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Bah Humbug Snowflakes: Christmas Has Become Yet Another Trigger Word

By John & Nisha Whitehead

December 20, 2023

The season for giving has turned into the season for getting…and for getting offended.

Over the years, Christmas casualties in the campaign to create one large national safe space have ranged from the beloved animated classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (denounced for promoting bullying and homophobia) to the Oscar-Winning Tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (accused of being a date rape anthem) crooned by everyone from Dean Martin to Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel in the Movie Elf.

Also on the endangered species Christmas list are such songs as “Deck The Halls,” “Santa Baby” and “White Christmas.”

One publishing company even re-issued their own redacted version of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem “T’was The Night Before Christmas” in order to be more health conscious: the company edited out Moore’s mention of Santa smoking a pipe (“The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth/ And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.”)

In the politically correct quest to avoid causing offense, Christmas keeps getting axed.

Examples abound.

Schools across the country now avoid anything that alludes to the true meaning of Christmas such as angels, the baby Jesus, stables and shepherds.

In many of the nation's schools, Christmas Carols, Christmas Trees, wreaths and candy canes have also been banned as part of the effort to avoid any reference to Christmas, Christ or God. One school even outlawed the colors red and green, saying they were Christmas colors and thus, illegal.

Students asked to send seasonal cards to Military Troops have been told to make them “holiday cards” and instructed not to use the words “Merry Christmas” on their cards.

Many schools have redubbed their Christmas concerts as “winter holiday programs” and refer to Christmas as a “winter festival.” Some schools have canceled holiday celebrations altogether to avoid offending those who do not celebrate the various holidays.

Things have not been much better outside the schools, muddled by those who subscribe to the misguided notion that the Constitution requires that anything religious in nature be banned from public places.

Clearly, Christmas has become one of many casualties in the misguided dispute over the so-called “separation of church and state,” a controversy that has given rise to a disconcerting and unconstitutional attempt to sanitize public places of any reference to God or religion.

Yet there’s a really simple solution to this annual angst of whether students and teachers can display Christmas-related posters, wear Christmas colors of red and green or sing Christmas Songs and that is for government officials to stop being such Humbugs and create a vibrant, open environment where all expression can flourish.

While the First Amendment prohibits the government from forcing religion on people or endorsing one particular religion over another, there is no legitimate legal reason why people should not be able to celebrate the season freely or wish each other a Merry Christmas or even mention the word Christmas.

After all, the First Amendment affirms the right to Freedom For Religion, not Freedom From Religion.

Hoping to clear up the legal misunderstanding over the do’s and don’ts of celebrating Christmas, The Rutherford Institute’s Constitutional Q&A on “Twelve Rules of Christmas” provides basic guidelines for lawfully celebrating Christmas in schools, workplaces and elsewhere.

Yet while Christmas may be the “trigger” for purging Christmas from public places, government forums and speech—except when it profits Corporate America—it is part and parcel of the greater trend in recent years to whittle away at Free Speech and trample the First Amendment underfoot.

Anything that might raise the specter of controversy is avoided at all costs.

We are witnessing the emergence of an unstated yet court-sanctioned right, one that makes no appearance in the Constitution and yet seems to trump the First Amendment at every turn: the right to not be offended.

In this way, emboldened by phrases such as “hate crimes,” “bullying,” “extremism” and “microaggressions,” Free Speech has been confined to carefully constructed “Free Speech Zones,” criminalized when it skates too close to challenging the status quo, shamed when it butts up against politically correct ideals, and muzzled when it appears dangerous.

At the slightest hint of trouble, government officials (and corporations) are inclined to chuck anything that might be objectionable.

Yet when all is said and done, what the Police State really wants is a nation of snowflakes, snitches and book burners: a legalistic, intolerant, elitist, squealing bystander nation willing to turn on each other and turn each other in for the slightest offense, while being incapable of presenting a united front against the threats posed by the government and its cabal of Constitution-destroying agencies and corporate partners.

You want to know why this country is in the state it’s in?

The answer is the same no matter what the problem might be, whether it’s the Economy, Government Corruption, Police Brutality, Endless Wars, Censorship, Falling Literacy Rates, etc.: Every one of these problems can be sourced back to the fact that “We The People” have stopped thinking for ourselves and relinquished responsibility for our lives and Well-Being to a government entity that sees us only as useful idiots.

We face an immense threat in our society from this drive to obliterate our history and traditions in order to erect a saccharine view of reality. In the process, we are creating a schizophrenic world for our children to grow up in, and it is neither healthy nor will it produce the kind of people who will be able to face the challenges of a future ruled by a totalitarian regime.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, you can’t sanitize reality. You can’t scrub out of existence every unpleasant thought or idea. You can’t legislate tolerance. You can’t create enough safe spaces to avoid the ugliness that lurks in the hearts of men and women. You can’t fight ignorance with the weapons of a Police State.

What you can do, however, is step up your game.

Opt for kindness over curtness, and civility over Censorship. Choose Peace over Politics, and Freedom over Fascism. Find common ground with those whose Politics or opinions or lifestyles may not jive with your own.

Do your part to make the world a little brighter and a little lighter, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a chance of digging our way out of this hole.

Editor’s Note: John Whitehead is an Attorney and Author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of Constitutional Law, Human Rights and Popular Culture. John Whitehead's Commentary are his views and he is open for discussion, he can be contacted at: johnw@rutherford.org. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at: www.rutherford.org

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