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Why Are Rich People Afraid of the Virgin Mary?

Peggy Noonan

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Tolerating religious traditions.

Monday, December 29, 2003

We have all seen the stories this Christmas season--they are not new, they are only more so--of the local struggles between what I suppose might be called the forces of modernity versus the forces of faith. Tussles in schools and townships over the Christmas display, the prayer, the T-shirt, the cross, the statue of Mary. It's all a continuation of what Michael Kinsley once sardonically referred to as the crèche menace. But it has moved beyond the crèche: It is increasingly a movement to ban on all public property--and pretty much in public, period--the signs and symbols of a religious holiday that roughly 90% of Americans celebrate. It doesn't even have to be Christmas-related. Last week there was the story of the Florida housing group that banned a statue of the Virgin Mary from the front of a house in the community.

They are very busy, The Banners. They seemed to have calmed down after 9/11, when half the country exploded with spontaneously put-forward religious symbols (crosses, votive candles, cards with saints' faces), and it was somehow . . . allowed. Shock shook The Banners into reasonableness; tragedy concentrated their minds; they retreated. But now they are back, and it is the meaning and actuality of 9/11 that has receded.

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Opinion Journal website.

Posted 2-Dec-03



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