Ross Douthat re-introduces the concept of the embattled Christian at Christmas-time in the Times on Monday. In an effort to distinguish himself from his righter-wing “War on Christmas” brethren, he actually broadens the blame game. Christians are embattled not just by the liberal media and cultural elite, but also:
Their piety is overshadowed by materialist ticky-tack. Their great feast is compromised by Christmukkwanzaa multiculturalism. And the once-a-year churchgoers crowding the pews beside them are a reminder of how many Americans regard religion as just another form of midwinter entertainment.
So, if you are guilty of materialism, celebrating a different holiday, or not going to church frequently enough, raise your hand. You offend, fiend!
While Douthat goes on to recommend some books as gifts for the pious, these too are in the Christians-as-minority-under-siege genre. Bah humbug.
I just returned an hour ago from Disney’s Epcot Center, the height of materialist ticky-tack multiculturalism. Douthat would be pleased to hear that, for a minority under siege, Christians seemed to be doing pretty well there, judging from the sloganed t-shirts, the Christmas trees and Christmas carols (yes, the religious variety as well as the secular) and the gospel choir singing at center stage. I understand from my event guide that there were some Hanukkah and Kwanzaa songs and stories somewhere, but trust me--they weren’t easy to find. They were, dare I say, somewhat marginalized.
I suppose the Disney staff and park guests might not count--maybe they weren’t pious enough. I didn’t ask the carolers or the gospel choir or the Christian t-shirt wearers or the tree how often they had gone to church or if they really (I mean really) believed. But I can tell you this much: if you were a pious Christian at Disney today and you felt oppressed, your expectations defy reason.
Isn’t it enough to embrace the holiday spirit, to spend time with family, to enjoy the music and the hope of the season? It’s been a tough year. Republicans have already played the majority-victim card on behalf of whites, straights, even capitalists. Do they have to pull it out for Christians too?