Even though it’s mid-June, Christmas has gotten a lot of news coverage lately. Texas governor Rick Perry (R)?just signed the so-called “Merry Christmas Bill,” which allows students and teachers to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah on school property. And now half-term Alaska governor, failed vice presidential candidate and would-be reality TV star Sarah Palin has announced that she is in the middle of penning a book on what conservatives like to call the “War on Christmas.”
During a June 17 interview on Fox and Friends to promote her return to Fox News, Palin explained that, since her departure, she’s been “very busy of course with my kids ? two beautiful grandkids ? writing a book, a book about Christmas and pushing back on the politically correct who would try to take Christ out of Christmas.” She describes the upcoming book as “[k]ind of a legalese how-to push back and protect the heart of Christmas. At the same time, a very festive and happy and jolly book about tradition and recipes and fun things about Christmas.”
“Sarah Palin is writing a book” might seem as arresting a statement as “Stephen Hawking will be competing in the floor exercise at the 2016 Summer Olympics,” but Palin has managed to crank out — or at least commission the writing of — two books in the past: 2009’s “Going Rouge: An American Life” and 2010’s “America by Heart.” Her description of the book as “legalese” raises even more concerns, since her knowledge of the law seems as flawed as her knowledge of the Constitution, which she often mistakes for the Bible.
Without actually reading “A Very Palin Christmas” — or whatever folksy title the book will eventually have — is there anyone who can’t already anticipate what ideological untruths it will harbor?
Instead of discussing much more pressing issues in politics today, Palin’s book will bemoan the travesty that Walmart greeters utter a heathenistic “Happy holidays” rather than a righteous “Merry Christmas.” No doubt it will espouse the perennial conservative rallying-cry that godless liberals and secularists are actively trying to prevent wholesome churchgoing folk from keeping “Christ in Christmas.” ?It will certainly push the false belief that the Founding Fathers established the United States as a Christian nation, even though neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution makes a single explicit reference to Christianity and even though Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until 1870. Many Puritan settlements in America, in fact, criminalized the celebration of Christmas, and up until the early twentieth century, a great number of Americans didn’t care for Christmas, perceiving it as “too British.”
As for the “festive,” “happy” and “jolly” aspects of the winter holiday — these have nothing to do with Christ and can be enjoyed by all. If not for cherished holiday films such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street,” if not for the growing songbook of popular carols and hymns, if not for the magical sight of multicolored lights twinkling from neighbors’ eves and shrubs, if not for the delicious smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through the kitchen, if not for the promise of a new bike or XBox sitting under the tree, Christmas might seem as blandly religious as Ash Wednesday or Good Friday. And no one’s writing books about or doing news segments over the “War on Ash Wednesday.” At least not yet.
Claiming that liberals want to destroy Christmas is an easy selling point for the Tea Party’s extremist brand of conservatism, but there’s no truth to it.?What Sarah Palin and others like her don’t want to admit is that Christmas, for better or worse, has increasingly evolved into a seasonal celebration that can be observed by everyone, no matter the person’s background or faith. Just as early Christians appropriated many of Christmas’s characteristics from Yule, a Northern European pagan winter festival, many secularists and atheists have integrated odds and ends of the holiday into their own family traditions. That’s just how society works, and despite what politicians such as Rick Perry believe, you can’t legislate how religious holidays are celebrated.
Edited and published by CB