The White House left the word “Christmas” out of its Christmas card text—something it has done since 1993—so some conservatives are interpreting this as one more example of the “war on Christmas.”
The White House card quotes Psalm 28:7 and sends to 1.4 million recipients “best wishes for a holiday season of hope and happiness.” Apparently this isn’t good enough for some members of the Religious Right, including William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative website WorldNetDaily.com. Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, doesn’t like it either, but he thinks it’s more a sign of political correctness run amok than an effort to side-step Christmas.
I noted on December that “Christmas is Back,” because retailers nationally are re-introducing Christmas to their holiday marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, President George W. Bush can’t catch a break from his conservative base. First Harriet Miers and now the wrong Christmas card—it seems the man can’t do anything right.
As I said earlier, it’s possible to over-react, and I think conservatives or Christians or both may be doing it with this latest bit of noise. The truth of Christ and the power of the Gospel as introduced in the Christmas story are not going to be lost if someone happens to omit the words, “Merry Christmas,” on a card.
For years I have made sure that Cornerstone University’s Christmas card includes Scripture, because this makes our cards distinct from most public university cards and clearly sends a message about our Christian mission. I have not worried about whether the card used the term “Christmas.” Is this word really more powerful than the Word?
The other side of this is that President Bush represents all the people, not just Christians and not just conservatives. He is open about his own faith, but he rightly does not force his beliefs upon others. A White House Christmas card with an Old Testament verse and a “Happy Holidays” message strikes me as more respectful of others than disrespectful of Christianity.
I think the Religious Right should spend its time on positive contributions that matter and give its watchdog inclinations a rest.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2005
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