"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, December 06, 2004

Christians Tired of "Getting Pushed Around"

Denver-area churches decided that the official, government-sanctioned secularization of the Christmas holiday had gone too far recently when the city's mayor replaced the traditional "Merry Christmas" banner atop the local City and County Building with a "Happy Holidays" greeting. Christians around the city rose up in protest by descending on the city's annual Christmas parade and sang carols emphasizing the Christian origins of the celebration, as noted in this surprisingly sympathetic account in the New York Times. "Like a spark in dry tinder, the result was a flare-up that caught even some church leaders by surprise. A holiday rite that had drawn thousands of paradegoers annually suddenly became a symbol, for many Christians, of secular society run amok." The article noted that the parade's organizers promised to reevaluate their policies and said the event may never be the same.

The congregation that seems to have had a large part in sparking the reaction is led by a former Marine who served in Vietnam as a helicopter gunner, as the Times article reported. The article said members of his church described him as "not a man who likes getting pushed around." Personally, I am impressed and cheered by this revival of "muscular Christianity."

A liberal society certainly has room for reasonably inclusive expressions of its people's religious faith, and in my view, a local Christmas celebration, with the community allowed, and not required, by the government to acknowledge and commemorate the essential religious nature of the occasion, certainly falls into that category.

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