It’s bad enough when a Muslim cleric states that one must not say “Merry Christmas” and that doing so is worse than “killing someone,” as an Islamic “scholar” I recently cited did. But then we have the people born into the Christian tradition who join the anti-yuletide chorus, albeit with a tad more subtlety (usually).
This is generally typified by those objecting to store employees wishing others “Merry Christmas” or to having Nativity displays on public property, but now we have a new twisted twist:
Some liberals are saying that the Virgin Mary was raped.
At issue here is a piece by one Valerie Tarico titled “Why rape is so intrinsic to religion.” Of course, while the title implicates “religion” in general, it’s no coincidence that the article was published just before Christmas. And the subtitle says it all: “Stories like the virgin birth lack freely given female consent. It's telling how ready we still are to embrace them.”
Perhaps more telling is how the anti-Christian Grinches are willing to embrace cock-and-bull theories that serve their ends. American Thinker’s Drew Belsky elaborates on Tarico’s thesis and then presents the obvious refutation:
Tarico lays out a series of myths from pagan traditions, mostly Greek and Roman, in which women are abducted, violated, and coerced. We have Danae, Europa, Rea Silvia ... and, what do you know, the Virgin Mary.
Notably, Tarico avoids using the same dire language for the Blessed Mother that she uses for the pagan myths: "[I]n the Gospel of Luke, the Virgin Mary gets pregnant when the spirit of the Lord comes upon her and the power of the Most High overshadows her." No "cutting" or "overcom[ing]" or "imprison[ing]" here — but it still, per Tarico, equates to Mary not "giving consent."
At this point, anyone with even a passing understanding of the Bible must be hearing alarm bells. That, and seeing a coruscating marquee that reads LUKE 1:38:
“And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.”
Even though Tarico does seem aware of the above quotation, she doesn’t let it get in the way of a good anti-Christmas narrative. Belsky continues:
[Tarico complains] that "Mary assents after being not asked but told by a powerful supernatural being what is going to happen to her[.]" Yet Tarico apparently couldn't be bothered to read the rest of the source she's citing:
"And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." (Lk. 1:46-48)
Yet while Tarico was busy trying to tear down the sanctified, another woman got arrested for tearing down the sacrilegious. That woman, 54-year-old Floridian Susan Hemeryck, tried to destroy a satanic display recently in the lobby of the Florida Capitol. And she brings me to the next topic: Our obsession with giving other “belief systems” equal time in public spaces during Christian holy days.
To understand how ridiculous this has gotten, consider the display that raised Hemeryck’s ire. As Fox News wrote, “The display, which shows an angel falling into flames with the message ‘Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple’ [sic], had been erected Monday as a satire by an atheist group to counter a nativity scene which had already been taken down.” Then consider that the display last year, as Fox tells us, “included a Festivus pole in tribute to a holiday created on ‘Seinfeld’ that satirizes the commercialism of Christmas and a display by the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, which mocks beliefs that a god created the universe and argues instead that the universe was created by a plate of pasta and meatballs.”
This silliness is enabled by misunderstandings of the Establishment Clause. As to this, it should first be noted that the clause does not constrain states. Rather, the First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...." (Emphasis added.) It says nothing about other levels of government, and, in fact, states had established churches at the time of our nation’s founding.
But even if one accepts the Theory of Incorporation — a legal rationalization applying the Bill of Rights to the states and allowing the trumping of their rights — it’s quite fanciful to think that the government’s erecting of a Christmas display at Christmastime constitutes an “establishment of religion.”
And how practical is our new standard that all conceptions of holidays, even one from a sitcom (Seinfeld’s Festivus), must get equal time? We could conceivably end up with 1,000 different displays in public spaces during a given holy day.
Also note the spirit behind these displays. Generally speaking and unlike Christians, the groups elbowing their way in to these public spaces don’t have holidays during this period. They’re simply like a person upset that someone else is having a good time and who insists on crashing and ruining the individual’s party. They weren’t planning a celebration themselves, but since you are….
And that’s also the point. The Christmas displays celebrate something, the birth of Jesus. As Fox itself indicated, however, the atheist and Satanic displays are designed to mock that celebration.
Free speech? In a government building, it’s more like the state sanctioning of hate speech. And let’s place this in perspective. Imagine that, in the name of equal time and free speech, the government decided to allow a KKK display in a public space alongside a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. on his day. Equal time, right?
Some will say this isn’t the same thing, but the only difference is the prejudices of the age: Impugning blacks is more than frowned upon — impugning Christians is in style.
The idea that anything and everything must be allowed in public spaces at Christmas, in the name of free speech and/or free exercise, is neither American nor sane. All it means is that under the pretext of not offending a vocal minority, we offend the out-of-fashion majority, twisting and perverting the Constitution in the process.