The Advent of Christmas Craziness

With the coming of every Christmas, we witness the renewed paranoia of secularist vs. fundamentalist clashes over the presence of overtly Christian symbols in public places. This is true especially in America, but we find similar manifestations in other places in the world.

On the secularist side, people  entertaining the outdated Enlightenment myth of public vs. private truths, would like to impose to everyone their supposedly tolerant views (obviously, tolerance over everything, except convictions of any kind).

On the fundamentalist side, people living with the nostalgia of the defunct (thank goodness!) Christendom, would like to impose to everyone, including atheists, and even the government, their Christian convinctions, arguing that theirs is (or was, at least) a ‘Christian country’ (whatever that means).

J. Brent Walker, an attorney and Baptist minister in Washington DC, who also serves as executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, suggests in an article published by Associated Baptist Press a few commonsense principles for handling this conflict.

Here is just one paragraph from this text that, I suggest, is worth reading, whatever may be your position about this debate:

There is an all-important distinction between government-sponsored and government-funded religious speech (including sectarian symbols and displays) and privately sponsored and funded expressions of religion in public places (or sometimes even public property). We are a religiously diverse nation. It’s not the job of our government to promote any one religion’s holiday symbols or even all of their symbols. But, in our country where we enjoy free speech and free exercise of religion, there is nothing to prevent followers of those religious traditions from doing so in public places.

Let’s not ask government and, even less, American capitalism to celebrate our holidays for us. Let’s do it ourselves. For all of our readers, Christian or not, I wish you the love, joy, peace and hope of the Advent season.

You may read the whole article HERE.


Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: