A yuletide assault: The real War on Christmas has been waged by the Religious Right for years
Yes, there is a war on Christmas in America. The Evangelicals were right. The pulpit-pounding preachers were right. Franklin Graham was right. The Republicans were right. Donald Trump was right. Fox News was right. The Religious Right was right. Every single one of them was speaking gospel truth.
They have all been warning me for years, and I didn’t want to believe them, lest hopelessness set in — but the proof is unavoidable now and I need to confess they were right and I was wrong. I once was blind and now I see it clearly.
They told me Christianity was under attack here. It is. They told me Jesus was being rejected. He is. They told me a brazen mockery was being made of his birth. It is. They told me the Gospels were being perverted. They are. They told me decent people were being deceived. They are. The only thing they neglected to tell me in their bombastic, sanctimonious, sky-is-falling sermonizing, was the source of the offensive.
The brutal yuletide assaults haven’t come from Atheists or Agnostics, not from Humanists or Muslims, not from coffee franchises or the Liberal Media or Progressive Christians or the mythical Woke Mob. The very White Conservatives who’ve been loudly sounding the alarm, are the incessantly advancing hordes. They’re the only ones warring with Christmas because they’ve disregarded their own story.
Christmas is a child of Palestinian Jewish parents desperately fleeing politically ordered genocide. Christmas is a dark-skinned child, born amid the smell of damp straw and animal dung, because no human-worthy welcome could be found. Christmas is a poor, itinerant, street preaching rabbi, living off the generosity of those around him.
Christmas is a compassionate caregiver, feeding and clothing and healing whoever crossed his path. Christmas is a liberal activist fighting for the poor, condemning violence, shunning material wealth, and calling the world to live sacrificially for the common good.
The White Evangelical Church in America has no use for this Christmas. In fact, worse than that — it has open contempt for it.
Because this Christmas is antithetical to its arrogant supremacy. This Christmas is incompatible with its rabid Christian nationalism. This Christmas is counter to its ravenous capitalism. This Christmas is resistant to its closed borders and erected walls.
This Christmas will not consent to its heartlessness, its callousness, its myopic America First hubris. And this Christmas, is now hiding here in plain sight among the “least of these:”
It is the weary Mexican father of four taking refuge from ICE in a suburban church building. It is the terrified young woman having to traverse three states to have autonomy over her own body. It is the transgender teenager trying to feel at home within their own body, while being terrorized from without by lawmakers and preachers. It is the Ukrainian family trying to find some normalcy in the incessant assailing of their home.
It is the exhausted mother in Atlanta waiting for hours to cast her vote while being gerrymandered into silence. It is the homeless veteran starving to death on the corners of opulent megachurches who pretend to care for the poor. It is the grievously ill toddler whose parents have exhausted their resources trying to keep him breathing.
It is the young black man terrified during a traffic stop, because he has seen this viral body cam video a hundred times before. It is the poor, sick, hungry, and marginalized of this nation, who exist on the razor-thin line between living and dying.
This is the Christmas these professed Christians are assailing. And so this season, while they hide behind ceremonial religion, armed with recklessly wielded Bible verses, dressed in ornamental piety, and drenched in flowery prayers and sweet songs — these religious people wage their war on Christmas.
With every social media diatribe, every Tucker Carlson racist rant, with every piece of legislation, with every cell phone complaint to police, with every anti-immigrant, with every homophobic distortion, with every manufactured crisis, with every incendiary Sunday sermon.
White Evangelical Christianity as it is currently constructed in America cannot peaceably coexist with the Jesus of the scriptures; with the truth of the poor baby in the center of the Nativity; with the gritty, non-White, non-American reality of Christmas — which is why it is choosing to remove him.
We cannot let this happen. We who seek to emulate Jesus and guard humanity need to speak this truth. We need to oppose their perennial act of aggression and their annual victim rhetoric.
We need to fight for the sick child, the migrant family, the transgender teenager, the homeless veteran, the young black man; because when we do, we are perpetuating the heart of the Middle Eastern child, born under duress in the place where livestock dined — the one who turned the world upside down in the name of a compassion that knew no borders and a love that had no walls.
Yes there is a war on Christmas. The Right has chosen its side. And so must we.
The original version of this Op Ed was published on johnpavlovitz.com
John Pavlovitz launched an online ministry to help connect people who want community, encouragement, and to grow spiritually. Individuals who want to support his work can sponsor his mission on Patreon, and help the very real pastoral missionary expand its impact in the world.