Over the past few decades, secularists and leftists have mounted an aggressive effort to suppress Christianity’s historical and current importance in America, and place all religions — or no religion — on the same level.
A national survey taken in late November by Grinnell College indicates that they have been wildly successful. For example, city dwellers, young people and women are far more supportive of Muslims than of Christians. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats said employers should grant a request for prayer space by Muslims — but only 45 percent said employers should grant a similar request by Christians.
One area in which the cultural levelers haven’t had much success is suppressing Christmas. Evidence of the holiday abounds in airports, hotel lobbies, on radio and TV, in people’s yards and certainly in stores. Even non-Christians get into the spirit. The multicultural spoilsports can’t keep the festivities down, except in public schools, where they make sure children are not exposed to timeless Christmas carols that stir the heart. Or, in some cases, even to green and red napkins.
In “The Chronicles of Narnia,” C.S. Lewis describes the bleak Narnian landscape as “always winter, but never Christmas.” That sounds like school winter concerts that have replaced Christmas celebrations.
Today’s cultural vandals can look back for inspiration to the 20th century. In the atheist Soviet Union, the Communists got rid of St. Nicholas and replaced him with the secular “Grandfather Frost.” In 1938, when Germany’s Nazis annexed Austria, one of the first things they did was to ban Christmas observances in public schools. As Maria Trapp of “The Sound of Music” fame recounts one of her children saying, “In school we are not permitted to sing any religious songs with the name of Christ or Christmas. We can hardly sing any Bach for that reason.”
Some of the pressure to downplay Christmas in America comes from Grinchly atheists, but some of it’s the work of liberals terrified of offending immigrants from predominantly Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist countries. Where else in the world do countries willingly shed their cultural heritage so that newcomers won’t be offended? Well, OK, Europe. That continent is trying to live down its Christian past so that, as Mark Steyn has chronicled, Eurabia can rise in its place.
Even though Islamic doctrine opposes much of the liberal social agenda, progressives have elevated it and other religions as a wedge against their real foe, Christianity.
“For example, the arrival of a small Muslim group in a large Christian-populated town allows Democrats to argue that religious equality requires the cultural visibility of Christianity be reduced to the same level as Islam,” Breitbart’s Neil Munro explains in an article about the Grinnell findings.
Following public backlashes in California and Virginia over the introduction of Islamic concepts in public schools, defenders of the practice insisted that a well-rounded education include comparative religion. That’s not a bad idea, but it’s not the same as honestly teaching the importance of the Bible and Christianity to America’s history and government structure. You can’t really understand America without it.
All too often, offering “comparative religion” has meant pretending that all religions teach the same thing. In Georgia, for instance, in 2015, a sample classroom guide said that Islam, Christianity and Judaism share the “same God,” which is patently false.
In Staunton, Virginia, a high school session on comparative religion had students copy in calligraphy the Shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, which says, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger.”
In Illinois, the Satanic Temple of Chicago got permission this year to erect a sculpture stepping on Christmas. Placed near a Nativity, a Christmas tree and a Menorah in the Illinois Capitol’s rotunda, the edifice depicts a snake wrapped around a woman’s hand as she holds an apple. It makes Satan the hero for promising that if Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, it would render them “like gods, knowing good and evil.”
Also in the rotunda is a sign that says “religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” That would be news to the Christians who led the fight against slavery, fought for civil rights, ended child labor, founded hospitals and advanced the concept of mercy in a very cold world.
Since this kind of detail is absent from most school history books, the results of the Grinnell survey should not come as a surprise, nor the official acceptance of a Satanic sculpture as morally equivalent to a creche.
The good news is that despite all their best efforts to snuff them out, the lights sparkling in commercial splendor and on front lawns all across America still point to a baby born 2,000 years ago who brought God’s love for humanity into startlingly bright focus.
• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times. His latest book is “A Nation Worth Saving: 10 Steps to Restore Freedom” (djkm.org/nation, 2018).