Silencing Silent Night
By E. Ralph Hostetter
"Silent Night! Holy Night! All is calm ..."'
These are the opening words of one of Christendom's most beloved Christmas carols.
One wonders if these very words now signify the demise of America's most sacred day of celebration, Christmas, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. Will all of the nights of the Christmas Season be driven into silence within the next generation?
If the so-called secularists get their way this certainly would come true.
Never before in modern times have attacks against Christmas and Christianity been so intense. In many of our public schools references to Christmas are prohibited, the singing of Christmas carols is denied and locations for nativity scenes are denied.
The time-honored phrase "Merry Christmas" has been tossed into the secularists' trash can. A sterile, politically correct "Happy Holidays" has replaced it. If one doubts this, just try to find a Christmas card with the words "Merry Christmas."
The word secularism is not necessarily a kitchen conversation word.
According to Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, secular is derived from the Late Latin word "saecularis," meaning "worldly, profane, heathen."
Needless to say, the modern day secularists have dusted this definition off a bit for use in the newest definition of secularism, "A system of doctrines and practices that disregards or rejects any form of religious faith and worship," would seem to bring secularists more into line with atheists.
The mass media in America has taken up the secular cause and is parroting it day and night at every opportunity, especially during the Christmas Season.
The far-left media has tied the "prayer in school" and abolition of Christmas movement together, thereby giving the secularists a far broader base.
The gathering strength of the secularist movement seems to fly in the face of the fact that "85 percent of Americans self-identify as Christians" while "69 percent believe in God when described as the all-powerful, all-knowing perfect Creator of the Universe." These quotes are from the Web site www.barna.org of the Barna group, a research and information organization that provides, among other things, archives on general religious beliefs.
This compares favorably to a Newsweek poll taken by Princeton Survey Research Associates on December 2 and 3, 2004, which reports that 93 percent of Americans say they believe Jesus Christ actually lived and 82 percent believe that Jesus Christ was God or the Son of God.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the point organization for the secular movement. The ACLU has some 300,000 members.
How can it be that the ACLU with only 300,000 Americans or 0.0011 percent (11 ten-thousandths of 1 percent) of the population is in a position to confront 85 percent of the American public?
The ACLU has on its side the most powerful weapon to come upon the American scene in recent years. The ACLU is guardian of an "unwritten, unconstitutional law" that carries with it the power to impose massive intimidation upon the American public while at the same time censuring the speech of the American citizenry. It can convict without trial and impose punishment without recourse or appeal.
I am referring to Political Correctness. Political Correctness was very quietly slipped on to the American public without the public's realizing the motives of the perpetrators. Like an invisible vise, political correctness grips Americans and renders them silent upon many sensitive issues that beg for open discussion. Honest differences of opinion are given labels that can not only diminish a person's standing in his community but, at worst, destroy his reputation and career. Throughout the ages, vociferous minorities have succeeded in dispossessing majorities of their property and liberty, even their culture.
It would seem that the secularists have the upper hand at present.
The most impressive response that Christians could offer would be a means to demonstrate their overwhelming numbers. Large numbers are very dramatic - Witness the winning demonstrations in Kiev, Ukraine and Lebanon last year.
Large numbers in a group at one place would not be necessary for the purpose of demonstrating the Christian Faith. However, a great number of groups at many places could prove impressive.
Say, on a designated night this Christmas Season, December 21, for example, groups across America would assemble in front of all 2,985 county courthouses across America, from East Point, Maine, to Honolulu, Hawaii, for the purpose of expressing Christian faith by singing America's beloved Christmas carols.
Such assemblies could be organized jointly by different church groups. Inasmuch as political party lines would be no obstacle, large crowds could be expected. Freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly are guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Each succeeding year, as numbers of carolers increased, note would be taken of the strength of the new movement to preserve Christmas.
Can you imagine a million voices singing "Joy to the World" ... with gusto? As we see in Psalm 100:1, this would indeed "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!"
E. Ralph Hostetter, a prominent businessman and agricultural publisher, also is a national and local award-winning columnist.
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