What’s more, why should a religious holiday like Christmas be deemed unique in its potential to offend? In contrast to their apparent reticence to highlight the Christianity inherent in Christmas, the Obamas apparently perceive no insensitivity in celebrating holidays – like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo – that point up specific ethnic differences among Americans. Historically, our country has suffered far more internal turmoil based on race and ethnicity than on religion – and we have a far larger number of different ethnicities than religions. The difference in approach makes no sense.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether a President uses the specific word “Christmas” on a card, as opposed to a Bible verse or some other religious element. What does matter is when the occupant of the highest office in the land attempts to transform the Christmas (or Hannukah or Ramadan) season into nothing more than a great big “happy holidays” opportunity. Intentionally or not, that approach serves to replace religiosity with some variety of civic secularism that swaps belief in God for a diffuse and undefined “holiday spirit.”
And for America, that’s a dangerous path. Religion not only provides meaning to life and illuminates life’s larger truths; it also helps a free people remain free by providing them with ways to govern themselves individually, without having to resort collectively to the heavy hand of government.
So permit me to say what the Obamas’ card does not: Merry Christmas.