As our cultural war over God and Christmas went extra nuts this season, I held steadfast with my annual social greeting of Merry Christmas. I said Merry Christmas to each face that met my eyes. From the day after Thanksgiving until December 26, I extended this warm sentiment to friends, strangers, neighbors, and the casual passerby. Every year when the calendar flips to December the nostalgic feeling of Christmas brings the words Merry Christmas to my lips. Christmas tree lots and the delight of lights, sparkle, cookies, and cheer, elicit a Merry Christmas without thought. This is not something I need to run through my verbal filter or journalist mode for appropriateness before I speak; my intent is clear and concise. I want everyone I love, from family members to strangers alike, to indeed enjoy a Merry Christmas. In America, the winter expression “Merry Christmas” encompasses many things but the thread is joy, love, and freedom. Yes, freedom. When bright red poinsettias start scattering my horizon and cars gather reindeer antlers and a red nose and the scent of fresh pine greets me every time I open my front door, I feel my freedom. I am free to celebrate the spirit of Christmas because I have freedom of speech and separation of church and state.
True, Christmas is a Christian holiday but religion aside, December 25 touches people far and wide with the impenetrable notion of family tradition celebrated through one decade after the next. Christmas reaches deep down to celebrate the renewal of love. Christmas time honors familial customs that create cherished memories bonding families through generational space and time. The sound of silent night echoing in a darkened church amongst a sea of faces in the soft glow from the candles light, will always remind me I am human and not alone. “Merry Christmas” celebrates life and the hope for another year. It is another year for me as a sister, daughter, mother, wife, friend, and neighbor. It is another year as an American where my Christian fore fathers gave me the inherent right in freedom to say Merry Christmas. But “Merry Christmas” is not just about Christ; it is about what we share as human brothers and sisters. Christmas doesn’t see color or creed. Christmas does not see religion. Christmas sees the unity of love.
The Left as been on a ‘slow boat to China’ path to a secular society (our current President did not attend Church on Christmas Day) but I never would believe that Merry Christmas would have to be explained or defended. Thanks to liberals who profess freedom of speech for all except Christians or Conservatives or Heterosexuals or Sarah Palin, please allow me to explain.
This Christmas season my family members and I saw an original musical. Along with the Christmas spirit, we ended up being submersed in a hatred of God, faith, and all things religious. Whew! Let me tell you, the group behind the writing and producing of this Broadway musical The Book of Mormon exhausted their right to freedom of speech. I had been forewarned that the Toni award-winning The Book of Mormon was written by the creators of the cartoon South Park and was prepared for vulgar language and inappropriateness, for my taste. I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful dancing and sarcastic humor towards people that are happy with life. I expected a playoff on the multiple marriage scenario, but was I wrong. The chorus line of tap dancing and singing Mormon missionaries in hot pink satin vests was funny and entertaining for sure.
“We don’t want to go out and make a Broadway show that’s cynical,” Trey Parker said in a March 2011 interview. “The thing I love about musicals is sort of how happy and optimistic a lot of them are…that’s how a lot of them made me feel.”
I do not know what faith, if any, the creators of The Book of Mormon have, but I do know that Atheists think they are scary smart and of course smart people do not believe in God, because in their minds there is no proof. Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone know exactly what they created and why. They know very well their production reeks with the pure essence of cynicism, albeit containing several original snappy tunes and marvelous dancing. If they speak with honest intent and really believe their musical had people leaving the theatre light hearted, they need a reality check. I suggest they go sit in the audience and file out with the patrons who bought tickets and sat through the wonderful musical riddled with middle-aged men’s resentment towards faith.
I do appreciate the South Park imaginers and their portrayal of human fear to the unknown. It seems in their case that humor is much easier to swallow than living with the option of zero belief in a higher power. To Matt Stone, religion of all sorts is “silly” so he goes after believers with the guise of ‘entertainment’ as his purpose. And yes, there were many moments in which the musical was very entertaining. Still, there was a strong color of cruelty in their message. There was an underlying tone of anger at anyone who has a belief in God. The message of the musical reminded me of a handful of adults I have met through the years who are still pouting and quite resentful at others who have faith, because their parents made them go to church in their youth.
As my husband and I exited with the slow moving line out of the Broward Center for The Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, I perused the people. The crowd for this venue was comprised of prominent season holders, mostly older and probably wealthy, along with members of the homosexual community and Mormons. I found it humorous how easy it was to ascertain who was who, but no one was really laughing or jovial or remarking in awe of the musical. In fact the crowd was rather quiet. This is what struck me. It was like we were all in our heads, thinking.
The Book of Mormon fully represents freedom of speech and separation of church and state. What other country would allow this type of show to perform, much less win several accolades in the entertainment business? What other nation would possibly embrace the idea of a musical show touring the country while condemning their religious Patriarchs? In Italy, would they allow a catchy tune singing “F*** You Pope”? I think not. Would The Muslim Brotherhood Merry Dancers be profitable with a musical where the catchy melody is singing “F*** You Allah”? I think not.
Regarding bringing the kids to see The Book of Mormon, Trey Parker said, “There’s some hard-core stuff in the show, but it’s not worse than a lot of South Park episodes. We’re able to pretty much say when people ask, ‘oh can I take my kids to see this,’ we’re like, ‘do you let your kids watch any episode of South Park? If they say, yeah, we say, yeah, bring them.”
After reading his ABC interview, I have a heads-up for Mr. Trey Parker: He is way off the mark if he thinks South Park or The Book of Mormon are age appropriate for children. He apparently speaks out of both sides of his mouth because when it comes to his own 10-year old stepson watching The Book of Mormon, he feels compelled to “cover his ears”.
Our Christian Forefathers wanted separation of Church and State as a protection of religious freedom. Many confuse this fact and believe incorrectly that the United States has no religion. Separation of Church and State does not mean this. It means that the citizens of this country are free to choose a religion or not. It is the inherent trust that our government will not enforce Christianity or any other faith upon us.
So when it comes to my freedom of speech I have been saying Merry Christmas for as long as I could talk and I certainly don’t expect to stop, especially when it is okay and mighty fine to sing and tap dance to a tune where “F*** you God” is the chorus. In fact I have decided to say “Merry Christmas” all year ‘round. Now put that in your medicinal marijuana pipe…and smoke it.