Saturday, December 24, 2005

#220 - Resolved

This one slipped quietly by. On December 15, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 579 as follows:

H. Res. 579

In the House of Representatives, U.S.,

December 15, 2005.

Whereas Christmas is a national holiday celebrated on December 25; and

Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States would prohibit the establishment of religion, not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;

(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and

(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions, for those who celebrate Christmas.

Well said.

And yet... something bothers me about this resolution. It's not the language, certainly. I agree with everything it says. I myself would have voted for it enthusiastically.

It could be the final count. It had what you might call an unprecedented level of bipartisan support. 401 representatives voted in the affirmative. There were only 22 negative votes - all of them Democrats. 5 congresspersons merely answered, "present." 5 more did not vote for whatever reasons. Interestingly, one of our primary California Atheists sorry, Democrats, Jane Harman, was among the "nay" votes. In fact, at least 4 of the 22 nay votes were California Democrats. How inspiring.

Yet as interesting as was the final vote, it pales in comparison to the reason for the resolution.

How on earth have we arrived at a place where the symbols and traditions of Christmas need the support of the House of Representatives? Is it possible that Christmas is in danger of disappearing altogether from the public arena?

Perhaps. Some folks have sure done their level best to make sure that the word "Christmas" is instantly associated with some sort of counter-diversity movement. Stores now fear retribution from atheists and civil libertarians who somehow feel that public recognition of the Savior's birth is anaethema to the nation's well-being. Bell-ringers? Not in front of my store. No, sir. We support diversity!

And so it goes.

Still, one phrase of the resolution is most meaningful: "reference to God in civic dialog." Ah. Civic dialog. The ability to freely express our thoughts, worship as we please, and pay tribute to any and all religious observances. All guaranteed by the First Amendment. We the people have this right, and we need to exercise it.

Let the atheists, ACLU barristers, civil libertarians, and even Jesse Jackson believe (or not) any way that they choose. Those who might take offense need to remember that it cuts both ways. To those who believe that public prayer is somehow offensive, let me remind you that to oppose prayer is equally offensive to me and my family. To hear you belittle and degrade our celebrations is highly offensive. But that same First Amendment even guarantees you that right, and I certainly cannot stop you.

Neither can you stop us.

Merry Christmas!

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