Southern Baptists raise “Christmas war” cry in summer

June 11, 2008


Christmas may be six months off but America’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has signalled that it is gearing up to put the term back in the public arena.

America’s “Christmas wars” have become an annual spectacle — and for many a weary and bewildering one — pitting religious conservatives who want manger scenes in public schools and other public spaces against secular foes who feel that no religion should be promoted above others.

The Christmas wars reflect broader battles in a seemingly endless struggle for the American soul. Where does one draw the line to separate church and state? Is America a “Christian nation?”

Who really cares if a bunch of seven-year-olds put on a Christmas play for their parents? A Muslim or Jewish parent would be the answer from some quarters.  

Many Americans are probably not offended one way or the other but the country’s high levels of belief and church attendance mean such issues rile up significant sections of the population.

Enter the 16-million member SBC, America’s largest evangelical denomination and a bedrock of the country’s conservative establishment.

At its annual meeting which wrapped up on Wednesday it adopted a resolution “On Affirming the Use of the Term ‘Christmas’ in Public Life.”

“Secularism is a pervasive and aggressive movement in American culture to exlude religious institutions and symbols from public life,” the resolution reads.

It goes on to “… encourage Southern Baptists to be aware of and resist the march of secularism wherever it arises in opposition to the historic understanding of our freedom to worship…”

Thought America’s bitter culture wars were fading? Think again.

 With gay marriage back on the national political agenda and the explosive abortion issue lurking in the background of the November presidential contest between Republican John McCain and his Democratic rival Barack Obama, don’t bet on it.



We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I am not in the least surprised that the Southern Church is involved in aggressive coercion tactics.

The history of the so-called Christian Church is pitted with violence, aggression and pitiless persecution.

The Doctrine of Jesus Christ has been turned on its head by these bigoted, complacent and woefully anti-Christian people.

If they cannot follow HIS doctrine – how on earth can they represent anything good and holy?

Their blinkered, wilful and wayward ways are not edifying or justifiable under HIS teaching: they are a symptom to the intellectual chasm that afflicts many Southern Church members, and is principly centred on bigotry, hypocricy and an inability to follow the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Posted by The Truth Is… | Report as abusive

One can very easily draw the line between church and state at the door to a place of worship, Mr. and Mrs. Reader, and conversely at the door to a place of governance.

In the real world, there is a vast area that lies outside of these two doors. It is a low stress environment where many find their comfort zone. These are the many who neither vote nor worship.

America is a Christian nation if one is a Christian.

Secularism is not Satanism.

OK Jack

Posted by OK Jack | Report as abusive