The latest salvo in the “war on Christmas” was fired in Santa Monica last week.
“The city of Santa Monica can bar seasonal displays, including a Nativity scene that has appeared in Palisades Park for nearly 60 years, a federal judge ruled Monday,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “In a closely watched case that has attracted national attention, Judge Audrey B. Collins denied a request from the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee to erect multiple large displays depicting the story of the birth of Jesus in the park overlooking the ocean. The coalition of churches has erected the displays every December since the 1950s.”
But because groups opposing Christian observances asked for much of the limited space, the city held a lottery to allocate the space. Atheists won 18 of the 21 spaces. The city, unable to please anyone, it seems, threw up its hands. The city council voted to ban all unattended public displays.
One attorney compared the city council to Pontius Pilate.
That’s a bit much. The Cato Institute’s Doug Bandow, a devout Christian himself, says of course the world remains hostile to the message of the Bethlehem star.
“However, the First Amendment remains a powerful bulwark against state interference, a protection lacked by people in other lands,” he contends. “Christians need to do more to reclaim the culture instead of just complaining about its decline.”
There is a “war on Christmas” — a very real threat to a sacred observance in America. But it’s not being waged by municipalities or judges.
It’s being fought, and lost, on our family scheduling calendars and credit card statements.
One consumer group polled Americans, and found many would just rather “opt out” of the holiday.
“Some 45 percent of those polled said the holiday season brings so much financial pressure, they would prefer to skip it altogether,” CNBC reports. “Almost half said their level of stress related to holiday expenses is high or extremely high.”
And to a large measure, we bring this on ourselves.
“It’s easy to understand why the holidays are a source of worry when you consider how many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck,” CNBC remarks. “About 41 percent said they would only be able to get by for two weeks without a paycheck, while an additional 25 percent say they could only survive a month. The holidays are expected to only make the situation worse.”
The real threat is internal, not external. As we celebrate the Christmas season, it’s far more important that we do so in our hearts and in our lives, rather than focusing on what’s being done in the public square.