An interesting exercise in the hidden power of Christmas last week in suburban New York — in a town called Manhasset.
A Catholic priest was giving the invocation before the lighting of the town Christmas tree and he dropped the "J bomb." That's right, the priest had the audacity to mention — cover your ears, kiddies — Jesus Christ.
That caused an immediate ruckus. A city councilman took over the microphone and insisted the tree lighting was not a Christmas tree but a holiday tree and there was to be no religion in the observance of the lighting of the holiday tree.
Within hours the councilman ate his words with a knife and fork.
After the event with the kindly, old priest mumbling apologies for bringing up Jesus — whatever would make him think he could do that? — the councilman consulted legal experts and determined that the courts in the United States have never banned either Christmas trees, which are actually named Christmas trees, nor has the mention of the name Jesus Christ been banned.
I'm not naming the councilman here because he reconsidered his outburst, realized he made a mistake and immediately righted the wrong.
But he is exactly the kind of person I profiled in "The War on Christmas," my book which is out now and which details what happens when officials in this country decide they have to ban Christmas trees or Santa Claus or the colors red or green or, for that matter, the word Christmas.
After they do the banning they usually run into a buzz saw of public outcry and then they check out the law and discover they went to far, that the courts have never required such precipitous action against the Christian holiday known as Christmas.
It is always a mistake, and the person making the mistake always comes to grief about it.
The councilman in New York is just this year's example. We have already seen the banning of Christmas trees again this year in Bellevue, Washington, among other places.
And as I predicted in the book, the very next thing we're going to see is the banning of or the firing of Santa.
The funny thing about the war on Christmas is no matter how often someone makes this mistake, there is always someone else willing to make the same mistake again the next year.
That's My Word.
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