Is Christmas on the way out? Well, certainly not the commercialised and consumeristic version. That is alive and well. But the real Christmas may well be under threat, and headed for oblivion, at least in the public square. We are all aware of the political correctness plague, and the attempt to eradicate any spiritual or religious dimension to Christmas.
The indications of the secularisation of Christmas are plain to see. Consider just one example. A report in the UK Daily Mail found that almost 99 per cent of Christmas cards sold in Great Britain contain no religious message or imagery. Some 5,500 Christmas cards were examined and it turns out that fewer than 70 made any reference to the birth of Jesus.
Christmas is meant to celebrate one of the most important events of human history, the birth of Jesus some 2,000 years ago. Modern celebrations of Christmas seem to have no connection whatsoever with that historical event.
But it is not just Christians who bemoan this trend to despiritualise Christmas. One English writer who describes himself as certainly less than a fightin’ fundie (“I flicker somewhere between an agnostic and a mild believer),” has written a piece for the Telegraph (December 8, 2006) entitled, “Christmas: crucified by do-gooders”.
Jeff Randall laments the secularisation of Christmas, and to prove his point, he describes his trash bin, which is full of Christmas cards: “they are not Christmas cards at all, by which I mean, as well as having no Christian images, Nativity scenes etc, they don’t even mention the ‘C’ word. I’m afraid that ‘happy holidays’ simply will not do.”
He explains, “In the United Kingdom, this time of year is a Christian festival – as it should be. It is part of our heritage. You don’t have to be a fire-and-brimstone evangelist to respect a faith that still underpins traditional British values and institutions, even though much of its spiritual message was lost long ago in a fog of consumerism. Jettisoning Christmas-less cards is my tiny, almost certainly futile, gesture against the dark forces of political correctness. It’s a swipe at those who would prefer to abolish Christmas altogether, in case it offends ‘minorities’. Someone should tell them that, with only one in 15 Britons going to church on Sundays, Christians are a minority.”
The move to take Christ out of Christmas has been going on for some time now. But the move is not just to get religion out of Christmas. Often, it is to replace the Christian religion with other religions. “It’s sad, but I suppose we have become used to ghastly councillors, such as those in Birmingham, trying to rebrand Christmas in favour of something more multi-cultural, even pagan, eg, Winterval. It should come as no surprise that third-rate minds produce only third-rate ideas.”
“But what I found so shocking this week was a survey from a law firm, Peninsula, revealing that three out of four British employers have banned conventional Christmas decorations, lest they offend employees of other faiths. Bosses, the report said, are worried that they could be – wait for it – sued if they were to allow displays of Christian joy, but not those of other religions. Can they be serious? If that were not bad enough, the health-and-safety stormtroopers are parking their tanks on our tinsel. Santa’s sleighs need seat-belts, and mince pies must be ‘risk-assessed’ before being handed out to children.”
So are the other religious groups behind this trend toward dechristianisation? Not so, argues Randall. “The paradox of the dreadful campaign to create a culture of resentment against conventional Christmases is that it’s being led neither by ethnic minorities nor leaders from other religions. Quite the reverse. Many non-Christians seem genuinely baffled by our desire for self-abasement. Every year, I receive a proper Christmas card from the owner of my local curry house. He’s a Muslim from Bangladesh.”
The real culprits are the increasingly militant secularists: “No, it’s not the Muslims, Jews or Hindus who are behind the drive to secularise Christmas. They are not the culprits. The presence of a small cross round the neck of a British Airways check-in staff member does not prompt them to scream in protest, vomit in the aisle or rush for a transfer to another carrier. On the whole, they couldn’t care less. The demons in this horror story of crucifying Christmas are white, middle-class do-gooders whose assumption of a superior morality is as disgraceful as it is disgusting. They are busybodies, obsessed with forcing on us their vacuous “ethical” code. In the view of Dr John Sentamu, the splendid Archbishop of York, they are ‘the chattering classes’, who see themselves as holding a flag for an atheist Britain. Actually, they are more pernicious than that. The teachings and guidance of old-fashioned Christianity offend them, so they seek to remove all traces of it from public life.”
He concludes, “It’s extraordinary. In an increasingly godless age, there is a rising tide of hatred against those who adhere to biblical values. It is not yet illegal to be a Christian, but woe betide those who hold fast to a standard of behaviour that was once the moral norm. As a contributor to our Letters page asked yesterday: will those who are offended by Christmas also be offended by taking paid leave on Christmas Day and Boxing Day? It wasn’t meant to be like this. Somewhere along the line, a loose federation of diversity champions, equality campaigners and human-rights activists has metamorphosed into a tyrannical minority for whom Christmas is an abomination. Its demands for freedom have become an all-out assault on those Protestants and Roman Catholics who deplore ‘the permissive society’.”
And things in Australia are not much better. The entire Western heritage is built on the back of the Judeo-Christian worldview. The assault on Christmas is just part of a larger war which has been declared on our Judeo-Christian foundation.
Various minority groups are seen as victim groups worthy of all protections and endorsement. Yet the secularists have declared open season on the Christian minority. I for one will not go down without a fight. And I for one will not be sending out Christ-less Christmas cards.