, I think Bill O’Reilly is incredibly arrogant.
3. I am a Christian.
4. I believe that everyone in the United States has the right to express his or her own religion. We should not be a homogeneous country made up entirely of Christians.
5. No religion should receive preferential treatment in the public sphere. 6. Christmas, and Christians in general, have taken a beating in recent years.
Now that that’s out of the way, I will define the problem. I believe that there has been a concerted effort to thwart the public display of the Christian religion in recent years. It is no longer politically correct to say “Merry Christmas” or to display a nativity scene in front of city hall. Secular progressives who wish to completely get rid of any public displays of religion whatsoever, especially the Christian religion, have led this effort. This Christmas season, I’ve noticed a couple of trends.
1. There has been a backlash against the politically correct “Happy Holidays.” Recently Wal-Mart announced that their greeters and cashiers will no longer say “Happy Holidays,” but will now say “Merry Christmas.” Personally, I think people have had enough of the generic, meaningless “Happy Holidays.” Let’s be honest, this country is still predominately Christian. That doesn’t mean that people who practice other religions or belief systems feel excluded. It simply means that ALL Americans should be free to express their religious beliefs in the public sphere. Separation of Church and State should not mean a complete ban on all public displays of religion.
2. While Christmas displays, and Christmas itself, come under attack, other religious displays are welcome. Last year, I remember seeing a segment on a town in Florida that allowed a public Menorah display, but insisted on calling its Christmas tree a “holiday tree” (yet, they insisted that it represented Christmas… it doesn’t make sense to me). It would be taboo to attack a Jewish, Islamic, or any other religious display other than a Christian display; however, it is perfectly acceptable to question any public display of Christianity.
In my opinion, there is a simple solution to all of this mess. Why not allow public religious displays from EVERY religion? As long as there is no direct support of one religion over another by the Federal government, I don’t see how there could be a problem. It would be appropriate for a city such as New York City to have both a Christian and a Jewish holiday display. In other words, if there is enough interest from one religious group to have a display, there should be one. I simply don’t see how you could go wrong with such a simple system. We need to get over the thinking that any religious display whatsoever in the public sphere necessarily promotes one religion over another. Getting rid of religion in the public sphere is a dangerous step towards losing religious freedom.