Rick Wagner Column December 26, 2009

'War on Christmas’ part of cultural battle over individual rights

I hope everybody had a merry Christmas. I also hope we didn’t offend anybody by even saying that, since we seem to be in the middle of a culture war where just wishing somebody “Merry Christmas” seems to be a shot across the bow for some folks.

We all know there is a lot of discussion about a “War on Christmas” and most of the time it seems like just another attempt to chip away at traditional America by a bunch that thinks we stink and places like Cuba are the cat’s meow.

But there’s more to it than that — and it’s probably worse than that — since at its heart is an attempt to get at the spirit of our republic. It has less to do with antagonism toward religion and more with clearing the decks for removing a few of those pesky rights from individuals and awarding them to the state.

There are always those people who find objections to a religious movement on the grounds that religion has hard and fast rules about human behavior. Some even think certain things are just right or wrong, and that’s very upsetting to those that want their lives graded on a curve.

However, this group is small compared to those who want to remove the underpinnings of religion from the creation of our government and most importantly, as the source of our individual rights.

The idea that human rights aren’t the gift of some legislative body or great leader, preserves them from overreaching by an authoritarian government, since government can’t truly take away what it never had the power to give. 

This isn’t much of a revelation, as anyone with an eye for history can see that the first act of
almost every authoritarian government is to crush or subvert the dominant religion.

It’s also apparent that removing the spiritual side of a society inevitably destroys the will of the people to act for a common good and undermines any legitimacy of the government.

Efforts to substitute more earthbound types of worship quickly fall apart without some connection to the eternal. Maoism, Titoism and Stalinism are pale substitutes for the golden braid of creator and creation, over which the institutions of man have limited control.

We also see that over time, cults of personality — with really big pictures of the leader — eventually are cast aside as it seems man is pre-wired to seek direction from something outside of himself.

As many people during the ’60s and ’70s discovered, waving a little red book of Chairman Mao’s quotations becomes less impressive as the prophet is eventually found to be a confused man with bad teeth.

But now we arrive at the modern environmental movement, which has long since shed its concern for preserving a livable and well-managed environment and evolved into a religious experience where Al Gore’s global-warming zealots and earth goddess/Gaia worship are two sides of the same coin.

I have to admit it is a bit of a masterstroke to substitute something that comes so very near to the religious experience it hopes to replace.

The Earth, to short-term inhabitants, seems eternal and nurturing. It is a small step to believe it is animate, mysterious and fragile.

It also can be seen as quick to anger and surprisingly delicate for something that’s been around for almost 5 billion years. We’re also told that it can wipe us out in myriad ways if we transgress the teachings of its priests.

But the Earth goddess doesn’t award us any rights and, if you believe some in the environmental movement, she finds our existence irritating. For people in the radical environmental movement, there are many requirements to keep her happy that can only be satisfied by drastic and persistent state action.

And if this involves trampling on individual rights, well that’s a lot better than making the Earth mad. Under this thinking, your rights come from the government anyway, not from any supreme being. 

In the end though I’m pretty sure this faux religion is doomed for the same reason as its predecessors, whose practitioners failed to learn that any deity that exists only to be appeased, is just another golden calf.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong, which can be reached through the blogs entry at GJSentinel.com.


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