Jewish World Review Dec. 9, 2002 / 4 Teves, 5763
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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© 2001 Creators Syndicate