The War on Christmas is on! This epic battle pits the forces on the right who demand that we say “Merry Christmas” to everyone regardless of their faith—or lack thereof—against those who prefer to say “Happy Holidays.”
How fierce has this so-called “war” become? Well, Sarah Palin is travelling across the country alerting people that “angry atheists” want to “abort Christ from Christmas.” Palin is like a modern day Paul Revere—you know, the guy Palin told us warned the British in 1775 that the British were about to attack the colonists.
Bill O’Reilly, the “Father Christmas” of the War on Christmas, recently clamoredthat there are dastardly people who want to, “banish any mention of Jesus in the public square.”
And apparently these atheists—who represent about 1.6 percent of our population—are so dangerous that it compelled Texas Governor Rick Perry to enact the “Merry Christmas law” earlier this year to ensure that public school teachers could say “Merry Christmas” without fear of attack.
But here’s the glaring hypocrisy of the right: they want to keep “Christ in Christmas,” but they don’t want to keep Christ’s teachings in the policies they advocate. It’s as if there are two Jesus Christs. There’s the one in the Bible who advocates helping people in need, especially the poor. And then there’s the Jesus that conservatives worship, whose philosophy is to callously slash programs that help the less fortunate, from food stamps to health insurance to unemployment benefits.
I’m not a religious scholar, but it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in religious studies to comprehend the basic teachings of Jesus. The New Testament is filled with passages where Jesus implores his followers to care for the poor. Arguably the best known is Matthew 25:34-36, where Jesus discussed the importance of helping people in need: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
Yet the same people who demand that we keep Christ in Christmas also support cutting programs advance Jesus’s philosophy. We saw that in September when House Republicans voted to slash $40 billion from the food stamps program. If this had become law, it would’ve result in nearly four million Americans being deprived of these desperately needed benefits. So much for the, “I was hungry and you gave me food.”