Tuesday, December 15, 2015

War on Christmas Troop Withdrawal

Back in November, I noted that the Starbucks Christmas Cup fiasco might be a sign that the "War on Christmas" was jumping the shark - that is, a sign that it was turning into something so ridiculous that no reasonable person could ever support it. According to this story from Florida, there might be some truth to that. The Christian group that has previously set up nativity scenes at the state capital decided not to put one up this year.

“My hope is that the Christ in Christmas is louder than a wood display and some figurines,” Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, explained to the Miami Herald.

“I have been pondering this for a while,” Olsen said. “The racial tensions and mass murders, the shootings at the Planned Parenthood and in California – something is very wrong in our country. We need to step back and say we need to stop. Let the sound of the Christ Child bring hope, joy and peace instead of dissension.”

The Florida State Capitol has displayed a Christmas tree and menorah for many years. But holiday displays became a source of controversy in 2013 when state officials turned the rotunda into an open forum to allow a Nativity scene, provoking secular groups to ask for their own displays to be allowed.

The controversy lead some to declare that Florida was the frontline in the “war on Christmas.” “We pray that Christ’s message of hope and peace will be communicated in a much stronger way this year from Florida’s state Capitol, by us not placing the nativity in the rotunda,” Olsen said, adding that her group was not “retreating.”

Now it would be nice to think that the group's justification there is sincere. I mean, it actually sounds Christian to be concerned about the ongoing tension and violence in our society. But I highly doubt that's true. It's more likely that the Poor Oppressed Christians are completely unwilling to share public spaces with anyone, as similar controversies around the country have shown. They either get special privileges that elevate their religion above all others, or they take their balls and go home in a huff.

Which is good, up to a point. I would rather see nothing at all than a public display that elevates one particular religion. But as I've also said in the past, I think it would be better still to allow all religions equal access to public spaces. If the Poor Oppressed Christians refuse to play at that point, it's their own business, and it demonstrates pretty clearly their unwillingness to even allow for the existence of other traditions. Because clearly, in their minds, acknowledging that they are one religion among many is a one-way ticket to this dystopian future.

To these folks coexisting and facing oppression are apparently the same damn thing. I'm glad to see that more and more people are finally starting to realize just how stupid that argument really is.

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