Public libraries ramp up Christmas culture wars

Over the years, Americans have watched the whitewashing and neutering of Christmas, at least according to its classic definitions, traditions and religious origins.

Consider these few examples from recent years.

Christmas songs that have played countless times each year during December are now being removed from airplay.

Case in point, the Christmas classic, “Baby, it’s Cold Outside,” which is about the cute and fun romantic reservations and excuses of a man who doesn’t want to leave his love’s apartment on a cold wintry night.

So, what’s wrong with this vintage 1944 classic tune? The Wall Street Journal explained, “Some radio stations refuse to play the Christmas classic over concerns its lyrics evoke [sexual assault,] date rape and coercion.”

If you think that’s excessive, consider what is happening with the 1964 television classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which has been aired to children and their parent’s delight every year on television for decades.

Most will recall the theme that Rudolph is initially frowned upon for his red-nose distinction until all the other reindeer realize his difference is actually a strength for Santa, them and the whole world. It’s a great moral and leadership lesson in esteeming the worth and value of others that are different than you. But not to everyone in our politically-correct world.

The Washington Post reported a few years ago that the liberal Huffington Post posted a video to social media about the television classic, calling it “seriously problematic.”

How? The video explained that Rudolph’s father “verbally abuses him.” In addition, the father of Rudolph’s love interest is called a “bigot” for forbidding his daughter from being seen with the red-nosed reindeer.

Many progressives want another holiday classic television show, “A Christmas Story,” to suffer the same fate, as critics say bullying scenes warrant its banning.

A few years ago, Fox News Insider reported on another Christmas bias in D.C.: “The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates the District’s METRO system, is being sued by the Catholic Church after turning down an advertisement: an illustrative ad depicting the phrase ‘Find the perfect gift’ under what appears to be the Star of Bethlehem and a group of shepherds.”

Most know the Christmas culture wars hit state-sponsored schools a long time ago. Public universities across the nation are now encouraging – or requiring – their students to make any and all holiday celebrations secular and “inclusive.”

Fox News Insider reported in 2017: “Campus Reform reported that the University of California-Irvine encouraged individual departments to ‘focus on celebrating a special occasion, instead of a specific holiday,’ suggesting a ‘year-end celebration’ or celebrating ‘seasonal themes such as fall, winter, or spring.'”

The guidelines actually read: “Ensure that office celebrations are not indirectly celebrating religious holidays. Display diverse symbols representing a variety of faith traditions along with secular ones.”

And remember this one? A few years ago, when the principal of the Omaha-area Manchester Elementary School in Nebraska sought to ban Christmas candy canes because the “shape is a ‘J’ for Jesus”?!

In a memo sent to all teachers and staff, Principal Jennifer Sinclair took her ban even further by outlawing the following list of Christmas items and practices as “not acceptable” in her school:

  • Using images of Santas or Christmas items on worksheets.
  • Trees in classrooms.
  • Elf on the shelf.
  • Singing carols.
  • Playing Christmas music.
  • Sending a scholastic book that’s also a Christmas book.
  • Making ornaments as gifts.
  • Reindeer.
  • Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies.

So, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the Christmas culture wars are now being ramped up in public libraries.

This past week, in Dedham, Massachusetts, one seasonal decoration that has been a mainstay in its public library for decades is missing this year: its Christmas tree.

According to WCVB (Boston), “The library’s branch manager posted her disappointment about the decision on social media, writing that she was told not to put up the tree this year because it made some people ‘uncomfortable’ last year.”

She responded on her private Facebook page, “I have never posted a negative post on Facebook. That is, until now. I found out today that my beautiful library will not have it’s Christmas tree this year. Zero explanation. When I asked, I was told ‘people were made uncomfortable last year looking at it.’ I’m sorry, WHAT? In my 28 years at the Dedham Public Library, I have never heard a negative comment.”

Forget the fact that the removal of the Christmas tree has made local library patrons and countless patriots across the country “uncomfortable” and even righteously angry. They all say what the library’s overlords mandated is more about being exclusive than inclusive.

“It’s just scary and I worry that it’s precedent-setting, that this will start to make other public buildings not display traditional holiday decorations,” said Kathleen Schortmann, a Dedham library patron.

“We come to this library, like, two or three times a week and especially for the kids’ books, and we like it. We like the Christmas decorations. We like the holiday decorations. I think it’s nice,” said another library patron Olga Babayan.

Speaking of kids’ books in libraries, actor and “Growing Pains” star Kirk Cameron also ran headlong this week into the Christmas culture library war with his brand-new children’s book.

The Christian Post reported Friday, “50 public libraries that host drag queen story hours rejected or ignored [Kirk’s] offer to read his new children’s book, ‘As You Grow.’ It is a fun story with brilliant art in which readers ‘Follow Sky Tree’s journey from a small acorn to a mighty tree that provides shade, sustenance, and lodging!'”

One library turned down Kirk’s offer to read because “our messaging does not align.”

So, what is Kirk’s “messaging” problem? His new book is a Christian book that celebrates family, faith and biblical wisdom, including truths about the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control. Such dangerous elements for kids, right?

Cameron told Fox News that children are being targeted: “This is proof that more than ever, we are getting destroyed in the battle for the hearts and minds of our children. Publicly funded libraries are green-lighting ‘gender marker and name change clinics’ while denying a story time that would involve the reading of a book that teaches biblical wisdom. How much clearer can it get?”

Why is it progressives are so hell-bent to fight for inclusion, until it comes to conservativism and Christianity?

The fact is, local libraries across the country have become a major political and cultural battleground for the American mind. They have become the culture wars’ next frontier, rejecting increasing numbers of conservative and Christian books and readers like Kirk Cameron, all the while pushing a variety of politically progressive and wke ideologies. There’s even a crusade to recruit increasing numbers of “woke librarians.”

What’s crazy and a complete denial of yuletide reality is that, despite the above evidence of a war on Christmas (and the host of other examples in communities across America), most progressives say the cultural battle is a fantasy and manufactured controversy of conservatives.

Americans disagree. In a 2021 November poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University found that nearly half of Americans believe there is an organized effort to “remove the religious elements of the Christian holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus.”

In 2017, Dr. Johann N. Neem, senior fellow (or lecturer) at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and a professor of history at Western Washington University, explained, “Certainly, court decisions have made it more challenging for public institutions, especially schools, to celebrate Christmas. At my children’s school, carols tend to be modern, secular songs, denying children access to some of the most beautiful historical carols because they refer to Christian themes and Jesus’ birth. Stores post ‘Happy Holidays’ signs, and one sometimes pauses when saying ‘merry Christmas’ to people passing. …”

Dr. Neem grew up in San Francisco, a location not exactly known for being a conservative Christian bastion. Nevertheless, here’s how he described the religious nature of one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. when he was growing up:

Growing up as an immigrant in the San Francisco Bay area, I was surrounded by Christmas lights, Christmas carols, Christmas parties and Christmas gifts. I was also surrounded by Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and people from many other faiths or none at all. And we loved Christmas. And we wished each other the merriest of Christmases. It was wonderful. We didn’t all celebrate Christmas. Some families, because of their faith, chose not to. But the magic of American Christmas was that its message was told both through the story of a particular baby born one silent night, and also was one that offered a shared and universal spirit of charity, forgiveness and love. No one thought you had to attend midnight Mass to share in our Christmas spirit.

And as far as the rest of the nation, Dr. Neem concluded: “We can’t deny that for much of our history, most Americans have considered theirs to be a Christian society. Christianity provided Americans a shared moral and cultural background. To pretend otherwise is ahistorical.”

That is why Dr. Neem deems our Christmas culture wars as representing a bona fide “civil war.”

Unfortunately, the left has been successful in wrongly convincing a majority of Americans (particularly younger generations) that our First Amendment rights of religious liberty and speech infer you can’t express them in the public square. Nothing could be further from the truth. The First Amendment secures your free expression and clamps down on overlords that would try to restrict or prohibit your exercise thereof.

Could the First Amendment be any clearer?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (italics mine).

America’s founders’ passion in creating the First Amendment reflects what George Washington once said, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Benjamin Franklin’s sentiment similarly echoed the passion of all our Constitution’s framers: “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

Our founders cry out from their graves for us to remember what they established – a nation free from tyranny and oppression, and endless in individual liberties.

Thomas Jefferson was particularly passionate and eloquent about anyone or anything suppressing our freedoms with these words that are now indelibly inscribed on the memorial in Washington, D.C., named for him. Whether regarding the prohibition of free speech or the dominance of religious sectarianism, his words apply: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility toward any tyranny over the mind of men.”

So have I. Have you? Do you know what ideologies your local library and librarian are pushing? Are they truly neutral or another bastion of progressive propaganda? Do you know what books, readings and philosophies are being marketed to local kids? Is there a bias against classic Christmas origins and traditions? A yuletide abandonment?

My fellow Americans, when free speech and religious (Christmas) expression is restricted or punished in the public square, we can be certain that we’ve drifted way too far from our roots. Isn’t it time we returned home to the U.S. Constitution? Don’t just fight for your freedom of expression – fight for others, too.

Have a Merry politically-incorrect Christmas!

Editor’s note: Update — Dec. 12, officials in Dedham, Massachusetts, announced that a Christmas tree will in fact be displayed at the public library this year.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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