Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Nina Totenberg

NPR’s Nina Totenberg’s recent offensive remark about Christmas (“forgive the expression”) would have had her fired had the network followed the same rules that saw Juan Williams’ contract revoked. But that is liberalism. Juan committed the unpardonable sin of appearing on Fox News, Totenberg did not. So she gets a pass.

The vicious attacks on Christianity by liberals usually peak at Christmas, one of the two most important celebrations for Christianity. Christmas is an easy target because it has devolved from a primarily a religious holiday, to a more commercial one. But even in its current form, it is a time of cheer, forgiveness and joy. It is when we enjoy happiness even in a time of war. It is when we wish peace to our enemies. It is when we sing carols and share our happiness.

I am not a particularly religious person. Only recently did I start regularly attending services, after a 50 year gap. I did it as much to please my wife as anything – but I also feel better for having done so. Last evening I attended a Catholic service, the religion of one of my daughters and her husband and their children. I felt as comfortable there as I do in my Episcopal church and as I do when I attend services at Congregational and Lutheran churches. As I sat through the service I thought about the recent attacks on Christianity and how trivial they are compared to past history. In Roman times, Christians defied lions in the Coliseum. They lived and practiced their religion in the catacombs out of fear of Roman reprisals.

Despite all of this, Christianity thrived and spread. It also survived in Soviet Russia, where the government refused the ordination of new priests and it survives in Communist China where it was banned and practiced underground until recently. Still it operates under restraints of the government. So a silly remark by Ms. Totenberg, or a suit to remove a crèche scene from a place used for dozens of years is insignificant. It reflects more on the perpetrator than on its target, Christianity.

In the spirit of the times, we all should turn the other cheek and wish these folks too can find the joy of the Christmas season. And with that in mind and in all sincerity, I wish Nina Totenberg a Merry Christmas.

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