December 25, 2004 [LINK]

Merry Christmas to All!

... behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2: 10-11

May glad tidings of peace and goodwill toward all men and women be heard throughout the world, especially in Iraq, Sudan, and other lands tormented by hatred and violence.


"Stamping out Christmas"

There has been a lot of talk this year about the Christian backlash against the secular proselytizers who want to strip away every semblance of Christian belief from the public sphere. Donald Sensing relayed the curious discovery of Doug Petch, "that you can get a Kwanzaa stamp from the US Postal Service. You can get an EID stamp and a Hannukah stamp. You can even get a lunar new year Year of the Monkey stamp. But you can't get a Christmas stamp, just a Holiday Traditional one." See

As most people have become aware in recent years, the words "under God" were added to the pledge of allegiance in the early 1950s. Perhaps fewer people (only stamp collecting nerds?) know that the U.S. Post Office (as it was then known) began issuing Christmas stamps in 1962. Whether President Kennedy had anything to do with this is uncertain. Then in the 1990s the multicultural trend got going, and stamps for Hannukah, the Chinese New Year, and even Kwanzaa were issued for the first time. By disturbing coincidence, the first "Eid" stamp (honoring the Muslim feast day that follows Ramadan) came out in late 2001, just after the 9/11 attacks.

We are indeed a multicultural society, and our secular traditions are a major bulwark against the kind of factionalism that plagues countries like Iraq and Ireland. That doesn't mean that Christians should feel ashamed about expressing their beliefs in public, however. For many years American was too monolithic, and in recent years we have turned toward the opposite extreme of a normless "Babel." Hopefully, a reasonable balance between tradition and tolerance will be reached before long.