by David Chilton –
Every year about this time, there rises a hue and cry about the “commercialization” of Christmas, accompanied by impassioned pleas to get back to the “real meaning” of the celebration. Too much time and money, we hear, are spent on the public side of the holiday — the hustle and bustle of shopping, the lavish decorations, and the often insincere displays of seasonal piety. Meanwhile, the true spirit of Christmas gets left behind. Some even argue that all public displays of Christmas are inappropriate.
Every Christmas season seems to spawn a new series of lawsuits charging that the First Amendment is imperiled by the appearance of manger scenes on civic property, or by the singing of carols by the local high school choir. I recall hearing a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union claim that the very message of Christmas itself was being violated by any public recognition of its existence. What we need, he said, is to remove Christmas from public life completely, and allow it to become once again a private, personal expression of religious sentiment and family values. [Read more...]