Christmas Confusion: Religious Right Keeps Looking For God In All The Wrong Places
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:45:14 AM EST

The broken record that is Mat Staver, founder of the Religious Right group Liberty Counsel, is at it again: Christmas is under attack. Christmas is under attack. Christmas is under attack.

You could have fooled me. I stopped in a local mall last weekend, and it sure looked to me like Christmas was in full swing. On my way there, I passed more than one church with a Nativity scene on its lawn. Based on the decorations on my block alone, which include both the secular and the sacred, you'd have a hard time not knowing it's Christmastime.

Staver was featured prominently in a story issued by OneNewsNow, a right-wing "news" outfit owned by the Rev. Donald Widmon's American Family Association. OneNewsNow exists primarily to provide an alternative source to right-wingers who can't abide the regular news - you know, news anchored in reality.

Anyway, in a recent story, Staver laid it all out for us. Citing a recent poll by the conservative Rasmussen firm, Staver insisted that Americans wants more Jesus in their Christmas and also want the holiday celebrated in public schools.

Let's assume for a minute that this is true. (I'm skeptical because people have been known to fudge the truth to pollsters, especially when the topic is religion. Lots of people, for example, tell pollsters they go to church when they haven't darkened the door in quite some time.)

So, for the sake of argument, let's say that lots of Americans want a more religious Christmas. A question comes to mind: Is this hard to find?

Not unless you live in Saudi Arabia. Even small towns in America feature a variety of churches. Most of these institutions are more than happy to deck the halls with religious trimmings in December. They fling open the doors and welcome every visitor. They have religious hymns, prayers, Nativity scenes (live or otherwise), midnight services, candles, incense, blessings, holiday pageants, you name it.

Staver, for some reason, insists on expecting city hall to celebrate his religion. Any sensible person would realize why city hall is a poor place for a religious celebration - esthetically and legally. It's like going to a store that sells high-end electronics and wondering why there are no groceries. It's because you're in the wrong place.

It's the same with the public schools. Our schools serve children of many different religious beliefs and none. Even among the Christians, you will find a range of beliefs, with some insisting that the Bible be interpreted literally and others rejecting that.

Because of this diversity, public schools are limited in what they can do when it comes to acknowledging Christmas. They have to stick to the holiday's cultural aspects or discuss it as part of a program of secular education.

Again, any number of churches in town will be happy to explain the religious aspects of Christmas to children. And here's some surprising news for Staver: The people who work in churches - members of the clergy - are experts at this. They were specially trained to explain theology to people. Public school teachers aren't.

But, of course, we know what Staver is really up to here: He believes only his fundamentalist version of Christianity is right and true, and he wants government entities, including the public schools, to impose it on others.

This isn't about celebrating Christmas, it's about controlling it and making sure people acknowledge the holiday in a way Staver and his fundamentalist elves approve of.

No thanks, Mat. America is a diverse place, and we'll keep the decision about how and whether to celebrate Christmas where it belongs - with every individual as dictated by his or her conscience.

Of course Staver will reply that religion and faith aren't just for houses of worship on Saturday or Sunday and will assert that we're trying to keep his religion hemmed in. Not al all. Under our Constitution, Americans have the right to engage in as much (or as little) religious activity as they want. So, Mat, feel free to read the Bible to your kids. Sing hymns with them. Take them to religious events in the middle of the week. Put a large nativity scene on your front lawn. Walk around your community and distribute Bible tracts, etc.

You can do all of this on your own. Just don't expect the government to help you evangelize. It's not the government's job and, to be perfectly honest, they tend to do a poor job of it anyway.

And, Mat, if you're really having trouble getting more religion into your Christmas this year, just drop me a line. One of the churches I passed with the Nativity scene on its lawn looks like it might have what you're after. I'll be happy to hook you up.




Display:
It is interesting how many of the people who populate the Religious Right have such a split view of government.  On the one hand, they want government to butt out in regard to regulations or "social safety nets," but on the other hand, they would like government to basically "enforce" the dissemination of fundamentalist Christian religious beliefs -- even if other people are already content to follow beliefs of their own (or none at all).

I guess that this proves that what they really want is a Theocracy.  Hopefully, they will never get their way, because some of the biggest casualties--at least initially--will probably be other Christians who don't agree with their interpretations.

by coralsea on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:36:53 PM EST

The religious right are not interested in a logical assessment of their beliefs and the appropriate moderation of their behavior. They are shallow authoritarians.

by PastorJennifer on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:54:09 PM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


Whine Festival: Second-Tier Religious Right Leaders Still Don't Like Marriage Equality
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.In preparation for this, a sad collection of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Whither the Christian Right in the Democratic Party?
You don't have to be a Hillary hater (and I'm not) to recognize that Clinton and other Democratic Party leaders have had long and......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Bishop Robert Finn Resigns Leadership of St. Joseph-Kansas City Diocese
Bishop Robert W. Finn, the Opus Dei Bishop who was convicted by a Missouri court for failing to report suspected child abuse by a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Two Overlooked Indiana Outcomes that Could Haunt the Christian Right
I think there are two underreported features of the fallout from Indiana that we should make sure do not get lost in the hoo......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
President Obama Can Help Stop Religious Discrimination
Barry Lynn, the longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently posted an important essay at Huffington Post. In......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Marriage Matters: Thoughts On The Recent Unpleasantness In Indiana
Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of "Interfaith Voices," a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
The Campaign Against Pro-LGBTQ Denominations
The recent endorsement of marriage equality by the Presbyterian Church (USA) seemed like a good moment to discuss the campaign to divide and conquer......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Upcoming Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice
The 29th annual conference From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom will be held from April 10-12 at Hampshire......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Crusin with Cruz
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right] Did you......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine
Here's what the country doesn't need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.Yet that's what......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)

Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (2 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.