Christmas: Freedom “From” Religion or “Of” Religion?

JackieLynn Wellfonder

JackieLynn Wellfonder is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. Her columns post weekly on Thursdays.

I don’t understand why those who believe differently than others spend so much time advocating that we shouldn’t infringe upon their beliefs, or lack thereof, yet choose to make brash and inappropriate statements.

Who steals a statue of Jesus?

“Made of white porcelain, the statue of the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” sat on a pedestal outside the rectory of Saints Peter and Paul Church for more than a decade. Now, the 1,500-person congregation is upset.”

Of course they’re upset, they have every right to be. Since the perpetrator hasn’t been caught, one can only speculate on whether stealing the statue so close to Christmastime was intentional. While the church has expressed that they aren’t interested in prosecution, they just want the statue returned. I certainly hope someone has a change of heart.

Then in Boston we have Christmas trees being stolen. I doubt this is an anti-Christmas statement — maybe more of trying to profit from someone else’s hard work. The kicker for me are the teenagers in Virginia who weren’t only bold enough to steal a nativity scene from a church, but apparently chronicled their adventure with pictures of them and the nativity.

Overall, we seem to be seeing a pattern of this behavior lately, and a supposed ‘War on Christmas’ as well. The news is peppered with articles of thefts such as the ones mentioned, as well as protests ranging from a Christmas tree versus a holiday tree, to whether one can take a field trip to see “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I truly admire and agree with Doug Giles sentiment expressed in his Townhall article:

FYI to the spindly atheists: You’ve got your work cut out for you if you want to scrub culture of its Christian influence because we have rubber stamped this planet via the arts and human expression for many, many moons. Have you ever heard of Bach, van Eyck, Vermeer, Handel, Mendelssohn, Haydn and a writer named Billy Shakespeare? What about the artists of the early Italian Renaissance or the tens of thousands of other artists, writers and composers throughout history who were either die-hard believers or at least worked within the framework of a Christian worldview? Are you going to take a belt sander to their works because they remind you of Hey-Soos?

If someone wishes me a Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, am I going to cry out in protest and offense? No, I will thank them, and wish them the same, even if it doesn’t coincide with my personal beliefs. Can we not be open-minded enough to allow everyone the opportunity to not only believe as they choose, but to express those beliefs? Are we too busy crying offense that we detract from one’s own cause of promoting religious freedom for all?

I tend to view things from the Constitutional perspective. Our First Amendment states the following:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Funny, I’m not reading freedom from religion, but freedom of religion. It seems to me that some of these protestors and anti-Christmas zealots have gotten that part confused.



  1. […] Christmas is certainly a brighter topic right? Apparently not for some. Read my contribution to The Brenner Brief this week about the ‘war on […]

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