Griffin Internet Syndicate, 12/23/2004 — As always in our time, Christmas is provoking dissent from people who don’t want Christian symbols on public property or Christmas carols sung in public schools.
Many Christians find this annoying and churlish. Some even feel that Christianity is being persecuted.
The columnist Michelle Malkin writes, “We are under attack by Secularist Grinches Gone Wild.” Pat Buchanan goes so far as to speak of “hate crimes” against Christians.
I disagree. In some parts of the world, from Sudan to China, Christians really are being persecuted, even murdered. But what is going on in America’s symbolic opposition to Christianity is something different.
Sometimes I think the anti-Christian forces take Christ more seriously than most nominal Christians do. The Western world, including many of those who consider themselves Christians, has turned Christmas into a bland holiday of mere niceness. If you don’t get into the spirit, you’re likely to be called a Scrooge.
The natural reaction to Christ is to reject him. He said so. In fact, when he was taken to the Temple as an infant, St. Simeon prophesied that he would be a center of contention. Later he predicted his own death and told his followers they must expect persecution too.
His bitterest enemies weren’t atheists; they were the most religious men of his age, the Pharisees, who considered his claims blasphemous — as, by their lights, they were.
Nice? That’s hardly the word for Jesus. He performed miracles of love and mercy, but he also warned of eternal damnation, attacked and insulted the Pharisees, and could rebuke even people who adored him in words that can only make us cringe.