America's culture war at Christmas is back, except this year fundamentalist Christians and Fox News didn't fire the first salvos.
Atheists and fundamentalists disagree about God but benefit from shooting at each other at Christmas, Parham observes.
Nope, by all accounts, the godless fired first on the God-believers.
Who knew that those who dismiss belief in God were so angry at those who practice religion that they needed to roil up the culture war in an aggressive and nasty campaign against Christianity in particular and theistic religions in general.
The American Humanist Association (AHA) announced in early November "a national multimedia ad campaign – the largest, most expensive ever by a godless organization," one that challenges "biblical morality and fundamentalist Christianity."
Selective biblical texts against women and for genocide are pitted against selected statements by humanists such as Albert Einstein and Katharine Hepburn. A few Islamic texts are also cited negatively.
AHA did not quote statements from one of the best known atheists – Joseph Stalin, a man with few peers in the pantheon of evil.
Of course, AHA condemns the literal reading of the Bible, except when AHA wants the Bible read literally – and negatively – in its ads.
Roy Speckhardt, AHA's executive director, said in the press release: "Humanists believe in and value love, equality, peace, freedom and reason – values that are comparable to those of moderate and liberal religious people."
Oddly, like the Christian fundamentalists who cite what they believe but often don't practice, Speckhardt offers a mirror image. He claims belief in freedom and reason, but doesn't practice those values in his ad campaign.
But AHA isn't alone in the godless drive against Christianity.
"Four separate and competing national organizations representing various streams of atheists, humanists and freethinkers will soon be spreading their gospel through advertisements on billboards, buses and trains, and in newspapers and magazines, according to the New York Times.
The Times reported that before Thanksgiving, the American Atheists plan to put on a billboard in advance of the Lincoln Tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York an ad about the Nativity: "You Know It's a Myth. This Season Celebrate Reason."
Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) had an "Out of the Closet" campaign in Madison, Wis., with signs on buses and billboards with slogans like "I like biking, baking & sleeping in on Sundays" and "I read the bible! Now I'm a proud atheist."
FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor told the Times: "We feel the only way to fight the stigma toward atheists and agnostics is for people to feel like they know them, and they're your neighbors and your friends. It's the same idea as the out-of-the-closet campaign for gay rights."
The atheists' out-of-the-closet, in-your-face strategy is as unlikely to win new friends and influence culture as the fundamentalists' strategy of crying anti-Christian conspiracy at the unveiling of almost every corporate marketing campaign at Christmas.
Atheists and fundamentalists disagree about God but benefit from shooting at each other at Christmas. So, here we go again.
EthicsDaily.com has now addressed America's culture war over Christmas for years. A 2009 editorial was titled Remembering Ricky Bobby's Word about Baby Jesus, while a 2008 editorial was titled War on Christmas Is Back, Thanks to Atheists and Christian Fundamentalists.
Pastor Mark Johnson wrote about the Christmas-tree hullabaloo in Kentucky in 2009. Pastor Jim Evans addressed the annual battle to save Christmas in 2007. Professor James Browning pointed out that there is no war on Christmas in 2006. Rabbi Jonathan Miller urged Christians to put Jesus back in Christmas in 2005. Pastor Mike Ruffin wrote about keeping Christmas in Christmas in 2005. Evans noted that Christians keep looking for Jesus at the Mall in 2005. Journalist Bob Allen covered conservative evangelicals who were fighting a covert war on Christmas in 2004.
What would Christmas be without a culture clash?
Hard to top the announcement at the birth of Jesus – "On earth peace" (Luke 2:14).
Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.
Editor's Note: Goodwill Christians may want to use biblically-based lessons on Advent this year. If so, click here.