December 23, 2014


How Christmas Won the War on Christmas (Stephen L. Carter, 12/23/14, Bloomberg View)
Not long after some grumpy administrative Grinch at the University of Maine warned employees against the placement of "religious-themed" decorations on campus -- including candy canes -- NASA announced that Christmas lights have become so bright that they are visible from outer space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration released satellite imagery, both still and video, to show how much U.S. cities glow during the holidays.

This sort of brightness is important at moments of national gloom. Part of the secular significance of Christmas is to bring cheer. It's often as simple as that. Many people who decorate their homes aren't trying to spread a religious message. They just want to make their neighborhoods brighter. Last year, in the Connecticut town where my wife and I live, it seemed as though the decorations stayed up longer than usual. People didn't want the cheer to end.

This function of Christmas is often missed by secularists like the unhappy soul who produced the memo at the University of Maine. The ban on ornaments, he suggested, would display the campus's commitment to diversity. One of those less-is-more moments, perhaps. Had anyone taken him seriously, the campus would probably have been less cheery. As it happened, the university hastily withdrew the memo as not consistent with its policies.

The federal government shows no such delicacy about Christmas. The White House this year features no fewer than 26 Christmas trees.

The Wife bought two rolls of Hannukah wrapping paper at CVS the other night and the clerk wished her a Merry Christmas.  Of course, The Mother Judd gave me a Bacon Bowl for Channukah....

Posted by at December 23, 2014 3:48 PM

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