The so-called ‘war on Christmas’ is a really big deal amongst the right wing. Google “War on Christmas” and get 570 MILLION hits. That’s 570 million pages of discussion about the so-called ‘war on Christmas.’ Google just “the war on Christmas books” and get 1,200,000 hits. That’s pages of discussion about the books on the topic. I have researched this war and discovered the source. For the first time, you can find out exactly who started the war and when. But first, let’s take a closer look at the topic.
Sara Palin describes her book:
“The book is about protecting the heart of Christmas – it’s good tidings and great joy. It’s a fun, festive book – but it also offers some legalese on how to fight back and not allow the heart of Christmas to be taken out of America.”
That’s the concept in a nutshell. The evil liberals are trying to take the heart of Christmas out of America. This is what the right wing keeps saying over and over and over again. In truth, the war on Christmas isn’t the whole story. It’s just a piece of a larger battle. Media Matters, several years ago, looked into Bill O’Reilly’s book:
“About this time last year, the media was abuzz with talk of a purported “war” on Christmas, a charge promoted by Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, who blamed the supposed offensive on “secular progressives” who seek to drive religion from the public square. This October, O’Reilly resumed his fight against the “war” — the same month the book The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought (Sentinel, 2005), written by O’Reilly’s fellow Fox News host John Gibson, was published. The allegation of a secular conspiracy against the Christian holiday became a recurring theme on Fox News programs; for example, over the course of a five-day period at the end of November through early December, the network had devoted 58 segments to the topic.”
They identified the point perfectly: “secular progressives who seek to drive religion from the public square.” The so-called ‘war on Christmas’ is just the last gasp, back to the wall effort of the right wing to keep prayer in the public square. This is what it’s all about. The right wing has been fighting the battle to keep prayer in the public square and losing. Over and over, the Supreme Court has been siding with the ‘secular progressives.’ There was the judge who wanted the Ten Commandments in the lobby. The right wing lost that one. Then, there’s the whole issue of school prayer.
There were two cases that went to the Supreme Court in the early sixties, Engel v. Vitale and the Abington School District v. Schempp, both of which were about the legality of forcing students to recite or listen to prayers in school. In both case, the court said no. But the right wing refuses to let it go. The current approach is that they are promoting a constitutional amendment. In fact, the constitutional amendment came up for a vote in the House of Representatives back in 1998 and the vote was 224 to 203 in favor of a constitutional amendment to allow schools to require prayer in school but to be accepted as a constitutional amendment required 285 votes.
Then, there is public prayer in town meetings. Here’s Mike Gallagher talking about the latest case to go before the Supreme Court on Facebook:
“Alliance Defending Freedom will go before the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow to defend and preserve public prayer in America. Show your support by signing the Statement of Support for Public Prayer, and help us get to 100,000 signatures.”
This is what the organization says about their case- Alliance for Defending Freedom: “Attempts to Dismantle Public Prayer Unravel the Fabric of our Society.” Public prayer is that important. Without it, our society is doomed. And, they won their case.
This is the battle. It’s been going on for fifty years. The right wing has been promoting the right to public prayer. They win some battles and loose others. Where did it all start? Here is the very first quote coming out against public prayer:
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the Republicans are: for they love to pray standing in the schools, town meetings and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
There it is, an abundantly clear admonition against public prayer. I doubt that many of you are familiar with this particular quote, so let me skip ahead and give you another portion of the same passage, what to say when praying in private, a quote which I feel that all of you will recognize immediately:
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
The battle began with the words that came from the lips of Jesus Christ in the preamble to the Lord’s Prayer. (I substituted the word ‘Republican’ for hypocrite, just to be clear.) It isn’t the secular progressives who first argued that people should pray in private, it was Jesus Christ.
The leadership of the Republican right does this over and over. They convince their base to do the exact opposite of the teachings of Christ. Make no mistake, in every religion, people slip up, they fail to carry out some particular prohibition. This is different. This is the leadership of the religious right deliberately convincing their base to do the exact opposite of the teachings of Christ. Their base simply accepts whatever they are told. They don’t think for themselves, they just repeat the slogans they are given, even if what they are told is the exact opposite of what Jesus Christ has told them. The base doesn’t think but the leadership knows exactly what they are doing. They fill the minds of the base with lies to generate fear, hatred and anger. When they succeed, it makes the base exceedingly easy to manipulate. They do it to make it easy to strip money from the 95% and give it to their rich friends to put in offshore accounts.
Much of the right wing believes that the end of times is either here or, at least, very near. Here are a few websites out of the 390 million Google hits discussing the end of times:
Rapture Ready: The end of times are screaming at us.
Discover Revelations: More signs of Christ’s return exist today than at any time in history.
NowTheEndBegins: While we cannot name the exact date of the Lord’s Return its nearness may be known by the character of the Times.
Contender Ministries: “It is increasingly obvious that the time of our Lord’s coming is drawing near.”
The discussion is really endless. Personally, I don’t believe that there will be an antichrist, at least not any time soon. I’ve read Revelations and I have a real problem with the concept. One of the problems that I’ve had is believing that people would follow the antichrist. Now, I see the Christian right following people preaching the exact opposite of what Christ said. It isn’t simply about public prayer, far from it. It seems that the leadership of the Christian right preach the exact opposite of most, if not all of the things taught by Jesus Christ. They are truly evil people and the right wing follows them blindly. One might even think that the leadership of the Christian right, the neocon movement is the antichrist. This doesn’t seem plausible either. They seem to be exclusively interested in striping money and power out of the hands of the rest of us.
Perhaps you are not convinced. Perhaps showing you that the Christian right is thoroughly opposed to one of the things that was given by Jesus Christ doesn’t prove that they are opposed to most of the things that were preached by Jesus Christ is not enough. I’ll be back with more. In the meantime, it appears that the right wing of the Republican Party in general and the Tea Party in particular would fall right in behind the Antichrist should he appear.