I'm always confused when I hear people flatly deny the existence of strategic and pointed efforts aimed at stripping God out of society. These naysayers, including comedian Jon Stewart, often snicker when they hear terms like "War on Christmas," seemingly dismissing claims that there is a concerted effort to diminish the holiday's pertinence and importance in the modern-era.
They argue that Christmas is alive and well and that there's no real threat to the revered holiday. Sure, that latter part may be true. At least in our current culture, the religious meaning of the day still stands for a great many Americans.
And there's certainly no immediate danger of Christmas being stripped away from the calendar -- but that has absolutely nothing to with with the validity of claims that there's an orchestrated "War on Christmas" (I only use Christmas, because it's the most obvious example).
I'm a journalist. I write daily about patterns unfolding in faith and culture and one of the most common themes and subjects I encounter is the secular movement and its grievances over perceived violations of the separation of church and state.
For better or for worse, secular activists regularly target, threaten and sue local communities over nativities, crosses and other religious elements that they say have no right on government property. This isn't an opinion; it's a fact.
These attacks are absolutely strategic -- and they are, many times, carried out by atheist groups intent on imposing their will (or stopping the will of others from being imposed) on local communities across America (they'll argue that they're protecting the rights of non-believers, but the merits of that argument depend on the scenario).
These national groups have a pointed interest and they seem to follow a specific blueprint. During the Christmas season they've been known to target religious displays and faith-based songs in public schools; during other parts of the year, prayer among high school football teams, to cite one example, seems to be the target.
Atheists often targeting the very life vein of the culture, which is why there's usually such a big reaction when opposing sides clash over the First Amendment.
Many communities are finding themselves in a tough spot. And in some cases bizarre, troublesome and questionable regulations and mandates are going into effect simply because activists would rather sue than see a nativity placed on a courthouse lawn.
And those snickering and claiming that these strategic blueprints don't exist and that these efforts to diminish a holiday's prevalence are figments in the minds of the communities forced to waste money on frivolous lawsuits -- well, they're only kidding themselves.
That said, it's important to note that not every constitutional complaint coming from atheist activists is pointless or worthy of ignoring, as there are times in which church and state do improperly impede upon one another.
But there's a "War on Christmas" and, most certainly, a "War on Religion," though I've personally soured on using battle terminology to categorize sociopolitical debates. Logic and a good look at the facts shows that there's a calculated, funded effort to target any and all potential collisions of church and state; sometimes these efforts simply go too far.
No doubt, intimidation and the threat of expensive legal battles drives much of it.
Saying "there's no 'War on Christmas'" is intellectually dishonest. Just as strategic forces work in this country toward common goals like maintaining traditional marriage or legalizing marijuana, so do many atheist activist groups work to secure a more secular world.
Dismissing what's unfolding and laughing it off doesn't change the truth. Why not just be honest about what's actually happening?