Editor's note: Delbert Marshall, a longtime member of the Generations Advisory Group, wrote this article before his death in October.
The battle between monotheistic believers and the Christian-eating lions has bated a bit this year. The results are significant to all Americans, whatever their religion or lack thereof. The "merry Christmas" contingent as opposed to the "happy holidays" group has become more assertive.
Arguments against Christmas are many, but may be boiled down to a few themes. Some say Christmas is pagan and has become so commercialized that it is no longer religious.
Others say they are "offended" when exposed to the word Christmas and all its symbols. What they are truly saying is that a season sacred and loved by the vast majority of people should be sacrificed so as not to offend the small minority.
Similar arguments could be leveled against cars, for car crashes kill and maim many victims each year. Likewise, all knives should be banned because they are sometimes used to injure or kill people. Examined from this perspective, it becomes apparent that the arguments against Christmas are fatuous.
The most visible battle last year was among atheists, Christians and Jews in the Washington state capitol building. Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washington was persuaded by atheists, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, to allow an atheistic diatribe next to a display of the nativity and the Menorah. Never mind that the Christians and Jews had symbols of their faiths while the atheists had a poster attacking any belief in a God with sovereignty over all human endeavors. Of course, the atheists have a problem in these situations; they have no symbol. This year no symbols at all are allowed.
If they weren't so militant, such people would deserve our pity rather than censure. Consider that if the godless are correct, it doesn't really affect people of faith. The faithful will still approach death with a smile on their face, expecting eternal bliss.
If, however, the godless are wrong, they will have an eternity to regret their profligate life on earth while the faithful will spend eternity basking in the presence of God. In the words of G.M. Beenken, "Other men see only a hopeless end, but the Christian rejoices in an endless hope."
The concern many faithful have is the damage that these zealots do to children. Those children who are taken in by the falsely religious, atheists and agnostics tend to follow in their footsteps. This is not universally true, fortunately.
A son of Fred Phelps, the Topeka pastor who preaches that God hates homosexuals, has become a devout Christian. Fred leads his parishioners in picketing funerals of fallen soldiers because he says they are supporting a nation damned because it accepts homosexuals.
True Christians follow the path of Jesus, who said his father loves all that he has created. Jesus also told us to leave judgment to him and love all people even if you hate what they do.
In a broader context, those who would completely separate church and state have no true concept of the intent of the founding fathers. They confuse the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The declaration is a statement of the principles and mores leading the colonists to cut ties with Great Britain. It is a framework explaining what we are about and strive to explicitly express a belief in God.
The Constitution, on the other hand, is a blueprint for the structure of government and only concerns belief or non-belief in God in the First Amendment. And this statement in the Constitution says, in common language, that not only will we have no state religion but we will not interfere in the religion of others.
Those who are trying to subvert the Constitution are uncomfortable with anyone who states that good and evil do exist. They want all truths to be relative, subject only to the desires of the person. If it feels good to you, you should do it, is their motto. They reject the concept that no person is completely free.
We are constrained from any action impinging on the freedom of those around us. Freedom is something which all must have; it cannot be restricted to a particular group or faction.
Christmas will soon be here, and some people doggedly remain politically correct by wishing others "happy holidays." However, decorating holiday trees and attending holiday concerts and parties doesn't seem right. It's Christmas, folks!