The War on Christmas

Jesus Image

As those of us who are Christians enter into the Christmas season, I respectfully request that fundamentalist Christians cease with their “war on Christmas” rhetoric. I also really don’t want to hear their “let’s put Christ back into Christmas” mantra either.

To declare that there is a “war on Christmas” or that we need to “put Christ back into Christmas” requires that we have some sense of who Jesus was and what the core values were that he stood for in his life and through his death. This understanding seems to be of little concern to the fundamentalist Christians who have declared such a “war on Christmas” exists and who proclaim that “Christ needs to be put back into Christmas.”

For there to be a war on Christmas means that there is something happening in our society that is at war with the way of Jesus. in this sense, I actually agree with fundamentalist Christians in America that there is war on Christmas and that we need to put Christ back into Christmas; but the war on Christmas is being waged primarily by fundamentalist Christians themselves rather than the non-Christian others whom fundamentalists so readily condemn.

There is a war on Christmas when fundamentalist Christians use the Christmas story to justify child molestation. Christ needs to be put back into Christmas when fundamentalist Christians reject the migrant and refugee.

There is a war on Christmas when fundamentalist Christians embrace Herod-like authoritarianism rather than the way of love and justice that so often comes to us through a child. Christ needs to be put back into Christmas when fundamentalist Christians reject people of other cultural backgrounds and faiths instead of accepting the gifts of those who come from afar.

There is a war on Christmas when fundamentalist Christians want to build walls of separation rather than bridges of community. Christ needs to be put back into Christmas when fundamentalist Christians celebrate corrupt wealth and power instead of looking out for the poor, the sick, the naked, the hungry, the thirsty, the imprisoned, and the lost.

There is a war on Christmas when fundamentalist Christians put their faith in the instruments of war rather than the ways of peace. Christ needs to be put back into Christmas when fundamentalist Christians support torture and execution.

There is a war on Christmas when fundamentalist Christians support policies and practices that harm the Beloved Community of all creation and threaten the future of human civilization. Christ needs to be put back in Christmas when fundamentalist Christians refuse to support the civil rights of all persons. Yes, there is a war on Christmas, and yes, we need to put Christ back into Christmas.

This Christmas season, as we reflect on the very real war that fundamentalist Christians are waging on Christmas and on the way of Jesus in this world, may we all remember that Jesus was a Middle Eastern person whose family spent his early years as a refugee, a person who called on his followers to work for justice and to be peacemakers, who lifted up people of other faiths as examples of God’s love and justice in the world (the Samaritan), who called on us all to care for the most vulnerable, who taught us to love our neighbors and our enemies, and who was tortured and executed by the governing authorities. If we are to end the war on Christmas, we must follow this way of love and justice, this way of peace and sacrifice. If we are to put Christ back into Christmas we must once again open our hearts to the Middle Eastern refugee.

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About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is The Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. From 2009 to 2015, Mark was dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences and Wimberly Professor of Social Ethics at Oklahoma City University. Previously, Mark was dean of the Wimberly School of Religion at Oklahoma City University and Founding Director of the Vivian Wimberly Center for Ethics and Servant Leadership. Prior to becoming dean of the Wimberly School of Religion in 2002, he was associate dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University and chair of the department of philosophy. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University.
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5 Responses to The War on Christmas

  1. Molly Brownstein says:

    Beautifully written, Sir.

  2. Sharon says:

    Brilliant and true.

  3. Dale Tremper says:

    Thanks, Mark. Enough of war rhetoric entirely. The Prince of Peace asks us to lay down our arms, to cease our warring ways and to make peace with one another and be about the eternal business of healing our wounded hearts and our wounded world.

  4. kertsen says:

    Beautifully and forcefully put and we can add that Christmas in the secular world should also be a time for us to rethink our lives and our endeavours , it has redemptive power when we see it for what it commemorates.

  5. Hi Mark, Great post as usual. I ran across an article in the Washington Post the other day that adds to the historic level of this rhetorical debate. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/12/01/the-war-on-christmas-predates-trump-and-fox-news-by-almost-400-years/?utm_term=.9ad0da88cade

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