It's the "war" Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly and his "cultural
warriors" battle every December, trying to save Christmas. Frothing at the mouth for hours of air time, O'Reilly extrapolates from various church vs. state skirmishes and politically correct marketing efforts that there is a national conspiracy to eradicate Christmas.
It's ironic, because what this avowed patriot is actually railing against
couldn't be more American: the First Amendment.
Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, explains the guiding principle -- simply, to "treat people of all faiths or none with fairness and respect." Therefore, holiday programs "shouldn't make any students feel excluded or identified with a religion not their own." Religious music shouldn't dominate a choral program, but can be included. Public seasonal displays should contain both secular and religious elements.
This is a peculiar perspective for several reasons. It starts with her peculiar interpretation of the first amendment. Here is the text from the Constitution...
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
Now, I must have missed the part where it is against the first amendment to make someone feel uncomfortable. Second, Christmas is a federal holiday. Now, Ms. Sarvady would apparently have us celebrate this FEDERAL holiday without any mention of it anywhere in public. Third, O'Reilly isn't against displaying religious symbols from all the holidays of the season. He just feels as though Christmas shouldn't be singled out and not displayed. Here is how he put it.
The usual Christmas deniers are appalled the ACLU is not going to sue anybody this year. And that's because they lose almost every time they drag Christmas into court. And even those pinheads are tired of wasting money.
In Wisconsin, the state assembly has voted to restore the name of the
"Christmas tree" to the "Christmas tree". That's because they changed it to the "holiday tree". On Capitol Hill, the House voted yesterday 372 to 9 to recognize the "importance of the Christmas tradition and to condemn bigotry against Christians." And those who voted against that Ackerman and Clarke of New York, DeGette of Colorado, Hastings of Florida, McDermott of Washington state, Scott of Virginia, Lee, Woolsey, Stark of California.
So all over the country, the sights and signs of Christmas are on display. Few department stores are telling employees not to say a "Merry Christmas." And the Taliban like oppression of the holiday has largely ceased, but the SPs are not happy about that.
Sarvady's arguement totally falls apart for me with these next two points...
Some school and city officials choose to excise the holidays completely in order to avoid offense. Haynes, a consultant to school districts, feels that year-round education on various religions is a more effective way to mitigate the "December Dilemma."
Though well-versed on all sides of the issue, he still doesn't understand the attack on more all-encompassing greetings like "Happy Holidays," saying: "People who use that expression are just trying to be kind."
One of the more insidious aspects of this trumped-up "war" is an eagerness to blame everything on what Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council calls "overzealous secularist officials." Clever. Pretend the separation of church and state matters only to secular leftists and the rabid right won't sound like they're trying to propagate a religious crusade.
Isn't it amazing how someone supposedly stands up for the first amendment in one breathe and then finds nothing wrong with schools taking away everyone's ability to express their religious beliefs in the other? How exactly is this in keeping with either the letter or the spirit of the first amendment?
Some school and city officials choose to excise the holidays completely in order to avoid offense...I guess in the world of Ms. Sarvady taking away every religion's right to express itself is protecting the first amendment. Like I said, I didn't know that offending someone was a violation of the first amendment. Then Sarvady uses this strawman arguement.
Pretend the separation of church and state matters only to secular leftists and the rabid right won't sound like they're trying to propagate a religious crusade.
What's clever is pretending as though the separation of church and state is anywhere in the Constitution. The phrase the separation of church and state is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. In fact, it was first used in a letter by Thomas Jefferson
The phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from a letter
written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to a group identifying themselves as the Danbury Baptists. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Jefferson writes:
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." 
This so called wall is not and never has meant to be to stop any and all religious expressions in the public square. The first amendment is supposed to keep Congress from favoring one religion over another. Now, some might argue that making Christmas a federal holiday violates that principle, however that is found nowhere in Sarvady's arguement. Since she knows that removing Christmas as a federal holiday is frankly a non starter, she makes all of these other arguements. Arguements that only make sense in the alter universe of the secular progressive.