Heidi Hall, The Tennessean
Nothing in evangelical Christian author Rachel Held Evans' five years
of blogging has gone as viral as her simple little flowchart to
determine if one is being persecuted during the Christmas season.
someone threaten your life, safety, civil liberties or right to
worship?" it asks. No. "Did someone wish you happy holidays?" Yes.
"You are not being persecuted," it says.
At last count, the post had attracted more than 700 comments, the vast majority in agreement with her.
it the backlash against the "war on Christmas" camp - a number of
evangelicals distancing themselves from those concerned that the
department store greeter said "happy holidays," that the Nativity scene
is gone from the local courthouse, that classrooms are hosting "winter
"God became flesh and lived among us, and if that's not
enough for people, I think they've missed the point," said Evans, who
lives in Dayton, Tenn., and wrote last year's best-selling book, "A Year
of Biblical Womanhood."
Still, the idea that there's a national
war on Christmas is going strong. Former vice presidential candidate
Sarah Palin's new book, "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the
Heart of Christmas," is at No. 14 on The New York Times best-seller list
for hardback nonfiction. "The 'war in Christmas' is the tip of the
spear in a larger battle to secularize our culture and make true
religious freedom a thing of America's past," the back cover reads.
The Fox News opinion site Fox Nation has a prominent War on Christmas page, inviting viewers to submit their own battle stories.
Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, was thinking about Christmas well
before the season arrived, introducing a bill last summer to assure that
students and teachers could say "Merry Christmas" in schools. He said
it was to protect them against the American Civil Liberties Union, which
responded by saying Campfield was addressing a problem that did not
Pastor urges peace
It's strange that folks
would argue about saying "Merry Christmas" in public when Jesus Christ
himself instructed his followers to make peace with religious opponents,
said Dan Scott, senior pastor of interdenominational, evangelical
Christ Church in Nashville. There may be extreme cases where Christians
in America face opposition for their beliefs, Scott said, but it's more
likely that some suddenly are realizing they live in a religiously
"We really need a way to treat the public square
as the public square and private realms as private realms and not feel
demonized because we come from a certain perspective," Scott said. "It's
not a very popular viewpoint these days."
Daniel Darling, vice
president of communications for the Nashville-based Southern Baptist
Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, addressed the
topic in the December issue of Homelife magazine, urging Christians to
be joyful instead of judgmental this season.
He said on Friday
that some media outlets are overstating the war on Christmas debate, and
very few Christians actually engage in it.
"We advise people
that, rather than trying to force that weary Wal-Mart worker to say
'Merry Christmas' against company policy, how about we be the bearers of
joy?" he said. "Instead of taking offense, say, 'Here's the story,
we're the joyful ones. We're the ones that have the greatest story.'
we really believe Christ is the reason for the season, we shouldn't
force people to say it. It should be evident in our lives."