According to them, any public religious display or influence is unconstitutional and hence illegal. Claiming the First Amendment outlaws any state involvement with religious observances, they use the activist courts to advance their especially anti-Christian agenda.
This column today is not about refuting the false and deliberately twisted modern interpretations of what our founding fathers intended with the First Amendment. Sufficient to say, the writers of our Constitution and its first 10 amendments would be shocked to see their brilliant work used to outlaw displays of the Ten Commandments, pictures of Mary and the baby Jesus or wise men at a stable.
That Christianity bears the brunt of the attacks, and that the same emotional fervor is not there about Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist and other clearly religious symbolism, shows the deep-seeded anti-Christian hatred of bigots cloaked in the disguise of “civil libertarianism.” Yet, in spite of their best efforts, or perhaps because of their historical ignorance, Christian symbolism still abounds.
Take Santa Claus, for example. Considered completely secular, in fact jolly old Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus is the name of, and now a symbol of, a Roman government tortured Catholic bishop, persecuted for his devotion to Christianity. He was traditionally honored by Greeks and Latins in December. “Santa Claus” is an American corruption of the Dutch name for St. Nicholas, “San Nicolaas,” and the traditions surrounding him were in fact transferred here by early Dutch colonists.
San Nicolaas was also famous for secretly giving gifts to impoverished families, hence our Christian-rooted tradition of having secretly wrapped presents on Christmas Day came to be.
Clearly, to save religious freedom as interpreted by modern civil libertarians, Santa Claus and the giving of secret presents needs to be banned from our public schools and institutions.
Or how about Chris Cringle, or Kriss Kringle, another common name for Santa Claus? Kriss Kringle is German in origin, Kriss meaning “Christ” and Kringle, corrupted from “Kindl,” meaning “child.” Hence, Kriss Kringle is “Christ child” in actual meaning.
Clearly, St. Nicholas, a.k.a. “Santa Claus,” a.k.a. “Chris Cringle,” should be banned as well.
Many Christian traditions are a blend of ancient pagan and Christian practices. However, both have serious religious origins and intentions. The 25th of December was the old Roman date considered the time of winter solstice. Roman sun worshippers converted to Christianity and blended both, even using clever word twisting — “sun” of God rather than “son” of God — to mesh their religious convictions. Candles and lights, especially prominent in modern times during Christmas with beautiful displays on most homes, are also ancient practices used by early Christians and pagans, during the darkest time of year, symbolizing Christ as the light of the world and in keeping with even more ancient religious solstice displays.
To be consistent in their efforts to purge out all religious influence, so-called civil libertarians should demand no extra lights, sun symbols, candles or any winter holiday corresponding to not only Christmas but also solstice, in any government institution.
(Come to think of it, they should go all the way and demand government workers work on Sunday as well. After all, that’s the day God set aside as a day of rest. The one in seven days symbolism has got to go.)
Yule, as in Yule-tide, Yule-season or Yule-log, also can no longer be tolerated. “Yule” is the ancient English-Scandinavian term for the Christmas season, also with roots dating back to pre-Christian-era religious practices. The word itself apparently means “noise” or “clamor,” symbolizing ancient religious celebrations at the solstice time change and the re-birth of the sun. Following their wholesale conversion to Christianity these traditions carried over. Today, songs and music remain a major part of our Christmas celebrations.
Christmas and its symbolisms are almost all rooted in religion, including feasts, lights, presents, song-singing, even Santa Claus himself. Without knowing it, these Christmas traditions show how deeply Christianity is philosophically part of us and our heritage.
What we see in Christmas, is reflected in our way of life. Christianity and its teachings permeate all of our legal, ethical, moral and spiritual values and standards.
Ironically, the idea of equality, the concept the so-called civil libertarians claim to champion, is in fact itself deeply rooted in the Christian concept of equality of all in the eyes of God.
So, whether you believe Jesus was the Son of God, or simply a brilliant philosopher, we all are deeply indebted to this man born in a stable in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Jesus Christ is the author of our liberty, and we should all pay our debt of gratitude on Dec. 25th.
For true liberty lovers everywhere our cheer should be a strong and sincere — Merry Christmas!
Ira Hansen is a lifelong resident of Sparks and owner of Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing.