‘Tis the Season: The Fight Against All Things Christmas is in Full Swing
Outrage over Nativity scenes, menorahs, images of Santa Claus, wreaths, and even candy canes have become just about as traditional in America this time of year as eggnog and tree lighting.
Across the nation, controversies and Christmas caution are already underway.
In Indiana, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is seeking a court order for the permanent removal of a Nativity scene outside a local courthouse. Note: this is the fourth year in a row FFRF has tried to get it removed.
Michigan, however, may win the prize for diversity. It’s Capitol Building will not only have a Nativity scene, it will also have a display from the Satanic Temple. What exactly does this ‘display’ look like? It is a snake, wrapped around a tree and coming through a black cross. An open book hangs on the tree with the proclamation “The Greatest Gift is Knowledge” written above it.
What’s a little curious, though, is that while the Satanic Temple received permission to have its display out from Dec. 21-23, the Nativity scene must be taken down every night and put up each morning. Michigan lawmaker Rick Jones (R) has offered to head this nightly venture.
Oh, and as far as diversity goes, don’t forget about the “Festivus” pole, a six foot high stack of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer that is on display for the second year inFlorida. I guess atheists just really need something to celebrate, and a Seinfeldjoke about a “Festivus for the rest of us” was as good as any.
The good news is, that while these outlandish stories will likely make headlines every season, the majority of Americans aren’t offended when they see a baby Jesus display.
Only 20 percent believe there should be no religious displays on government property, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. In fact, most people still consider the Christmas story to be an historical event:
About three-quarters of Americans believe that Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, that an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, and that wise men, guided by a star, brought Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. And eight-in-ten U.S. adults believe the newborn baby Jesus was laid in a manger.
In total, 65% of U.S. adults believe that all of these aspects of the Christmas story – the virgin birth, the journey of the magi, the angel’s announcement to the shepherds and the manger story – reflect events that actually happened.
So call me traditional, but whenever a cashier, barista, or anyone working for a “tolerant,” politically correct company sends me off with a “Happy Holiday!” I always respond with a bright, unapologetic: “Merry Christmas.” After all, that is what this federal holiday is called (for now at least).
Found at Townhall.
Latest update on the Sony hack…
The US says three top ISIL leaders have been killed in Iraq.
General Martin Dempsey, the Pentagon’s top uniformed officer, told The Wall Street Journal (paywall) in an interview that the deaths of these “high-value targets” took place in recent weeks, in a push by coalition forces ahead of an offensive planned for 2015.
Ps…to get around the paywall? Do a google search and you can read it all.
From Sydney to Peshawar – Islamic extremists are civilisation’s common enemy
Yesterday it was Sydney. Today it is Peshawar. Yesterday a coffee shop. Today a school. Yesterday a lone gunman. Today a gang of them. If anybody wondered about the global and diffuse nature of the challenge that Islamic fundamentalism poses, the last 24 hours have given another demonstration of the problem.
Yet what is amazing, after all these years, is how unconcerned many people remain with working out what is going on. How could the Taliban have chosen to attack a school in Peshawar? Why did Boko Haram steal the Nigerian schoolgirls? Why did the Sydney attacker fly that flag? Why do Isis fly theirs? The Western world in particular seems to be made up of not only exceptionally slow, but actually reluctant, learners.
This week there is a new book out by the renowned scholar of Islam, Patrick Sookhdeo (I have had the honour of writing the introduction). It is called ‘Dawa: the Islamic strategy for reshaping the modern world’. It not only lays out what Islamic fundamentalists around the world are trying to do, but how a coalition of Muslims and non-Muslims can come together to defeat them. It is, I would suggest, fairly vital reading to educate people about what is going on. But that brings me to one other point.
A considerable – and growing – number of people worldwide now recognise that Muslims and non-Muslims are involved in a war against the literalists and fundamentalists within the Muslim religion. It is a war that is likely to continue for many decades to come, and the propaganda war, as much as the actual war, matters.
Which brings me to this morning’s Daily Mail front page. Last week the Democrat party in the US issued a deeply uninformed and damaging report which they appear to have hoped would damage the previous Republican administration. In fact this wildly misjudged report turns out simply to have done what anybody outside the Democrat high command could have predicted it would do – and done incalculable damage to the United States.
Continue reading this HERE.
Shocking new US minority: children living in households without federal aid
I often read stories which claim the U.S. economy is on its way back. However, the Dow Jones is not a true indicator of what’s happening down on Main Street.
Wages for Americans are still depressed and our workforce participation rate remains at a catastrophic almost 36-year low. The ruse of printing money and artificially keeping interest rates low can’t hide the truth forever — we no longer have a free market/free enterprise economy. We are entering the era of a government-driven economy.
And there’s another disconcerting aspect of our economy — the expansion of the welfare nanny-state and the dependency society, which is becoming generationally entrenched.
As CNS News writes, “The Census Bureau reported in a study released this week that 65 percent of American children lived in households taking aid from one or more federal program as of the fall of 2011. “Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of children,” said the Census Bureau, “lived in households that participated in at least one or more of the following government aid programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Medicaid, and the National School Lunch Program.”
Why the sanctions on Iran are not at all like the US embargo on Cuba
Almost as soon as president Obama announced the start of normalization of relations between the US and Cuba, the question was raised: Why not do the same with Iran? The chorus has only grownsince then, with the most plaintive appeal coming from two members of the National Iranian American Council. Parsing Obama’s televised speech, Trita Parsi and Ryan Costello argued, “If it’s true on Cuba, it’s true on Iran.“
Except, of course, it’s not.
Whatever the merits of easing the embargo on Cuba, any parallels with Iran begin and end here: both countries are run by tyrannical regimes that routinely oppress their own people. Beyond that, the two are very, very different—and the Obama administration’s approach to US sanctions should be, too.
Consider just a few important distinctions:
With Cuba, the embargo was ineffective because the US was the only country to impose it: the Castro brothers were able to do business with the rest of the world. This enabled their repression, and—more than the embargo—has kept Cubans in poverty. But the US is far from the only country to feel threatened by the regime in Iran, and it is no coincidence that the sanctions against Tehran are either enforced or endorsed by many nations that had no qualms against trading with Havana.
Cuba has a history of supporting Leftist insurgencies in many parts of the world—it got on the US State Department’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism two years before Iran—but it has recently been unwilling or unable to continue this type of support. The Iranian regime, on the other hand, actively and enthusiastically supports terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as Shi’ite groups engaged in sectarian civil wars in Iraq and Yemen. This activity has increased since Hassan Rouhani became president.
The Castro brothers do some artful bombast, but they are not threatening to “annihilate” any country or people—something Iran’s leaders do routinely.
Cuba’s communist government did once try to get its hands on nuclear weapons—or, more accurately, tried to allow the Soviet Union to install them on the island. That was in 1962, and it precipitated the Cuban missile crisis. Iran, on the other hand, was caught trying to build nuclear-weapons technology as recently as 2002, when its secret facilities at Arak and Nataz were discovered. Thereafter, under pressure from the US and the international community, the Tehran regime backed down from its policy of developing dual-use nuclear technology (for energy and weapons) and promised not to build bombs.
Under the pressure of sanctions, Iran’s regime has since for the most part kept that promise. But that is an argument to maintain the duress, not remove it.