The Mix

The Religious Left can attack stuff, too

The "War on Christmas" may sound catchy, but the "War on Cuts to Social Services Programs" is more important.
Yesterday on The O'Reilly Factor, there was a ridiculous debate over whether or not a Plano, Texas school had banned red and green cookies, plates and cupcakes at their "winter party." The school said it hadn't, some parents said it had, and of course, the hard right Christian warriors put the debate into the context of a secular "Attack on Christmas."

The really sad part is that this "Attack on Christmas" has gained increasing legitimacy among the public, the media, and worst, our lawmakers. In fact, this week the Christian Coalition of America announced happily that:
"Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, (R-VA), was so concerned about a neutered "holiday" season and twisting Christmas, America's favorite holiday beyond recognition, that she introduced a congressional resolution, H. Res. 579, which expresses the sense of Congress that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected, and that references to Christmas should be supported."
Well, I have spent the last four days driving across the plains, valleys and hills of Texas and I can give Mr. Fallwell, Mr. O'Reilly, and all their followers eyewitness testimony that Christmas, as a commercial and religious experience, is under no duress in middle America. Out in East Texas, my aunt chauffeured me around honking holiday tunes every time she saw a home with substantive light displays, which meant we did not stop honking. Ever. Later, in my hometown of Bryan, Texas, I went to get haircut at a salon that freely used its 1st Amendment rights to espouse its faith using a window display that proclaimed "All the Honor and Glory to God."

What is suffering in the wake of this blitz about the "War on Christmas" is logic, compassion, and tolerance. Fortunately, there is a small minority on the religious left that have their heads in the right place, using their voices to protest things actually worth protesting. The Associated Press reported last week that "U.S. Capitol Police arrested 115 religious activists who were protesting a House Republican budget plan's cuts in social programs when they refused to clear the entrance to a congressional office building Wednesday." To watch the video of the protest, go HERE.

Jim Wallis of Call to Renewal, led the prayerful protest and wrote about this week in Sojourners:
"There is a Christmas scandal this year, but it's not the controversy at shopping malls and retail stores about whether their displays say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." The real Christmas scandal is the budget proposed by the House of Representatives that cuts food stamps, health care, child support, and educational assistance to low-income families - while further lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans and increasing the deficit for all of our grandchildren."
Wouldn't it be nice if the Christian Right was more concerned with the pay and healthcare of the Wal-Mart greeter, than the content of the Wal-Mart greeting?
Maria Luisa Tucker is a staff writer at AlterNet and associate editor of the Columbia Journal of American Studies.
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