Floyd Brown

In recent weeks there has been much commentary about the “War on Christmas.” FOX News host Bill O’Reilly recently spoke up on November 18 saying, “It’s all part of the secular progressive agenda ... to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square.” He then added, “because if you look at what happened in Western Europe and Canada, if you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs, like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious-based, usually.”

O’Reilly’s comments on his television show, The O’Reilly Factor, during a segment about “which American stores are using ‘Christmas’ in advertising this Christmas season and which are not.” O’Reilly’s comments have sparked outrage amongst liberal pundits.

There was an American president that not so long ago decried the same trends as O’Reilly. He believed Christmas was a special time that had grown too secular; the president about which I write is Ronald Reagan. He spoke and wrote passionately about the Christmas season, and all that it represented to him. He even believed that the Christmas spirit was the same as the American spirit.

Although President Reagan would have rather spent Christmas with his family at his beloved Rancho del Cielo in California, he stayed at the White House in Washington, D.C. He did this so that Secret Service agents and other aides could spend Christmas at home with their families. President Reagan was a very thoughtful and kind person.

One Christmas, in a letter to his pen pal of fifty years, he lamented the fact that his children no longer believed in Santa Claus and how he missed seeing their excitement on Christmas morning. Year after year he wrote a Christmas love letter to his wife Nancy.

Speaking in a 1977 radio address sponsored by Young America’s Foundation, Reagan criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to “expel” God from the classroom, saying:

"And yet a few years ago, egged on by an avowed Atheist, voluntary prayer was banned in our schools. Have we let some among us make Atheism a religion and impose that religion on those of us who believe in our Judeo-Christian traditions?

"There is a fundamental difference between separation of church and state and denying the spiritual heritage of this country. Inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. are Jefferson’s words, 'The God who gave us life gave us liberty —can the liberties of a Nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God.'"

Floyd Brown

Floyd Brown is the Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar for Young America's Foundation.

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