Earlier this week, an article by Todd, Starnes appeared in FoxNews.com, entitled, “Might offend non-Christians? Man told to remove Christmas display.” And, with that, the Christmas phase of the culture wars has officially begun.
The article purports that Jeremy Morris, of Hayden, Idaho, has been ordered to take down his Christmas decorations, which include a live camel named Dolly, by the attorney for his home-owners association because, “ … some of our residents are non-Christians or of another faith and I don’t even want to think of the problems that could bring up …”
In response, Mr. Morris claims, “Their real agenda is to attack Christians.” A claim with which Starnes and the editors of Foxnews.com seem to agree, and wish to broadcast as their idea of sharing with readers the message of the love and peace of the Christmas season some three whole weeks before Thanksgiving.
The Starnes Article Can Be Found Here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/11/03/might-offend-non-christians-man-told-to-remove-christmas-display.html
Me, I nominate the whole bunch – Starnes, the editors of FoxNews.com, Morris and his home-owners association – for the “Stupid is as Stupid Does Award” for November, 2015.
First, Mr. Morris’ qualifications.
Christmas decorations have nothing to do with Christianity and the Christmas spirit. Most of this stuffed was borrowed from pre-Christian celebrations – Chanukah lights, Saturnalia gifts, Germanic yule logs, Celtic mistletoe.
For Christians, Christmas should be the celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth – the one whom Christians believe redeemed humanity from sin by sacrificing himself to a horrible death by crucifixion. The Christmas spirit is about God’s love for mankind and an annual reminder that humanity love each other as brothers and sisters.
You’ll note, there’s nothing in there about the gross wattage required to illuminate the lights, pinwheels, waving Santas, not-too-tiny reindeer and various other contraptions and contrivances with which some ostentatious morons wrap their houses in order to draw attention to themselves. In fact, I suggest such displays are performed not out of “Christmas Spirit” but out of self-aggrandizement – pride – the seminal sin of the deadly seven of Christian penitential theology.
What Mr. Morris has constructed is not a display of genuine Christmas spirit, but a gargantuan and grotesque nuisance with an overly-commercialized Christmas theme (if such is possible in this day and age).
This man’s neighbors are not only sleep deprived from having to live where there’s no darkness at night, but they also have probably developed SEW, “spasmodic eye winking,” from the blinking, shining, flashing and twinkling lights that dominate every minute and every second of the hours of darkness.
Then, there’s Dolly the camel!
So, Mr. Morris’ homeowner’s association is spot on with its observation that, “Your event will be offensive to the senses and will interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of your neighbors’ private property rights.”
Then, there’s the issue of the bustling throngs, who invade the neighborhood to experience Mr. Morris’ quasi-Christmas carnival. Traffic, noise, litter … this sounds like it’s as much fun as living across the street from Wrigley Field during a Cubs’ game … without the joy and delight of some drunken yahoo urinating on the lawn … maybe.
So again, the home owners association, “Your planned event will be a nuisance to the entire neighborhood.”
Then, there’s the attorney for the West Hayden Estates First Addition Homeowners Association, Mr. Scott Poorman (esquire, I guess), who actually connects Mr. Morris’ Christmas display to offending non-Christians.
The last time I looked, the freedom from being offended is not a constitutional right, while the freedom of expression is. Mr. Poorman is trying to use the alleged authority of being an attorney, not to interpret law but to allude to potential aspects of political correctness.
Unfortunately, Mr. Poorman’s lack of judgment in the wording of his complaint, gives the culture warriors on the right the opportunity to defend and to prop up a gross public nuisance as a reasonable display of Christian faith.
Which brings us to Starnes and FoxNews.com.
Get a clue, folks! This isn’t news! It’s not even reasonably informed opinion! It’s propaganda!
Starnes and Fox News is stirring up the conservative Christian right coming into an election year. The article is a fabrication of another horror story relating how snide and malicious “secular progressives” on the left are attacking the constitutional freedoms of religion and expression under the guise of offending others.
There’s enough genuine anti-Christian sentiment in the world today that you didn’t have to distort the homeowners association’s quite justifiable objections to a nuisance into an anti-Christian jihad.
This warped rhetoric does damage to a serious issue, the disparaging of Christians and Christianity in the social space, in much the same way the “global warming” janissaries harm reasonable efforts to protect the environment, the “Obamacare” zealots on both sides of the aisle harm efforts to reform healthcare, and the NRA fanatics destroy reasonable efforts to manage guns.
Mr. Morris defends his spectacle saying he uses the Christmas display to raise money for the families of cancer patients as well as a local organization that helps homeless children.
Bravo, Mr. Morris! That is the Christmas spirit as I understand it!
Here’s what I suggest.
Show your Christian love of neighbor. Give up your extravagant, holiday self-aggrandizement. Take down all the lights, Santas, reindeer, Ho-Ho-Ho machines, and jolly snowmen. Let Dolly the Camel spend her holidays in a nice, warm barn.
Contribute the money you save on electricity to your worthy causes.
You could even take up a collection with your neighbors! If they refuse to contribute, threaten to put the stuff back up!