Bryan Fischer
National holidays and Christmas displays
By Bryan Fischer
December 16, 2008

The flap over holiday displays in the Washington State capitol reached such epic proportions of silliness and political correctness that the state governor finally just called off the jam (an old roller derby term, for the uninitiated) and said no more by declaring a moratorium on any further holiday displays in the state capitol.

Out of an utterly misguided attempt to please everyone, the befuddled governor allowed an atheist declaration to be put up next to a Nativity scene as part of a Christmas display, even though atheism has nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas. (The literal meaning of "Christmas" is "celebration of Christ.")

But when Seinfeld fans insisted on a Festivus display, others asked for a "Flying Spaghetti Monster" display, the Buddhists wanted in, and the Fred Phelps wackos at Westboro Baptist Church wanted to put up the message "Santa Claus will take you to hell," she finally said enough is enough.

But if you separate public displays from any connection with the holiday they are designed to honor, then supporters of the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" have just as much a right to public space as anyone else.

Once public officials allow menorahs and Islamic crescents as part of their holiday displays — symbols that have nothing whatsoever to do with the national holiday we celebrate this time of year — then why shouldn't other groups be able to put up other displays that likewise have nothing to do with Christmas?

The solution to Washington's chaos — which eventually will be repeated everywhere public officials allow menorahs or Islamic crescents (as Armonk, NY has done) in addition to Christmas trees or Nativity scenes — is quite simple as a matter of public policy. (Armonk, by the way, doesn't allow a Nativity scene for Christmas, but now has a star and crescent. Go figure.)

Since Washington's governor is now "review(ing) ... its current policy for exhibits and displays," I offer the following suggestion for consideration.

The general principle is quite simple: only those displays that are connected to the national holiday which is being celebrated need be allowed. End of story.

If, for instance, public officials don't draw the line at displays connected to Christmas, then the truth is there is no place to draw the line and silly and idiotic chaos is the logical and inevitable outcome.

Since "Christmas" is an official national holiday, which Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha and Kwanzaa are not, public officials should be free to allow displays that commemorate Christmas and nothing else.

From a legal standpoint, Christmas is an official national celebration of the birth of an historical figure, whose life left an indelible imprint on American history and culture.

For this same reason, there is no reason public officials should be compelled to allow KKK displays during the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, Confederate displays on Abraham Lincoln's birthday, or Cinco de Mayo displays on July 4.

What part of the phrase "official national holiday" do folks not understand?

The proper solution is for atheists to go to work to get Christmas officially outlawed as a national holiday. Good luck with that. Until that day comes, they should just leave us all alone and go to work on getting a national holiday to celebrate atheism. Good luck with that too.

From a legal standpoint, only out-of-control judicial activism could have created a mythical problem with the First Amendment in the first place. According to the Framers' intent, only Congress can violate the First Amendment, and it can only do so by making one Christian denomination the official church of the United States.

Well, Washington state is not Congress, and the Nativity is celebrated by every Christian denomination. No problem, no worries, no constitutional issue. Back to the Founders, anyone?

© Bryan Fischer


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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