It's that time of year againthe time we celebrate the birthday
of Christ by giving each other presents and maybe getting a little tipsy. I
suppose you already knew that.
But there seems to be a new problem this year. Leonard Pitts told
us about it in his column on this page a week ago. He said that
"conservative and evangelical observers have been loudly complaining about
what they call a campaign to de-Christianize Christmas."
The crux of the problem, Pitts says, is that not everyone is a
Christian and that upsets some who areespecially when they go into a
store and the clerk tells them "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry
What that means, see, is that some of us are celebrating Christ's
birthday without even mentioning Christ. And lots of people see that as
Especially since we're living under the administration of a man
who's made more of his own Christian faith than any other U.S. president
in my time. He must be even more upset than most of us at the way the dirty
rotten secular humanists have coerced store clerks into saying "Happy
Holidays"as if America might be large enough and diverse enough to
contain many religions.
Part of the problem, of course, is the First Amendment to the
Constitution. You know, the one that prevents Congress from making any
law "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
But I've got a great idea.
Let us, with no uncertainty, repeal the First Amendment and
celebrate Christmas by decking all the Washington federal buildings,
inside and out, with real Christian banners. No Santa Claus stuff, but
banners that quote directly some of those Bible passages uttered by the
first Christian, Jesus Christ.
For example, over the door to Vice-President Cheneys office, we
could hang one of the beatitudes from Christ's Sermon on the Mount:
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).
And over the door to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's office, another
of the beatitudes: "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
Over the door of the Oval Office of the president himself, yet
another beatitude: "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called
the children of God" (Matthew 5:9).
You get the idea.
And I'm about to give some other spiffy direct quotations from
Christ that should be on display in Washingtonat least during the
Christmas season if not the year round. (Caution: the following
quotations may upset some readers.)
"Resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right
cheek,turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39).
The Truth, Mainly
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them
that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute
you" (Matthew 5:44).
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are;
for they love to pray standing
in the corners of the streets, that they
may be seen
" (Matthew 6:5).
"Judge not that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1).
"Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam
of thine own eye;
and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote
of thy brother's
eye (Matthew 7:5).
"Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven" (Matthew 19:21).
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24).
"Ye also outwardly appear righteous unto man, but within ye are
full of hypocrisy and iniquity" (Matthew 23:28).
"When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends,
nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they
also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou maketh
a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind" (Luke 14:12-13).
"Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13).
And so on.
Remember, all those are Jesus' words so nobody who calls himself a
Christianeven if they're government officialsshould be offended by
them, or hesitate to obey them.
What's that you say? That most of Christ's words run counter to
most of what this administration is trying to accomplish? That ideas like
those can get you carried off to Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib?
Don't be silly.
I have to stop nowthere are some people at my door. They're
carrying little American flags and Bibles and pitchforks. Whatever could
Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity
from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail