Jewish World Review Dec. 9, 2002 / 4 Teves, 5763

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Somewhere Santa is weeping | It's time we all found out just who is being naughty this Christmas season, and I am here to tell you. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has put the fear of Heaven, uh, pardon me, the fear of "a higher power that may or may not exist" into schools and towns all across America. If you get involved with this Christmas thing, the ACLU might sue you.

At the South Orange Middle School in New Jersey, a sixth-grade class was all set to see the play "A Christmas Carol," written by that well-known religious zealot Charles Dickens. But according to the Associated Press (AP), school officials canceled an outing to see the play and replaced it with a show called "The Great Railroad Race."

The school's principal, Kirk Smith, told the AP "there is a great sensitivity to putting students in awkward situations." Apparently, some parents complained about "A Christmas Carol" because they thought it had something to do with Christmas, and we can't have that in a public school, can we? Even though Christmas is a federal holiday, we can't really be discussing the meaning of the day because of sensitivity concerns. Is this insane or what?

The reason that the South Orange Middle School and many other places across the country are so frightened of a day that is designed to promote generosity and peace on earth is that Jesus Christ is involved. Jesus, you see, is not acceptable in the public discourse, according to the ACLU and other misguided groups.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was a great philosopher and many of his tenets influenced the Founding Fathers in their construction of our Constitution. Never mind the fact that President Ulysses S. Grant declared Christmas a public, secular holiday in 1870 to celebrate a philosophy of "goodwill toward men."

No, now we in America have to live in fear of being sued by organizations that seek to suppress any kind of religious display in the public arena. For two hundred years, the United States celebrated Christmas without any intrusion from the courts. Was anyone harmed? Were anyone's rights trampled? All that happened was happiness for millions of American children.

Here's how ridiculous this whole thing is. In Covington, Ga., the school board removed the word "Christmas" from the school calendar.

In St. Paul, Minn., red poinsettias were banned from a display at the county courthouse. And in hundreds of towns across the country, nativity scenes have been banned on public property.

But a constitutional loophole exists that has the ACLU in a panic.

According to a Supreme Court decision in the case of Lynch versus Donnelly, any kind of Christmas religious scene can be displayed on public property if a secular symbol is also in sight. So you can have a nativity scene if you have one of the wise men carrying a candy cane. I'm not kidding. The Supreme Court has found a way to get around the hammer that the concept of church and state separation has become in the hands of Americans that are offended by public religious depictions.

But my question is, where have all the wise men gone? These days, we in America are reduced to finding loopholes in the Constitution in order to celebrate a federal holiday, the birthday of a man, Jesus, who believed that all men should love one another.

So, this Christmas season, while you are out shopping, stop for a moment and think about why we the people have given the store away to special interest groups that are attacking cherished traditions and legal holidays in the name of freedom.

Somewhere, Santa Claus is weeping. But if he's on public property, I hope the ACLU doesn't get him for trespassing.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.


12/02/02: A taxing situation
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11/18/02: Sanity has left the building
11/11/02: The right stuff
11/04/02: The Attorney General blues
10/28/02: This ain't no game
10/21/02: It's only rock and roll, but it's brutal
10/14/02: The root of all evil
10/07/02: When children murder
09/23/02: The death of outrage
09/17/02: Singing a different tune
09/09/02: Answering my critics about the Roush case
09/03/02: Let's misbehave
08/26/02: Money makes the world go 'round
08/19/02: Long live the King
08/12/02: A friendly reminder
08/05/02: Heaven only knows
07/29/02: Blood money
07/22/02: Suffer the children
07/15/02: Reaching critical mass
07/08/02: Believe it or not
07/01/02: Charity begins at home
06/24/02: Spinning a tale and the case for "Stupid White Men"
06/17/02: Blank those Europeans!
06/10/02: What does Bono want from us?
06/03/02: On fighting evil
05/28/02: A Tale of Two Churches
05/20/02: Crimes against humanity
05/13/02: Silence of the lambs
05/06/02: Hide the children
04/29/02: 'Paul, Paul, Paul!'
04/22/02: Barbarians in the Church
04/15/02: Pray for peace, polish the weapons
03/11/02: Do no harm? Time to spank "Dr. Phil"
03/04/02: Promoting the general welfare
02/25/02: Who's responsible?
02/19/02: Lay it on them
02/11/02: Buy dope, fund terror
02/04/02: Back room deals
01/28/02: From boom to bust
01/21/02: The Fairness Doctrine
01/14/02: Hey, Paula, take it to the bank and hush up
01/07/02: And justice for none
12/31/01: All that's left
12/24/01: Santa is appalled
12/17/01: Fight the power
12/10/01: The black challenge
12/03/01: How things have changed
11/26/01: Waiting in the Bushes
11/19/01: The sign of the Cross
11/09/01: Hollyweird strikes back
11/06/01: The fear factor
10/26/01: Show me the money
10/22/01: See no evil
10/15/01: Peace, but no quiet
10/08/01: The air war
10/01/01: I don't understand
09/24/01: We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do
09/14/01: Evil on display
09/11/01: Family matters!
09/04/01: End of summer blues
08/27/01: Summertime -- and the livin' ain't easy
08/20/01: The rap on rap
08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate