By Jon Christian Ryter
December 31, 2005
It's hard to believe that an abysmal army of leftist lawyers could trigger such a tidal wave of anti-Christian sentiment that merchants on Main Street America would be afraid to wish their customers "Merry Christmas" out of fear of being sued by a Muslim, Jewish or atheist customer. While the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and several lesser known, unimportant anti-Christian advocacy groups started litigating issues that would somehow limit Christianity's outreach or would, in some other way, be detrimental to Christians, the liberal advocacy expanded to include attacking non-Christian symbols that are associated with Christian holidays—such as erasing the word Christmas from our vernacular because contained in Christmas is "Christ." Or, banning red poinsettias as a "religious symbol" because people buy poinsettias at Christmas.
Thirty Christian and conservative advocacy groups founded the ADF in 1993 to protect Christians from religious discrimination. In 1999 two girls were suspended from a middle school in Rochester, Minnesota for wearing red and green neck scarves and saying "Merry Christmas" in a school video. When the far left launched its attack on Christianity it pushed the throttle too far by telling hundreds of school boards and many of America's premiere businesses that they would be sued if they displayed any symbols related to Christian holidays. And, ever so slowly over the last decade, mainstream America began to erase Christianity from Main Street America. They were so adroit in how they did it that it took many Christians several years to realize what was happening and who was behind it. Even today half of the professing Christians in America believe the other half is making much-to-do-about-nothing.
But by Thanksgiving 1999, open warfare had erupted between the Christian right and the secular left as the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund lined up a "Christian army" of 832 lawyers—each of whom agreed to donate 450 hours—ready to take on school boards or city fathers if they engaged in anti-Christian practices. Joining the ADF this year was Matthew Staver's Liberty Counsel—and 700 more conservative lawyers willing to donate time. In 2003 the ADF took on over a dozen Christmas-related Christian persecution cases. The following year the ADF sent out 6,700 letters to school districts and municipalities advising local officials that the Constitution does not forbid public celebrations of Christmas. As the Christmas shopping season began this year, the ADF had already defended over 1,500 Christians who were threatened with lawsuits by civil rights activists.
Most mainline Christians don't feel its a big deal to say "Happy Holiday" or "Season's Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas." After all, they argue adroitly, it's not like Jesus was actually born on December 25. (Christians who've actually studied the history and customs of the Holy Land know that when King Herod called for a census, a census-taker did not show up at your door and take a head count. When Herod ordered a census, all of the Jews in the realm would return to the city of their ancestor's birth to be counted. For that reason censuses were taken during the summer when the nights were warm.)
But, while history does not record specifically when Christ was born (since it's His death and resurrection and not His birth that's important to the world), December 25 is the symbolic date that was picked by Jerome, one of the early church scholars on pagan religions, and Augustine, the founder of western Christian theology. As Christian disciples from Rome evangelized Europe, converting the pagans to Christianity, the Church fathers were faced with a dilemma—the converts continued to observe the pagan feast days.
Jerome provided the solution. Rather than fight with the new Christians and risk alienating them, the Church met them halfway. Rather than condemn them for celebrating pagan feast days Jerome, matched the pagan feast days with Christian "feast" events. To the Christian Church, the most important "feast day" was Passover—the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Several pagan feast days were celebrated during the spring equinox. The term "Easter" is Chaldean in origin But many of the traditions we observe around Easter came from the Druids and Anglo-Saxons. The Easter Egg appears to be almost universal, with most pagan societies observing rituals involving the egg. It is believed that the egg is symbolic of Noah's Ark
But, for our purpose, let's look at Christmas—or rather, the pagan feast day celebrated for hundreds of years before the birth of Christ on that date. In Egypt, the son of Isis—the goddess of heaven—was theoretically born on Dec. 25. In the Anglo-Saxon world, Dec. 25 was called Yule-day—or the "child's day." Yule is the Chaldean name for a baby, or "little child." In most pagan societies—long before the Christian era—a festival was celebrated by the pagans between December 25 and the what is now the first week in January. The date honors the birth of the son of the queen of heaven. Jerome and Augustine studied the pagan feast days and matched them, as best they could, with events in the Chrisitian church. When no Biblical event could be matched to a particular pagan feast, one was created. Slowly, over decades, the pagan feasts lost their significance as they were erased from the minds of the Christian converts, who began to observe the Christian holidays instead. Over time, the pagan feast days no longer existed in the memories of men—nor did the pagan religions. They were erased from the minds and hearts of their former followers.
This glimpse of history has not been lost on those who are determined to erase Christianity. Just as the Christian Church "erased" the pagan religions of Europe, the utopians believe their current effort will ultimately erase Christianity from the everyday lives of the American people. The early church fathers merely substituted Christian events for the pagan feast days. Over time, the pagan religions were simply erased from existence because the roots of those religions were simply cut off. When the taproot of the tree dies, the tree dies as well. Today, the utopian globalists are doing precisely the same thing to rid society of Christianity. Slowly, they are erasing it by disconnecting it from the symbols—both the holidays and everyday the practices (the taproot, if you will)—associated with Christianity. When—not if—the humanists get their way, public displays of Christianity will be banned, and Christians will not be able to practice their religious beliefs beyond the walls of their own homes. When that taproot dies, Christianity will die.
The ACLU knows if they can make people believe that government has the constitutional authority to tell them how, when and where they may pray—or not pray—then government will have trumped the 1st Amendment and it will be able to dictate religious belief in America just as governments in totalitarian countries do—as all of the governments in the world are now attempting to do.
Today, anti-Christian discrimination is everywhere. It's ugly, and its growing—and, sadly, when it happens, its ignored or downplayed by the mainstream media. When Muslim terrorists attacked four Indonesian girls with machetes as the girls walked to school, beheading three of them, there were no cries of outrage from the world press. On October 29, 2005 Theresia Morangke—age 15, Alfita Poliwo—age 17, Yarni Sambue—age 17 and Noviana Malewa—age 15, were attacked by six hooded men. The vicious machete blows beheaded three of the girls. Only the youngest, Noviana, survived despite a deep, ugly machete wound to the neck. Where was the protest? Buried in media rhetoric that merely noted that the Sulawesi province has a long history of violence between Muslims and Christians. A few days after the beheading, gunmen shot and critically wounded two other schoolgirls in the same area. Since 2000, over a thousand people—most of them Christians—were killed in religious clashes in Sulawesi Province. However, if Christian extremists had beheaded three Muslim schoolgirls on October 29, the story would have made banner headlines on the front pages of every major newspaper in the world. However, since it is now open season on Christians, there is barely a ripple in the media when such attacks occur.
Sadly, while the war against Christianity was launched by activist lawyers, it has been assisted in the United States by both State and federal governments—not the lawmakers, the bureaucracies. Chaplains in the US military are now feeling the brunt of discrimination. Civilian authorities in the Defense Department, feeling the brunt of the ACLU, ABA legal onslaught, have ordered chaplins not to invoke the name of Jesus when they pray. While the Pentagon insists that military policy allows any form of prayer, several chaplins have stepped forward to say that evangelical Protestant prayer is being censored by military "policy."
A US Navy chaplain, Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, was recently relieved of his duties because, he said, he prayed "in Jesus name." Klingenschmitt said when he was taking his chaplain's training at the Navy Chaplain School in Newport, Rhode Island, he was dismayed to learn that he was being "graded" on the political-correctness of his prayers. "They have a clipboard," he said, "and evaluators evaluate your prayers. They praise you if you pray just to God. But if you pray in Jesus' name, they counsel you." Retired military chaplain Rev. Billy Baugham, who is now the Executive Director of the International Conference of Evangelical Christian Endorsers said that Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic chaplins are likewise told not to pray in the name of Allah, in Hebrew, or in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
However, he pointed out, restrictions on other religious expression have not yet been tested. "No Islamic chaplain has been refused to pray in the name of Allah. Neither has a rabbi been rebuked for making references to Hanukkah. And no Catholic priest has been rebuked for referring to the Blessed Virgin." To date, only evangelical Protestants have been singled out for rebuke. When Klingenschmitt took his story to the media, a Navy spokesperson, Lt. Erin Bailey told the media in a press conference that the military allows chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Allah, or any other deity. It is only at public events she said that "...Navy chaplains are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of all those present. They may decline an invitation to pray," she concluded, "if they are not able to do so for conscience reasons."
On October 25, 2005 Congressman Walter Jones [R-NC] send a letter, signed by 71 members of Congress, to the President asking George W. Bush to "...protect by Executive Order the constitutional right of military chaplains to pray according to their faith." Since that date, the American Center for Law and Justice [ACLJ] has gathered over 160,000 signatures on petitions through its website.
The liberal American Bar Association referred to their strategy to defeat Christianity in 1989 as a nuclear weapon. It was more like an ugly cancer that began as an unsightly but largely unnoticed malignant mole that Christians chose to ignore. As it grew and the malignancy became more apparent, America finally become concerned. When the Christian community finally decided they needed to deal with it, the evangelical church discovered that its roots had spread throughout the entire body and it could no longer be excised.
But before we blame the ACLU, Christianity needs to look in a mirror. The United States is not, nor ever was, a theocracy. Nor was it ever a secular nation. We—the Christian community of the free world—allowed the political correctness of the Clinton years take root not only in America but throughout the Bible-believing world. We gave those who were attempting to merge all of the world's religions into a tepid Laodecian vision that is neither hot nor cold—nor theologically relevant—as we prepare the emerging global society for world government. With that world authority comes a world economy with a unified currency—and a world church that neither offends nor condemns. At that moment, the world will open its arms wide and greet Antichrist as its economic Messiah.
© 2005 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
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Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.
The liberal establishment has unilaterally controlled the philosophical slant of the US Supreme Court since 1937.