By Chip McLean
One of the annual Christmas traditions in my childhood days was watching the animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas. Based on cartoonist Charles M. Schultz’s beloved characters, the show found Charlie Brown searching for the true meaning of Christmas.
As all of you who have seen this timeless program know, Charlie Brown, after becoming disillusioned with the season’s commercialism, discovers the real meaning of Christmas when Linus recites from the Gospel of Luke (2: 8-14 KJV) concerning the birth of Jesus Christ:
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.
Linus then concludes by saying, “And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown”. It’s an eye-opening, inspiring moment for Charlie Brown, just as it has been for millions of others since the Emmy award winning show’s first televised airing in 1965.
Each passing year has seen attacks on Christmas increase and every year the attacks become ever more ludicrous in their scope. This season has already seen numerous instances of efforts to secularize all aspects of public life by removing any references to Christmas. The federal court removal of a nativity scene that had been a sixty year tradition in a Santa Monica park, the banning of Christmas trees from a seniors apartment complex in Newhall, Ca, and the cancellation of a Christmas charity concert in Hawaii have all been in recent news. One bit of good news is that the seniors at the apartment complex fought back and the management relented, blaming the whole thing on “miscommunication”.
Even good ‘ol Charlie Brown is not immune from this relentless attack on any and all things Christmas or Christian. A Little Rock, Arkansas church was forced into cancelling their theatrical performance of “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” (based on “A Charlie Brown Christmas”), planned for a school field trip for first and second graders, because of the complaint of one parent about the “religious content”. An Arkansas atheist group took up the complaint and the church backed down.
Despite all the protests to the contrary, this nation was founded on Christian principles. A reading of our founding documents and indeed the founders’ personal writings will reveal numerous references to God. Obviously the founders believed God to be an integral part of the nation’s fabric. Yet – somehow through the years this great myth has evolved regarding “separation of church and state”. Let us first quote directly from the first amendment to the US 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. (emphasis mine)
Plain and simple, Congress is prohibited from establishing a state religion and they are also prohibited from preventing the exercising of religion. Nowhere does it say “separation of church and state” (more on that in a moment).
These very straightforward words from the constitution have been twisted by those who are truly ignorant – or choosing to be so willingly – into meaning freedom from religion. Obviously freedom of religion is very different from the agenda of the anti-Christian zealots who wish to be free from seeing any public expression of religion. Unfortunately for them, that isn’t what the first amendment guarantees. Unfortunately for the rest of us however, is that activist judges are doing their best to codify “freedom from religion” into law.
Going back to the Hawaii story, it is easy to see how this whole notion of “freedom from religion” has been bought into by far too many mindless robots, who have apparently been dumbed down by a socialist driven educational system. Take this quote from one Mitch Kahle, who is mentioned as the founder of something called the “Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church”:
“The issue here is an entanglement between a public school and a Christian church, and one of the things about the constitution is that it prohibits the involvement of public schools and churches.”
Mr. Kahle needs to re-read the first amendment (assuming he ever actually read it in the first place). As I have already pointed out, there is no such phrase in the first amendment, nor anywhere else in the constitution as “Separation of State and Church”, nor is it implied or inferred. In fact the only reference by one of the founders regarding a “separation of church and state” comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut in 1802. The letter, upon proper reading and context, plainly shows that Jefferson was offering an assurance to that particular church that the “wall of separation between church and State” would not allow the government to impose a state religion on the church. Jefferson concludes the letter with his own prayers for the church.
The views of the clueless Mr. Kahle and others of his ilk notwithstanding, it certainly doesn’t sound like Jefferson wanted to remove religion from the public square does it?
Our republic is being eroded daily, and one of the chief reasons is due to the efforts of folks like Mr. Kahle who would really like to see Jesus Christ vanish from public. For those of us who are believers in Christ and for those who are not, but at least clearly see the ongoing destruction of our constitutional republic by “progressive thought”, it is time to fight back – much as those seniors at the apartment complex did. Charlie Brown was indeed a good man – it’s time to stand with him.
© Copyright by Chip McLean, 2012. All rights reserved.
Chip McLean is the editor/publisher for Capitol Hill Coffee House and Capitol Hill Outsider. Chip is a former broadcaster. His interest in politics began at the age of eight, when his parents took him to a Barry Goldwater rally during the 1964 presidential election. In addition to his work at CHCH Publishing, Chip’s columns have appeared in a number of online conservative publications.