War Against Christmas 2006 Competition [III]: Diversity Is Strength! It`s Also…War Against Christmas

WAR
AGAINST CHRISTMAS 2006 COMPETITION
[blog] [I]
[

II
]

[
IV
] –

See also: War
Against Christmas


2005
,


2004
,
2003,


2002
,


2001
,


2000
,



1999


[Recently by Tom
Piatak:


A Catholic Reader Defends His Church Against Some
Immigration Reform Critics—And Bishops
]

One of the real virtues of the New York Times is
that it prints a lot of facts—so many that

some of its stories
are

bound to run up
against its

counterfactual editorial positions
. One of these
editorial positions, which the

Times shares

with

the vast majority of "mainstream" media outlets
,
that

there is no War Against Christmas.

Of course, War Against Christmas denial is not only
nonsense—the deniers often evince the very disdain for
Christmas that they claim is nonexistent. For an example
of the nonsense, see my

Yes, Virginia and Michelle Goldberg, There is A War
Against Christmas
, from the VDARE.COM War
Against Christmas 2005 series. For an example of the
disdain, see Slate writer David Greenberg`s

A Very Ecumenical Christmas
, posted on December
15, 2006, which credits

Eisenhower`s America
with transforming Christmas
into "holiday" and enumerates such "perennial
yuletide joys"
as "harried trips to mobbed

shopping malls
, wasteful spending on pointless
presents, spikes in depressive and suicidal feelings."

But as I have pointed out before (Resistance
Rampant, Whether
National Review Likes It or Not
), the
naked commercialism Greenberg objects to is all that
will be left of the public observance of Christmas after
the multiculturalists are through with it, the nicer
elements

having been jettisoned
because they are

too closely associated with the Nativity.

Nevertheless, an article completely undercutting War
Against Christmas denial appeared in the New York
Times
as long ago as this summer:

In Wal-Mart`s Home, Synagogue Signals Growth
by
Michael Barbaro, June 20 2006, celebrating the creation
of the first synagogue in Bentonville, Arkansas, the
headquarters of Wal-Mart.

Bentonville`s first synagogue did indeed signal the
growth celebrated by the Times. But it also
coincided with the beginnings of the War against
Christmas in Bentonville. As Barbaro wrote:


"Residents of Benton
County . . . are

proud citizens of the Bible Belt.
. . . For decades,
a local hospital has begun meetings with a

reading from the New Testament
and the library has
featured an elaborate Christmas display. Then the
Wal-Mart Jews arrived."

Bentonville`s new synagogue has around 100 members, in a
city with a population of around 30,000 and a county
with a population of over 150,000. A number of members
are newcomers to any synagogue, reportedly because in
the cities from which they came "you didn`t need a
synagogue to have a Jewish identity."
But, despite
the synagogue`s small size and the fact that some of its
members are novices in terms of religious observance,
some members


"have become
increasingly vocal proponents of religious neutrality in
the county. They have asked school principals to

rename Christmas vacation as winter break
(many
have
) and lobbied the mayor`s office to put a

menorah
on the town square (it did)."

There are now also

lessons
about Hanukkah in some Bentonville
classrooms, and Jewish songs in some high school
concerts.

Of course, there is a difference between obliterating
mention of Christmas—as in the "winter break"
that has now come to Bentonville—and incorporating
different holidays into the public celebration of
Christmas. The former is indefensible, while the latter
may be well-intentioned, both on the part of those
requesting the change and those agreeing to it.

And there is no indication in the Times article
of any malice on the part of anyone in Bentonville. But
both approaches end up, in different ways, diminishing
the public celebration of Christmas. To that extent,
they are part of the War Against Christmas.

Indeed, in places other than Bentonville, what began as
an attempt to celebrate non-Christian holidays alongside
Christmas has culminated in the public suppression of
Christmas. There are now many school districts that both
celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and

Ramadan
and rigorously censor references to
Christmas, and the New York city public schools are

litigating
to preserve

their policy
of displaying menorahs and

Islamic crescents
while forbidding Nativity scenes.

This year`s most celebrated skirmish in the War against
Christmas, the temporary decision to remove what were
officially termed

"holiday trees"
by the Seattle Airport, began
with a threat of a lawsuit to force the airport to
display a menorah (which no one ever demeans as a
"holiday candelabra"
— and rightly so). This
evolution from "inclusiveness" to the
suppression of Christmas is in keeping with the logic of
"multiculturalism," which in practice seeks not
so much to understand other cultures as to use them as
weapons to tear down Western and Christian culture. And
Bentonville may yet come to resemble the New York
schools in the future. Barbaro quotes Gary Compton, the
superintendent of schools in Bentonville, as saying
"We need to get better at some things. You just don`t go
from being noninclusive to being inclusive overnight."

[Send him


mail
]

But even if the Bentonville schools are not going down
the same path as the New York City schools, Barbaro`s
article helps show what`s wrong with such
"inclusiveness." As Barbaro notes, Bentonville`s
synagogue is not the only instance of religious
diversity in Benton County. Bentonville has gone from
being a "sedate rural community" into being "a
teeming mini-metropolis populated by Hindus, Muslims,
and Jews."
If a menorah is now set alongside symbols
of Christmas in Bentonville, and Hanukkah songs sung
with Christmas carols, why shouldn`t Bentonville`s

Muslims
and

Hindus
demand equal time for their symbols and songs
at Christmas? And, if such demands are made, on what
principle could they be refused?

The end result, of course, would be that what began as
the public celebration of Christmas will become instead
a celebration of "diversity." The only
permissible seasonal salutation will be "Happy
Holidays."
What remains of the celebration of
Christmas will be at best watered down and at worst stripped of
meaning.

But public bromides about "diversity" are a poor
substitute for an exuberant celebration of Christmas—as
more and more Americans are coming to agree.

In addition to being a "celebration of diversity,"
turning Christmas in Bentonville into a multicultural
amalgam of Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu holidays would also
become a celebration of guilt. Today, a standard part of
the observance of Christmas are constant reminders that

not everyone celebrates
it. We treat no other
holiday this way, for good reason: such reminders are
inconsistent with the genuine celebration of any
holiday.

Thus, one week after Christmas is New Year`s, a holiday
unencumbered by any such reminders. No one has yet to
devise a substitute greeting for "Happy New Year."
Yet, as many Americans come from traditions

with different calendars
as come from traditions
that do not celebrate Christmas. And those different New
Years (such as Rosh Hashanah) are vastly more important
in those traditions than the faux Christmases (such
as Hanukkah
) that we hear so much about each
December.

Christmas is the target for such special attention
because of what it is and represents—not because
etiquette demands that the celebration of any holiday
include an acknowledgement of those who do not observe
it.

Indeed, the efforts to achieve "religious neutrality"
are exclusively focused on Christmas, not other times of
the year when non-Christian traditions often have more
significant celebrations.

Despite the Times` assertion that there is no War
Against Christmas, what is happening in Bentonville is
continuing to happen in many other communities across
America, with little more fanfare than accompanied
similar changes in other communities years or even
decades before.

These changes have happened for a variety of different
reasons, at the prompting of people of all faiths and of
none. But one upshot of these different changes is that
the public celebration of Christmas has become muted,
defensive, and hesitant, when it has not disappeared
altogether.

And this change has impoverished all of us, Christian
and non-Christian alike, who

love Christmas
or enjoy at least some of the
matchless variety of art and celebration it has
inspired.

The editorial writers who insist there is no War Against
Christmas generally know that Christmas in America is no
longer

what it was
. But the reason the New York Times
insists there is no War Against Christmas can be traced
to other news items this year:

many retailers
, including

Bentonville`s Wal-Mart
, are once again willing to
name the holiday to which they owe their fortune.

The decision to remove "holiday trees" from the
Seattle airport was

reversed
after massive

public outcry.
The Westchester school bus driver was

allowed to keep his Santa hat
after all. Americans
are rebelling against the abolition of Christmas. And
they are beginning to have an impact.

And the New York Times does not want to
admit that

the tide may be beginning to turn
in a war that the
cultural left had been quietly and steadily winning.


Tom Piatak
(email

him) writes from Cleveland, Ohio.