Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

December 23, 2013

STUMPTALK: The meaning of Christmas

CROSSVILLE — Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870. It has been celebrated as a religious holiday in America for many years and as a secular holiday in all parts of the world even longer. The Puritan forces once canceled Christmas in England and it wasn’t initially celebrated in all parts of America. Boston actually outlawed its celebration from 1659 to 1681. However, Captain John Smith of the Jamestown settlement reported that all enjoyed Christmas without incident.

Recent discussions about how we should celebrate Christmas have often turned into arguments. The main reason for the arguments seems to revolve around the religious nature of some celebrations and the objections by some against religious celebrations and symbols of any nature in public places. Why should anyone care how someone else celebrates Christmas?

You have probably been told that Christmas displays of a religious nature on public property violate the federal Constitution’s prohibition against establishment of a religion. The First Amendment to the Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Most Americans are not aware that when this amendment was ratified in 1791, some states already had an established religion in their states and they were not required to change their state laws. The federal amendment did not apply to states and it does not say that a state cannot establish a religion; only that “Congress” shall not. Americans have accepted a Supreme Court opinion that, in my opinion, erroneously stated otherwise.

It’s a good thing that America’s form of government is not a democracy as many people declare. If it were then anyone who disagreed with the majority would either have to keep quiet or go somewhere else. That’s why we should start correctly describing our form of government as a Republic. In a Republic, the minority are permitted to exercise their individual rights and the government is not supposed to try to force them to go along with the majority even if our nation’s Supreme Court declares laws passed by Congress to be valid when those laws are clearly unconstitutional and enforcement will force the minority to comply with them. Everyone should become more familiar with our federal and state Constitutions since these documents cannot enforce themselves.

According to a recent Rasmussen Survey, more than two-thirds (67%) of Americans think that Christmas is more about Jesus Christ than about Santa Claus. That surprised me for the simple reason that more and more emphasis seems to have been placed on calling it a winter holiday lately. Even more surprising to me is that the same survey found that three-fourths (75%) of those surveyed believe that Christmas should be celebrated in public schools. If our government was actually a democracy, then all those who object to religious displays would have to participate.

Of course, to those of us who were born and raised in Tennessee, Christmas also means being with family and friends and helping others who are less fortunate. We enjoy and have come to love the beautiful surrounding that God provided here.

We recognize that Christmas is a time of giving and many of us believe that the best gift you can receive is the personal satisfaction of helping someone else enjoy his or her Christmas. We hope you will receive the best gift possible by having the opportunity to give of your time to help someone else have a better Christmas.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014