War Against Christmas 2009: “The Gridlock To Come In Our Public Square”

January 05, 2010

[2] [3]
[5] – See also:
War Against Christmas











Peter Brimelow

January 5 is Twelfth Night, the eve of Epiphany, traditionally the end
of the Christmas season, the date after which in many
English-speaking countries it`s believed to be unlucky
to leave your Christmas decorations up. 
Unlucky or not, I haven`t yet finished writing up
our annual

War Against Christmas

competition (but I`m trying!) 
However, it gives us a chance to post what I
think is a seminal document in the Khristmaskampf: E.V.
Kontorovich`s July 1, 1997

New York Post

“The Gridlock To Come In Our Public Square”,

previously unavailable online. I`ll be commenting on it
further in my write-up VERY SOON NOW. Professor
Kontorovich has escaped from journalism and now

teaches law

at Northwestern University

E.V. Kontorovich

published in
New York Post,
July 1, 1997

Come December, the traditional Christmas tree
displays that

usher in the holiday season at New York City public
will be joined not just by the Jewish
menorah, but by the

Muslim star and crescent
as well. To settle a
federal lawsuit, the Board of Education agreed that any
holiday symbol in the schools should be accompanied by
symbols of festivals from other religions and cultures
to “reflect different beliefs.”

The board avoided a First Amendment landmine by
presuming the star and crescent to be secular symbol, as
the US Supreme Court

declared Christmas trees to be in 1989
. But the
settlement still has a major problem: America`s public
square simply doesn`t have the room to give equal space
to all the faiths in the world.

The agreement also departs from the traditional
American view of freedom of conscience – the idea that
people of all faiths and creeds have a right to
celebrate their holidays in their homes, school s and
houses of worship. One sign of this: The man who
spearheaded the lawsuit,
M.T. Mehdi
, is an unlikely proponent of such
traditional notions of tolerance: A longtime

PLO apologist,
he once decried New York as aZiontown.”

The implicit theory here is that religious equality
gives each minority, no matter how small, a positive
right to have its icons trotted out by Christians during
their joyous – and harmless – observances. But the
Muslims broke no new ground with their suit. They quite
naturally sought the same privileges afforded the other
religious minority, the Jews.

In 1906, thousands of Jewish students
boycotted city schools,
successfully demanding the
abolition of mandatory Christian religious assemblies.
Fair enough. But the

demands did not stop
with the
end of majority coercion. Jews began to insist that the
government elevate their religious symbols to the same
public status as the Christian ones. Hence, the
obligatory pairing of Christmas trees and menorahs, and,
in many districts, an ecumenical vacation day on

Rosh Hashanah

Yom Kippur.

In America, Christianity is different from other
faiths in one salient respect. Christians are 84 percent
of the population while the runners up, Judaism and
Islam, make up just 2 percent each.

For better or worse, the nation was

founded by Protestants
and built by Christians, who
indelibly marked American culture with the trappings of
their faith. It is hubris to somehow think that one`s
tiny group is being shortchanged when the festivals
receive less public recognition than those of the
primary religion.

Call this demand for equal status the

“Menorah Principle”:
In the name of fairness the
two-percent religion now gets to pretend it`s a dominant
American religion, as ubiquitous as Christianity.

Once this principle triumphs, equity dictates that it
must apply to all groups. The game plays out much like
affirmative action, with its ever-growing list of
preferred categories. Other groups, like the Muslims,
inevitably piggy-back on the Jews` victories.

For example, in New Jersey`s Cherry Hill, a school

far less diverse
than New York, the Christmas
holiday displays are crowded with Christmas trees,

candle holders and gold-laminated pictures


The list is sure to grow. Groups that at first don`t
particularly care will

eventually demand the same treatment
as the others,
if only to avoid being left behind when the rest are
made “equal”.

This doctrine of diversity actually contains a note
of intolerance toward Christianity.

, which gets to share the state with
Christian`s biggest celebrations, is an insignificant
festival from the perspective of Jewish piety. It only
became fashionable as a reaction to Christmas. For some,
imposing the imagery of small religions on the Christmas
season is more about

on the Christians`

than celebrating one`s own faith. 
After all, few leading practitioners of the
Menorah Principle are
devout practitioners of their own religions.

Given America`s vast diversity, the Menorah Principle
is untenable, even destructive. Take holidays for
starters. If Christmas is an official national holiday,
then why not the

twelve days of Kwanzaa
and the month-long
Muslim festival of Ramadan
? Even the calendar year
is a scarce resource: If we honor all the special claims
of the diverse U.S. populace, the many holidays would
leave little time left for work or school.

Unless society draws a line—and the only obvious
place to draw it is at Christianity—an

unmanageable tumult
will ensue: gridlock in the
public square.