Southern Baptists raise “Christmas war” cry in summer
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.