Half a century ago, American children were schooled in Aesop's fables. Among the more famous of these were "The Fox and the Grapes" and "The Tortoise and the Hare."
Particularly appropriate this Christmas season, and every Christmas lately, is Aesop's fable of "The Dog in the Manger."
The tale is about a dog who decides to take a nap in the manger. When the ox, who has worked all day, comes back to eat some straw, the dog barks loudly, threatens to bite him and drives him from his manger.
The lesson the fable teaches is that it is malicious and wicked to deny a fellow creature what you yourself do not want and cannot even enjoy.
What brings the fable to mind is this year's crop of Christmas-haters, whose numbers have grown since the days when it was only the village atheist or the ACLU pest who sought to kill Christmas.
The problem with these folks is not simply that they detest Christmas and what it represents, but that they must do their best, or worst, to ensure Christians do not enjoy the season and holy day they love.
As a Washington Times editorial relates, the number of anti-Christian bigots is growing, and their malevolence is out of the closet:
"In Leesburg, Va., a Santa-suit-clad skeleton was nailed to a cross. ... In Santa Monica, atheists were granted 18 of 21 plots in a public park allotted for holiday displays and ... erected signs mocking religion. In the Wisconsin statehouse, a sign informs visitors, 'Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.' A video that has gone viral on YouTube shows denizens of Occupy D.C. spewing gratuitous hatred of a couple who dared to appropriate a small patch of McPherson Square to set up a living Nativity scene."
People who indulge in such conduct invariably claim to be champions of the First Amendment, exercising their right of free speech to maintain a separation of church and state.
They are partly right. The First Amendment does protect what they are doing. But what they are doing is engaging in hate speech and anti-Christian bigotry. For what is the purpose of what they are about, if not to wound, offend, insult and mock fellow Americans celebrating the happiest day of their calendar year?
Consider what this day means to a believing Christian.
It is a time and a day set aside to celebrate the nativity, the birth of Christ, whom Christians believe to be the Son of God and their Savior who gave his life on the cross to redeem mankind and open the gates of heaven.
Even if a man disbelieves this, why would he interfere with or deny his fellow countrymen, three in four of whom still profess to be Christians, their right to celebrate in public this joyous occasion?