Avowed atheist Karina Rollins (a former colleague of mine from my days at National Review) celebrates a faithless Christmas and rips leftist party poopers:
While Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas time, the holiday has developed into a Western tradition with many aspects–as faithful Christians lament–utterly devoid of religious content. Many devout Christians–some sport bumper stickers of Santa Claus crossed out with a big X–feel that for large segments of society, the meaning of Christmas has become watered down to a godless excess of presents, food, and glittery lights.
It has. Isn't it wonderful?
Atheists like me can go to church concerts to rejoice in the glorious music of the season, delight in picking out special gifts for family and friends, and wish everyone a "Merry Christmas."
But it's much more than a gorgefest with angel decorations. Just because atheists don't believe in a God in Heaven doesn't mean we can't embrace the Christmas message of brotherhood and peace on earth. While we don't believe in the supernatural, we can recognize Christianity's invaluable contribution to human love. That is worthy of celebration every year.
And while a handful of Christian evangelicals wants to ban Rudolph and Santa, my faithless Christmas celebration is in no danger from them. But it is in danger from the Left.
I agree with much of what Karina says, especially regarding the false equivalence between Christmas and Chanukah that results from patronizing attempts at balance and inclusiveness. But like other critics of "the war on Christmas," she conflates two meanings of public when discussing celebrations of the holiday. I too can enjoy the pretty lights without believing Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, and I have no objection to displays that are public in the sense of being visible to passers-by (aside from aesthetic complaints about some of the tackier tableaux). I'd just prefer that the government not pay for and sponsor displays celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (or the miracle of Chanukah, or whatever it is that Kwanzaa is supposed to mark). I'm not making a constitutional argument; I just don't think it's an appropriate use of public resources, because it's unnecessary, it forces one group of people to subsidize another's religious celebration, and it implies government endorsement of Christianity.
Again, I'm not saying this is tantamount to an establishment of religion and therefore unconstitutional–just that it's the sort of thing the government should not be involved with. Removing creches from city hall lawns and courthouse staircases would leave untouched the vast majority of public Christmas celebrations, since it would have no impact on how individuals, families, businesses, and private organizations choose to mark the holiday.
Given all the other things the government does that it should not do, I can't get as worked up about this issue as I used to. By the same token, I don't quite understand the passion on the other side. The claim to victim status of people like John Gibson and Catholic League President William Donohue–who talks as if Christmas is on the verge of disappearing even while declaring that 96 percent of Americans celebrate it–seems patently ridiculous to me. How do Christians manage to be persecuted in an overwhelmingly Christian country?