Monday, November 21, 2005

The Christmas Revolution

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Those are the first words of the First Amendment to the United States
Constitution, which also covers freedom of speech, freedom of the
press, the right to assemble and the right to petition the government.
This discussion will be limited to the establishment of religion
clause, as most people refer to it.

I'm neither a lawyer nor a constitutional scholar, but I do know what
the meaning of "is" is, and it seems to me that the ACLU, atheists,
liberal Democrats and activist judges for far too long have been given
free rein to interpret the clause not broadly, as conventional wisdom
assumes, but in an extremely limited manner: They focus solely on the
"establishment of religion" part, while completely ignoring the second
part, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

If anything, the second part carries more weight, because it relates
directly to the rest of the First Amendment, which deals with freedom
of expression.

The leftists have been on a roll in recent years to such an extent
that all of a sudden we find ourselves unable to participate in the
Christmas traditions Americans of all ages have enjoyed for more than
200 years.

"Merry Christmas" has become prohibited speech in America to such an
extent that it has become increasingly difficult to find even a
Christmas card that carries the greeting. If you think I am
exaggerating, go to any drugstore, supermarket or card specialty shop
and browse the selection. The word "Christmas" has been replaced by
the more inclusive—and bland—"Holidays." People from all walks of
life, from department store clerks to business executives (and most
certainly politicians) avoid the phrase "Merry Christmas" at all
costs. "Happy Holidays" is now the politically correct greeting.
Nativity scenes, Christmas pageants and carols that reference a higher
being are now banned from any location or venue even remotely
connected with local, state or federal government, including public
schools, city parades and anything else the ACLU can think of in their
relentless assault on the free exercise of religion. Soon, mark my
words, Christmas as a national holiday will cease to exist; it will
likely be replaced with some Druid-sounding, politically correct name,
such as "Winter Festival."

Ironically, in many places where Christmas and Christian religious
icons are banned, expressions of other religions—Menorahs and the
Koran, for example—are somehow acceptable in the name of tolerance and
diversity. Beyond the Christmas purge, all references to God or
Christianity are under attack from the left. Soon, we'll be chiseling
off adornments to thousands of government buildings, including the
U.S. Supreme Court, that feature Moses or the Ten Commandments or
(gasp!) the word "God". Our national motto, "In God We Trust," will
be stricken from all currency, "under God" excised from the Pledge of
Allegiance (they're not done with that one, yet), swearing on the
Bible in court or at inaugurations will be banned, and the expression
"God bless you," uttered to a sneezer will be strictly verboten.

Exaggeration? I don't think so. Who could have imagined the state we
are in today, when Christian churches are prohibited from
participating in "holiday parades" in which gay American Indians strut
their stuff?

Haven't the ACLU and activist judges crossed the line to such an
extent that they now prohibit the free exercise of religion—not to
mention free speech itself? Are we not experiencing tyranny of the
minority in America? And what is to be done about it?

Americans of all political persuasions must first ask themselves if
they wish to live in a country that prohibits Christmas, limits
freedom of speech and expressions of religion and allows a busybody
minority to impose its will—and whim—on the vast majority of our
citizens. In other words, do we believe in liberty or tyranny?

The answer to that is self-evident.

Then, we need to break the logjam in Congress that has prevented
strict constructionist judges from being appointed to the federal
courts. Democrats cannot be permitted to thwart the Constitution
procedurally by blocking judicial nominees from even coming up for a
vote. Up to now, they have justified their obstructionist tactics in
the name of preserving a woman's right to an abortion, but as we have
seen, the implications go far beyond that narrow issue to encompass
freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Republicans are just as culpable as the Democrats, because, despite
holding a plurality in both houses of Congress, they have been
unwilling to confront the obstructionists head-on, through rules
changes, Constitutional challenges or even staying up around the clock
to outlast threatened filibusters. Both parties should be ashamed and
both should be held to account for their actions or lack thereof.

President Bush has made a good start in naming strict constructionists to the Supreme Court. If the Democrats want to oppose them on ideological grounds, Republicans should invoke the so-called nuclear option.

Next, we should consider a new amendment to the Constitution
clarifying the First Amendment so that religious expression—even in
government venues—cannot be abridged.

Finally, we all need to adopt the tactics of the opposition and begin
engaging in acts of civil disobedience. If the Mayor of San Francisco
can thwart the law and perform gay marriage ceremonies, then why can't
our local judges and elected officials follow the courageous example
of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who sacrificed all as a
result of placing a Ten Commandments monument in the State Supreme
Court building?

Elected officials of all parties across the United States need to dust
off those nativity scenes and brazenly plant them in front of City
Hall. Church congregations, carrying Bibles, crosses and other
overtly religious symbols should march uninvited in city "Winter
Festival" parades, then stage sit-ins when police attempt to deny
their right to express their religious convictions.

Voters everywhere should demand that candidates for office state their
position on Christmas and freedom of religious expression. If they do
not pass the liberty litmus test, they should be soundly defeated.

And each of us, when confronted with the politically correct
salutation, "Happy Holidays," should hold up our heads, look the
greeter in the eye and loudly proclaim, "Merry Christmas!"

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