Liberty Institute, a religious-right group based in Plano near Dallas, is still screeching about the mythical “war on Christmas.” Here’s an excerpt from a fundraising email the group sent out on Friday:
I hope your Christmas was merry & joyful, because the hounds are snarling again.
The sad truth is that while you and I were celebrating, others were plotting. While we celebrate they look for “threats to their freedom” in every crèche and public Christmas tree, every religious carol and candy cane. In many ways I feel sorry for them. But when they are as angry and vindictive as snarling hounds that won’t be silenced, it sends me back to our rich religious heritage, the Constitution, and our court cases defending religious liberty.
Liberty Institute’s fundraising campaign — and raising money is what the mythical “war on Christmas” really is about for such groups — is based on a lie.
No one is seeking to eliminate “every crèche and public Christmas tree, every religious carol and candy cane.” Every person has a right to celebrate Christmas as he or she sees fit. Evidence of that freedom during the Christmas season can be found on a walk down almost any street in America, in visits to thousands of houses of worship, in simple greetings many wish each other as they go about their day, and in so much more.
But in the nightmare world imagined by groups like Liberty Institute — or, at least, the world they want their funders to imagine — celebrating Christmas is threatened by “snarling hounds” — you know, atheists, civil libertarians and the like.
There is, of course, an important principle obscured by such nonsense: that the Constitution bars government from favoring or disfavoring any particular religious beliefs over all others. That simple but key constitutional principle has protected religious freedom in America for more than two centuries. Indeed, it protects the freedom of Americans to celebrate Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Eid Al-Fitr and all other religious holidays throughout the year. And it protects the freedom of those who choose not to support any religious observances.
But Liberty Institute wants government to pick and choose which religious beliefs to favor. If you don’t — if you support the Constitution and its protections for religious liberty for all — then they call you a “snarling hound.” And they want you to be “silenced.”