This article is from the Kansas City Star 12/23/05. Emanuel Cleaver II represents Missouri's 5th Congressional District of which I reside, he also is Senior Pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City Missouri.
I generally agree with this opinion by Rev. Cleaver... any thoughts?
[u][b]Christmas needs no protection in House[/b][/u]
By EMANUEL CLEAVER II Special to The Star
The leader of the congressional move to protect Christmas is a good and decent person whom I have come to respect and value as a faithful member of the weekly congressional Prayer Breakfast, which we both attend.
I clearly understand my colleagues immaculate motivation in sponsoring a House resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected. (The House passed it 401-22.)
I must disagree theologically with the case of need.
First, those who began the ridiculous public promotion of holiday trees instead of Christmas trees were unnecessarily throwing rocks at a hornets net. Leave it alone. They are Christmas trees.
Likewise, it is appropriate during the Advent season for Christians to greet each other with a cheerful, Merry Christmas. It is also appropriate to respect those whose faith traditions are different.
Make no mistake, however. Christmas is not under attack. The baseless fear that somehow so-called political correctness is a serious threat to Christmas is bad theology.
Christianity is a religion that harbors no fear. Faith is the first and foremost focus of this Abrahamic religion, and faith is the antithesis of fear.
If we really have faith in Christmas and its biblical meaning, then nothing earthly can threaten it, not even the greeting Happy Holidays.
As best as I can determine from studying the writings on the Nativity in the Holy Writ of my religious tradition, the Lord did not seek an earthly vote before sending his son into the world and does not need a congressional vote to protect the symbols of His divinity.
Those of us in the House have no jurisdiction in this matter. The most productive and protective thing that Congress can do for Christmas is to leave it alone.
My vote of no on this resolution stands as my refusal to participate in this unintended but very real and shameful sham battle.
To be sure, the frantic flurry and tinseled tumult of the contemporary Christmas season has clouded its true meaning.
Nevertheless, it is here to stay. Time cannot erode it, skeptics cannot ignore it, and Congress can neither reject it nor protect it.
Understand this: If Congress has the power to protect Christmas, it stands to reason that is also has the power to dismiss it. I refuse to allot Congress that power, and for sure, God is not amused.
The true expression of Christmas is not a sign, song or symbol. It is a celebration of the believers faith in the Incarnation.
In our multicultural society, we should remain mindful and respectful that Christmas is not a festival for all faiths. Jesus was demonstrably tolerant of other cultures, and therefore the celebration of his birth should provide comfort for his followers and cause them to do the same.
Finally, Congress must tame its instinct to legislate culture-religious courtesies.
It has neither the standing nor sophistication in the ecclesiastical.
Merry Christmas to all at Sermon Index!!