“Whose country is it, anyway?” asks Pat Buchanan in his latest column. His answer, of course: It belongs to Christians like him — and to no one else. Or at least that’s how it used to be and how he wants it to be again.
What brings the fable to mind is this year’s crop of Christmas-haters, whose numbers have grown since the days when it was only the village atheist or the ACLU pest who sought to kill Christmas.
The problem with these folks is not simply that they detest Christmas and what it represents, but that they must do their best, or worst, to ensure Christians do not enjoy the season and holy day they love.
Riiiiight. Because we think that Christians shouldn’t have exclusive access to government property, we’re trying to “kill Christmas” and to make sure Christians don’t have any fun or happiness. Must Christians be miserable if they can’t put a nativity scene on public property — or more accurately, prevent everyone else from having access to that property? Why would this in any way affect whether they can find joy in the Christmas season? It shouldn’t, of course, and the only reason it might is because it violates their sense of Christian privilege. Which is exactly what Pat Buchanan is trying to reassert.
As a Washington Times editorial relates, the number of anti-Christian bigots is growing, and their malevolence is out of the closet:
“In Leesburg, Va., a Santa-suit-clad skeleton was nailed to a cross. … In Santa Monica, atheists were granted 18 of 21 plots in a public park allotted for holiday displays and … erected signs mocking religion. In the Wisconsin statehouse, a sign informs visitors, ‘Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.’ A video that has gone viral on YouTube shows denizens of Occupy D.C. spewing gratuitous hatred of a couple who dared to appropriate a small patch of McPherson Square to set up a living Nativity scene.”
People who indulge in such conduct invariably claim to be champions of the First Amendment, exercising their right of free speech to maintain a separation of church and state.
They are partly right. The First Amendment does protect what they are doing. But what they are doing is engaging in hate speech and anti-Christian bigotry. For what is the purpose of what they are about, if not to wound, offend, insult and mock fellow Americans celebrating the happiest day of their calendar year?
Maybe they think that the public square should not be reserved exclusively for Christians. That’s a perfectly reasonable position. But even after admitting that this is protected by the First Amendment, Pat still thinks that is proof that Christians have lost their country.
Not long ago, the Supreme Court (1892) and three U.S. presidents – Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter – all declared America to be a “Christian nation.”
They did not mean that any particular denomination had been declared America’s national religion – indeed, that was ruled out in the Constitution – but that we were predominantly a Christian people.
And so we were born.
Around 1790, America was 99 percent Protestant, 1 percent Catholic, with a few thousands Jews. The Irish immigration from 1845 to 1850 brought hundreds of thousands more Catholics to America. The Great Wave of immigration from 1890 to 1920 brought millions of Southern and Eastern Europeans, mostly Catholic and Jews. As late as 1990, 85 percent of all Americans described themselves as Christians.
And here one must pose a question.
How did America’s Christians allow themselves to be dispossessed of a country their fathers had built for them? …
What are these Christmas-bashers, though still a nominal minority, saying to Christians with their mockery and ridicule of the celebration of the birth of Christ?
“This isn’t your country anymore. It is our country now.”
The question for Christians is a simple one: Do they have what it takes to take America back?
In Pat’s world, non-Christians asserting their rights is proof that Christians have lost their country. Because in Pat’s world, non-Christians would not have any rights beyond those that the Christian majority magnanimously allows them.