Thursday, December 8, 2011
I literally felt sick to my stomach when I recently watched Rick Perry's "Strong" Ad. I was reminded (once it truly dawned on me that this was not a Saturday Night Live spoof) of Joseph Welch's words to Senator McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
Rick Perry's candidacy is finished because he is a buffoon. But Fox News is at it again and in case you have not heard, President Obama is fighting a war against Christmas. (It's December so, of course it must be time to beat that drum again.) I avoid Fox News as much as possible, but I get enough of it through John Stewart to make me crazy. (If you don't watch Fox or John Stewart, then check out this segment on the Tree Fighting Ceremony. Among other things, by the way, he's 100% right about how the Puritans felt about Christmas...but never mind the facts when you are fighting a "war" - the truth is always the first casualty.)
In fact, what President Obama said this week when he lit the nation's Christmas tree, is here. It's worth a listen, unfiltered. On that same day he talked about immigration reform in light of the Christmas story, in what at least one commentator called a sermon.
I remain a fan of the president, but this is not a blog offering political support. It is simply to say that if this season is about light shining in the darkness, then lies must be exposed. In the end the truth matters. The truth really does set us free.
I am proud to be a Christian and an American; in that order. In this Advent season I am getting ready to celebrate once again the "dear savior's birth." I look forward to celebrating a very Merry Christmas with my family and in my parish.
But I have promised in holy baptism to respect the dignity of every human being. I know that this is a holiday season, and that other faithful people celebrate other holy days in this season; and some who have no faith still yearn for something more. I find myself wondering if the Jew, Jesus, would really want to use the celebration of his birth to make Jews and people of other faiths feel like they are not "real" Americans. Actually, let me re-phrase that: I don't wonder about that at all. I think using his name to belittle other people of faith probably gives Jesus the same feeling in his stomach that I felt immediately after watching Rick Perry's ad--in need of some alka seltzer.
I sometimes genuinely wonder how people so fixated on the second amendment can so easily ignore the first one. In any event, I prefer to keep the Christmas greetings in church - not because I think faith can be segmented from real life but because I seek to build bridges and find common ground with all of God's children who seek good will for all, and peace on earth in this time. Moreover, I'm not sure that a Christmas greeting at Walmart or the mall makes me somehow feel more special. At the very least it cheapens and distorts and commercializes what matters so deeply to me; the Incarnation. If I hear one more time about ABC-Family's 25 days of Christmas I am going to scream! For the record, it's still Advent, and there are twelve days of Christmas that culminate in Epiphany! I don't expect ABC-Family to preach that. But I'd so much rather they call this the 25 days of Solstice than distort my tradition!