What's the Opposite of Progress?December 16, 2005
Congress, which has now joined battle over Christmas. Dark Christianity - Congress enters the War on Christmas
The House approved (401-22) a resolution "to protect the symbols and traditions of Christmas."
One congressman asked for symbols of Hanukah to be added to the bill, but the sponsor refused (so whose faith is really under attack—it seems that there is a holiday war but it is Christians who are waging it against Hanukkah). However, a couple of legislators did actually offer some words of wisdom:
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY): "There are people around who need an enemy at all times to try to separate us one from the other as Americans in order to advance their own agenda. ... To tell the truth, it is slightly offensive to see people trying to create a war and claiming they are attacked just so that they go on the offense instead of the defense. This is a prefabricated issue that has no merit. Nobody is attacking the symbols of Christmas. Are you objecting to our wanting to be included because the symbols of your religion are more important than the symbols of anybody else's religion in America? Or is it because you think that the symbols of your religion are more official?"
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA): "Madam Speaker, this resolution purports to protect the symbols of Christmas, but what really needs to be protected are not the symbols of Christmas, but rather the spirit of Christmas. The spirit of Christmas demands generosity and goodwill towards others. Instead of legislation that respects the spirit of Christmas, Congress in just these past few weeks has passed a budget that includes mean-spirited attacks on the least of us. For those who are hungry, we are cutting food stamps. For those who are sick, we are cutting Medicaid. For those who are in prison, we are imposing senseless mandatory minimums. For others we are ignoring increases in heating costs and cutting student loans. At the same time we are cutting those programs to help the least of us, we are cutting taxes for the wealthiest in society. Madam Speaker, we ought to express our passion for Christmas through deeds, not words; and we should not be distracted from our responsibility to uphold the spirit of Christmas as we consider the effects our actions on the Federal budget will have on the least of us during this holiday season. For these reasons I oppose this resolution."
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY): "For someone who does not celebrate Christmas, the question looms: Why? Why not say to someone who wants to make this inclusive that, indeed, we are going to make it inclusive? The symbols of Chanukah are not valuable? Sure, they are, I think. The symbols of Kwanzaa are not valuable to some? Sure, they are. I cannot imagine why the gentlewoman who is the sponsor of this, who says that she speaks from a sense of inclusion, would not want to include those. Are those not worthy of being protected? What is the message that is being sent?"