What Christians Can Do
By Selwyn Duke
While many are still oblivious to it and the effluent-stream media deny it’s happening, there is an attack on Christmas. Like others, I would say “war,” but that would be inaccurate. A conflict in its totality could be called a war; what transpires within a specific theater of operations during a war is better known as a battle. The war is on Christianity; Christmas is the most obvious front in this conflict because it is Christianity’s most visible Holy Day and America’s dominant religion-derived celebratory season.
So now the wholesale purging of all things Christian is at its starkest. All across the nation school districts are eschewing the word “Christmas,” so we now hear of “Winter Break” or “Winter Celebration.” Stores are following suit, with many refusing to hang “Merry Christmas” signs and even disallowing employees from wishing customers a Merry Christmas. Oddly, though, they still want Christians’ money.
But it gets worse. Ridgeway Elementary School in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, had changed the name of the song “Silent Night” to “Cold in the Night” and had secularized the lyrics – it was part of their “Winter Program.” They finally yielded to pressure (for now) from sane Americans and restored the song, but this is a prime example of the anti-Christian bias that is permeating academia. And as in so many districts, while the Nativity scene is off limits at Ridgeway, it’s decorating its classrooms with Santa Claus, Kwanzaa, menorahs and even, here’s a new slice of the occult, La Befana, who is some kind of witch. Equally outrageous, last year a school in Plano, Texas, banned red and green party supplies from a “Winter Break Party” because they were too suggestive of Christmas. Yeah, you shameless liars in the media, there’s no attack on Christmas. Nor was there segregation in the South and the Holocaust never happened.
But I won’t simply be a war correspondent here. Because this piece doesn’t concern merely what we can complain about, but what we can do. And we can do a lot . . . if we have the will and fortitude.
The first thing we need to do is understand that the cultural transformation started a long time ago. First there was the unconstitutional separation of church and state ruling in 1947. Christians did nothing. Then there was the school prayer ruling in 1962. Christians did nothing. Since then we have been subjected to a seemingly endless and inexorable barrage of attacks upon faith and culture, with each incursion followed by an even more brazen and ambitious campaign. We gave them an inch and they wanted a foot. We gave them a foot and they wanted a yard. We gave them a yard and they wanted a mile. Now it’s at a point where a lawsuit was filed to remove “In God We Trust” (our official national motto) from our currency. Remember math class and the “finish the progression” exercises? Two, four, six, eight . . . what comes next? It’s not hard to understand where this is going. The pattern is plain, and only those completely unschooled in cultural mathematics can’t close the loop. Unless the tide is turned, we’ll end up wearing yellow crosses.
And turning the cultural tide is the key. Don’t be fooled by the occasional legal victories and the money-whore department stores that have yielded to Christian pressure to perpetuate our culture. The former are merely small movements toward the ether on a ship that’s steadily descending toward the netherworld. As for the latter, these businesses will tilt whichever way Mammon is blowing.
So, how do we turn the cultural tide? First, make no mistake about it, in the same way that “People get the government they deserve,” they also get the culture they deserve. For example, if we didn’t partake of decadent entertainment, it wouldn’t exist. If people didn’t buy pornography and drugs, they wouldn’t permeate our culture either. And if the majority of us commenced saying “Have a great Fig Newton!” upon departing each other and persisted long enough, it would become the norm. So understand that for good or for ill . . . or for the ridiculous, we are the sculptors – culture is the clay.
Now, in the Catholic Church there is a part of the liturgy where all the parishioners cross their foreheads, mouths and hearts in rapid succession. This symbolizes the idea that the Lord should always be in our minds, on our lips and in our hearts. It’s a great state to strive for, but this brings me to an observation of mine.
Oftentimes I’ll be ready to depart from some fellow Christians and will, not surprisingly, close with “God bless.” Despite this, it has been my experience (at least here in the Northeast) that even these people will not respond in kind. Instead, they react with a “See ya” or “Bye now” in a very mindless fashion, as if they didn’t even take note of my words. Now, these are individuals who I know practice their faith, mind you, and they know that I certainly practice mine. Thus, it’s not as if they would be averse to uttering those words any more than they would think that I would be averse to hearing them. So, what accounts for this failure to have the Lord “on their lips”?
The answer is that secularism is in their minds, on their lips and in their hearts. Oh, sure, they attend church and go through the motions and, to be fair, their faith does make them better people. But the sad fact of the matter is that they have been conditioned to be secular. They were raised in a secular age and, consequently, think, talk and feel secular. They may say they’re Christian, but many of their actions speak otherwise. And instead of shaping the culture, the culture shapes them.
This is no small point, rather, it is the crux of the matter. Most of what people do is not the result of calculated action but of instinct, which is synonymous with saying that they are embracing the ways of the society that shaped their instincts.
This isn’t always bad, of course. It’s a good thing insofar as society’s conventions accord with Truth. But when they don’t, ah, there’s the rub. So what Christians – and others who care about preserving Western civilization – need to do is re-examine their instincts and remake them when necessary. The following are my prescriptions.
When Parting from Others Say “God Bless”
If it sounds like something trifling and inconsequential to you, remember that if you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves. And saying “God bless” to other believers shouldn’t seem in the least daunting. In fact, we should feel it incumbent upon ourselves to do so.
But what about non-believers? Well, I would encourage you to muster up the courage to follow suit with them as well. That’s a lot to ask, say you? Okay, let’s be honest, I know many of you feel a bit squeamish about this. Weighing on your mind are concerns about how they will react and you feel more than a bit of, let’s say, apprehension. So what’s needed here is a good dose of perspective-bred courage.
If you’re worried about “imposing your values,” you need not be. If you feel consternation because you fear you may be “offensive,” let not your heart be troubled. Proscriptions against these things are nothing but Machiavellian ploys.
Liberals never worry about imposing their values. Whether it’s transforming their latest social-engineering scheme into curricula or legislation, or “sensitivity training”in the workplace, they forge on ahead, seemingly oblivious to the fact that a law or rule by definition is the imposition of a value. They continually impose values in the only way it can be done: through coercion. They use the long arm of the law.
This reminds me of the case up in Canada recently in which a woman, Jane Emlyn, demanded that her 14-year-old daughter, who plays on a hockey team with opposite-sex agemates, be allowed to use the same changing room as the boys. Her “position” is that the sexes should only be separated when actually showering. Now, I mention this because I read that while this libertinette indignantly proclaims the virtue of her cause and has petitioned the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for redress, the people in her area who oppose her voiced their opposition only “anonymously.”
Ah, the fruits of modern Western culture. People who advocate for morality and common-sense are silent, while the morally bankrupt boldly go where no wacko has gone before.
The bottom line is that you are not imposing your values when you simply express your beliefs; you’re merely giving them voice and exposure. But this is where the offensiveness ploy factors in. Along with the admonition against “imposing your values,” telling people they’re being offensive serves to stifle opposition. Why, we hear that and we’re supposed to stutter and stammer, shake and quake and equivocate and be cowed into doleful submission.
But here’s the dirty little secret: when liberals claim umbrage they aren’t really offended, it’s just that they don’t happen to like what you’re saying or doing. However, if they simply said so in so many words, they would seem intolerant. So what they do is place the onus on you with the “offensiveness” artifice. Then, instead of revealing themselves as the villain as they try to cut out your tongue, they make you seem like a villain who is cutting others with it.
It is this inherent dishonesty that is truly enraging. Liberals victimize their opponents by playing the victim and blaming the victim, and I’ll have none of it. Remember that the imposition of values (lawmaking) is part of creating a government and society. Thus, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to impose values but simply what values will be imposed. So, shout your values from the mountaintops. Wear them on your shirtsleeves. Proclaim them proudly. Impose them. Offend the offensive. Free yourself. And to the liberals I will only say: I’m offended that you’re offended. Stick that in your bong and smoke it.
Say Grace Before Meals and Engender a Spirit of Gratitude
If you’re with your family, saying grace is one way in which you can live the faith around your children. It should be remembered that values are caught more than they’re taught, and such a practice is part of the bare minimum for any Christian home.
It shouldn’t end there, though. The great writer and philosopher G.K. Chesterton once said, “You say grace before meals, all right. But I say grace before I dip the quill into the ink.” He also said that “Thanks are the highest form of thought.” He was right, and in keeping with this we should make a habit of thanking God for everything from our car to our shoes to our toothbrush. In this way we can cultivate a spirit of gratitude in ourselves, which is a key to happiness and the antidote to the entitlement mentality.
Read the Bible With Family
Turn off the television and open the Good Book. If you and your children spend all your time immersed in the things of the secular world, well, you can finish the sentence.
Dress-up for Church
The phrase “Sunday best” exists for a reason. There was a time when people understood that church was the most important part of their week and attired themselves accordingly. Now I see parents rushing into services with kids dressed in soccer clothes. How about rushing to soccer in church-clothes? You can always perform a Clark Kent quick-change – sans phone booth, of course.
This is important, however, because how we dress tells the world what we think about our faith. We wouldn’t saunter into a wedding or funeral dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, would we? Well, there’s no event more worthy of exaltation than the worshiping of the Creator of the Universe. And for those who would ask, “God doesn’t care about how we dress, does He?” I have a surprising answer: YES! He just may. After all, while I won’t elaborate much here, how we dress affects our fellow man (imagine how people’s mind-set would change if half a parish showed up in bathing suits), and how we influence others is of the utmost importance. Remember here that standards have been dumbed-down for decades now, and we can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.
And, lastly . . .
Wish Others a Merry Christmas!
I’m not going to worry about offending the offensive, and that’s what secular grinches are. For, what is truly offensive is waiting for a faith’s hallowed season and second highest Holy Day to launch your most vicious attack upon that faith. So, if anyone ever took umbrage at my Christmas salutations, my response would simply be, “Hey, I still want you to be merry!”
The above is just a short list of recommendations. Of course, there are other things one can do, and I don’t claim that these practices are a substitute for true conversion, love of one’s fellow man and the inculcation of virtue in oneself. But I do know one thing. Too many of us dispense with our faith as we give it nary a thought most all year and then are surprised when the elements of it we hold dear fall by the wayside. It’s as if we think that we can neglect the tree and deny it light and water, then let someone take an axe, torch and carving knife to it, and it will still bear fruit we can pluck to satisfy our once-a-year sweet tooth.
But it doesn’t work that way. When ground is relinquished all year long because the troops didn’t take the field, it shouldn’t surprise us when the land of Yuletide comes under intense bombardment from now proximal hostile forces. If we want to win the battle for Christmas, we had better start fighting the war for Christianity. And never forget that this is your culture. Cherish it. Preserve it. Defend it. Use it or lose it.
If the Lord is no longer in our minds, on our lips and in our hearts, we shouldn’t be shocked when He is no longer in our media, on our public lands, and in our stores. After all, our culture really is just a reflection of us. So God bless you, I’m thankful that you read this, and have a very merry and blessed Christmas.