Complaints about the so-called "war on Christmas" are already cranking up. One of my friends on facebook posted about it this morning and copied a forwarded email that's been traveling around for a couple of years. It's the one that claims the Obamas are having a "holiday tree" in the White House instead of a Christmas tree (they're not; check Snopes) and goes on to blame Hurricane Katrina on the lack of of prayer in public schools. The writer insists that since we "God from the schools" that God chose to "be a gentleman" and leave us alone (i.e. withold divine protection.) You might like to see my response:
Here's a very interesting article about the language concerning December holidays:
Seriously? Seriously? God punished people with a massive hurricane because we don't have government coerced prayer in public schools? (Because that's what school official-led audible prayer would be.) How about God is a gentleman and doesn't intervene with the consequences of our actions - like building major cities on flood plains, destroying the coastal wetlands that protect us from the severity of hurricanes, neglecting to keep the levees repaired, and not bothering to take at least some responsibility for the climate change that is increasing the severity of extreme weather events.
Jesus himself made it very clear that natural calamities are NOT God's punishment for human sin: "The rain falls on the just and unjust..." and "His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus...... You know, it is simply not true that people have been forbidden to pray in school. People do it all the time. They just don't get to impose that prayer on others. For those who insist that such prayer be official, formal and audible they need to remember that Jesus told us to go in our room and shut the door when we pray and to pray in secret. (He had very harsh words for the Pharisees who prayed publicly in order to be seen by others.)
Finally, I'd like to say that there are places in this world where Christians really are persecuted and, I'm sorry, but hearing someone call a decorated tree a "holiday tree" simply does not begin to rise to that level.
Why the 'War on Christmas' retail controversy is so absurd
The comments by reader are particularly illuminating.