Last week, Mike Huckabee’s Christmas ad generated an extraordinary amount of buzz among the national news media when Huckabee wished voters a “Merry Christmas” and referenced the “season of Christ’s birth.” Presidential candidate Ron Paul implied that the ad represented the first step on the road to fascism, while others in the media speculated on Huckabee’s “subliminal messaging” aimed at Christians.
It’s unusual for political ads to generate much controversy—after all, the purpose of positive television spots is to portray candidates in the most flattering light possible. However, given that the topic at hand is Christmas, the controversy, sadly, is not so surprising.
As a result of the culture wars, open displays of or explicit references to religiosity draw fire from the proponents of political correctness. In their quest for a more secular union, these self-appointed cultural arbiters find intolerance in everything from the Pledge of Allegiance to a prayer at a high school football game. For seven years, President Bush has been pummeled by the mainstream media and the political left for his unabashed affirmation of his Christian faith.
The fierce opposition that Christians have engendered from the PC police underscores the importance of this issue. Our nation was founded on Christian principles by men and women who called themselves Christians. As the war on terror looms large in the minds of those elected to protect us from outside threats, it falls to us--the American people—to tend to our nation’s spiritual health.
As our thoughts turn toward selecting our next president, it’s important to keep in mind two things:
• The nature of the job means that the president, first and foremost, leads by example
• Progress in renewing our culture requires taking on conventional wisdom and the forces of the (often secularist) status quo
Here’s a simple litmus test for all of the presidential candidates that can be administered in the amount of time and ink it takes to finish this column: which candidates bucked the PC trend to offer up a bland and patently unoffensive “Happy Holidays”? Who forthrightly acknowledged the season of Christmas by name?
(We already know how Huckabee addressed Christmas—the secularists are still howling about his ad.)
Rudy Giuliani (with the help of Santa) played it safe and wished voters “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.”
Barack Obama and family did the same.
Ron Paul also wished voters a “Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season.”
John Edwards referenced a “season of faith, hope, and love”…and then went right back to his talking points.
Mitt Romney’s family distributed a Christmas card which referenced Isaiah 12:5 and wished voters a “Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday season and a joyful New Year.”
Hillary Clinton offered up a milquetoast “Happy Holidays” while placing “Universal pre-K” under the tree.
Fred Thompson released an ad which portrayed soldiers serving in Iraq and asked viewers to “reflect on their courage and sacrifice” and closed with “May God bless them all.”
John McCain shared a story from his days as a POW in Vietnam about a guard who loosened his bonds and scratched a cross in the dirt floor on Christmas.
Duncan Hunter collected Christmas cards and letters of support and sent them to soldiers serving in Iraq.
Now, it would be extrapolating a bit much from these ads to determine on their basis alone who is and is not fit for higher office. However, in the midst of the scripted world of presidential campaigns, it is often the little moments which betray flashes of a candidate’s character or innermost thoughts.
When it comes to selecting one from among ourselves for the office of President of the United States, other qualities are subordinate to the content of the candidate’s character. It is character which allows men and women in high office to face difficult decisions without buckling, and where the future of our nation is concerned, nothing less than the best will do.