In her opinion/book review post, “Cultural War Games,” New York Times contributor, Gail Collins, sniffed at the idea that there is such a thing as a War on Christmas. To her, it’s really just the “seasonal victimhood” game social conservatives like to play during Christmas. Sure, there may be a few instances of “alleged secular assaults” by anti-Christmas atheists, but they’re far too few and minor to make a fuss over. Certainly not enough to warrant writing a book on the matter, right, Sarah Palin?
Oh, but Gov. Palin has written a book on the matter which according to Ms. Collins, " makes it both best-selling and instantly passé." I may have also heard that Ms. Collins once referred to another author’s best-selling book about Christmas as passé. Unfortunately, Mr. Charles Dickens is not available for comment and alas, I cannot verify that story. Ms. Collins, to her credit did seem to read Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas unlike some other reviewers of Gov. Palin’s previous books. I use seem in the sense that it appears that Ms. Collins was, at a minimum, able to utilize her copy and paste commands to pull out selected portions of Gov. Palin’s book in order to make sarcastic remarks about them. Well done. That college degree paid dividends for her.
Ms. Collins states that Good Tidings and Great Joy is “a rather small book, but it still needs a lot of filler,” which is a remark that would be better suited to describe Ms. Collins’ post. Her filler consists of sophomoric insults flicked at Gov. Palin’s fondly remembered family anecdotes. Such Christmas spirit. Stripped of its filler, “Cultural War Games,” leaves behind a half baked argument that because “approximately three-quarters of the American population is Christian, it seems highly unlikely that anyone will be in danger of forgetting that Dec. 25 commemorates the birth of Christ,” so calm down and eat your turkey and play your football, you seasonal victim-hoodlums.
With recent stories like Christmas trees being banned (along with the colors red and green) at a school in Frisco, Texas, it’s a wonder people haven’t forgot the reason for the season. There hasn’t been a lack of trying from Christmas Scrooges. The trees, lights and religious decorations used to express the celebration of Christmas makes it an easy target to pick at by these Scrooges, but Gov. Palin writes that the War on Christmas is “the tip of the spear in a larger battle to secularize our culture and make true religious freedom a thing of America’s past.” Ms. Collins scoffed at that and in doing so missed the big point being made by Gov. Palin. This war is hardly seasonal, and that fact was driven home last week when news broke that the US Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, challenging the contraception mandate embedded in Obamacare. Ace of Spades puts his finger on the crux of what Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are pushing back against:
All this stuff is about birth control, something that can be had for $100 per year, or less, of course. So the question is not about money or denying "benefits;" the benefits, tangibly speaking, are trivial.
It’s about coercing one culture — a traditionalist, religious one — to accept the dominance of another culture — "progressive," secularist.
These cases may induce less teeth grinding than out right banning of Christmas trees and red and green, but they are part of the same theme of making Americans feel like they have to either sneak around with their religious beliefs or compromise them. So when Ms. Collins writes that "[t]he holidays are for everyone: nearly six weeks of assorted celebrations, many of them simultaneously sacred and secular," why does it seem to many that the secular gets favored over the sacred? That’s a question Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would like to know as well. It’s unknown how The Court will rule on these cases, but I hope Ms. Collins’ isn’t too put off by the fact that their discussion of religious freedom won’t arrive around Christmastime. I do expect Gov. Palin will have some thoughts on that discussion. She has, after all, written a book about it.
Merry Christmas, Ms. Collins.