Ed Driscoll

Wither Christmas? Not This Year, At Least

John Hinderaker writes, “We are about to witness a major battle in the war against religion, as President Bush stands behind his nominations of conservative judges”:

I’m looking forward to the Democrats’ effort to explain to the American people why people of faith can’t be appellate judges. It will be, I think, another nail in their coffin. After all, Democratic politicians, when they are running for office, have to pretend that they are constantly influenced by their own religious convictions; just recall John Kerry in the last election, or Bill Clinton carrying a Bible around for the benefit of Sunday morning photographers.

So: religion is undoubtedly under attack, but here in America, at least, the battle is going quite well. That doesn’t mean that people of faith should let down their guard, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we should be oblivious to what is happening around the world. In a number of countries, to be a practicing Jew or Christian is to risk death. But let’s, for now, celebrate the fact that religious conviction is advancing, not receding, as a factor in American life.

Mark Steyn writes that in many respects, the left’s assault on religion in American has strengthened the resolve of those of faith, not weakened them:

But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins? For the answer to that, look no further than last month’s election results. Forty years of effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to eliminate God from the public square have led to a resurgent, evangelical and politicised Christianity in America. By “politicised”, I don’t mean that anyone who feels his kid should be allowed to sing Silent Night if he wants to is perforce a Republican, but only that year in, year out it becomes harder for such folks to support a secular Democratic Party closely allied with the anti-Christmas militants. American liberals need to rethink their priorities: what’s more important? Winning a victory over the kindergarten teacher’s holiday concert, or winning back Congress and the White House?

In Britain, by contrast, the formal symbols remain in place: the Queen is still Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and the Archbishop of York still sits in the House of Lords. But, underneath all that, Christianity has collapsed, the churches are empty and the new Europe is as officious about public expressions of faith but without the countervailing balance of America’s First Amendment protections.

Last year, I felt that Christmas was fading in popularity. This year, I feel a bit more reassured. Next year? It’s about 340 days too soon to tell of course, but it will be interesting to see if stores and government, but local and national, have learned anything from the outcry this year.