Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oy Hanukkah, Oy Hanukkah.

I wish there was something new to say about the whole "Winter Holiday" season of joy and stress, but it's all really well-tread territory. My struggle with Christmas growing up was hardly unique; different, yes, but only in details. The core story is one most Jewish kids would recognize. And, I'm sure, quite a few non-Christians of any stripe.

I saw this story on the God Blog today. To sum up: the Obama administration briefly considered not displaying a Christmas creche; the "community of social secretaries" - seriously - found out about this, and "emitted a collective gasp". This gasp was apparently a strong enough statement of public outcry that the White House will, you'll be glad to know, be displaying the creche.

I know there's a lot of gray area about what can be show without denoting religious bias, and frankly I guess I don't care too much about this one - slightly tacky - decoration. It was really the end of the article that got me.

Let me give another hat tip here to my friend Eric Metaxas, who, as a former editor of The Record at Yale University, knows a few things about satire, politics and culture. He is also the author of “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (but were afraid to ask)” and a bunch of other books. In his commentary at the Fox News website, Metaxas noted:

If President Obama wanted to fuel the fears of every serious Christian in America and actually prove that he is every bad thing they’ve ever heard about him on every crazy Web site, the idea of symbolically taking Jesus out of the White House at Christmas would be just the ticket! Let’s face it: “Brand Obama” dodged a bullet by not going forward with this terrible idea, but only barely dodged it. After all, the facts of the story are right there in The New York Times for all to see.

Amen. A highly symbolic close call, for Obama and other Democrats who want to stay in touch with ordinary American who frequent mainstream church pews.

I don't know what it was about this passage, but it left me feeling...betrayed. Or maybe it's more accurate to say "sold out". Like Team Obama said, "We know this might bother you, buddy, but we're going to do it anyway because it could gain us a few points in the polls". I know that's the core of politics...this one just felt personal.

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