Reader Feedback 01/03/2006

 Our recent article "Christmas Warfare" is still soliciting reader feedback, this time on other readers' comments and our own. This is the second (and last) round of feedback on this topic--we're sure we could drag this issue out some more, but we think it better to move on. [As usual, letters may be edited for length.]

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Just to throw gas on the fire... The only noteworthy person whose birth date is on 25 Dec is Isaac Newton. His impact on the world has been, if not as great as, certainly very close to that of Jesus'. My parting message for Christmas break to my (I teach HS Physics & Math) students is "Happy Newton's Birthday"... I hope it was for all.

(Dave W.)

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I was somewhat taken aback by the amazing coincidences between Christianity and the gods Mithra and Horus mentioned in the last letter, but I figured there must be more than meets the eye, or else Christianity would have suffered the same descent into obscurity as the Egyptian and Mithraic cults.

I found a lengthy counter-argument at http://www.christian-thinktank.com/copycat.html and thought it worth mentioning. The gist of it is that this historical criticism of Christianity doesn't bear up under more detailed examination. An alien who lands on our world will find many similarities between humans and apes, but he must use scientific methodology to determine whether those similarities are meaningful, and then go about determining which came from which.

(Kevin L.)

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This reader feedback . . . was better than the pre-Christmas message. I'll save it and forward it next December as people would be better served reading this before Christmas, Mithras, The Holidays, or whatever people wish to call that time of year.

(Chris L.)

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This is too huge a subject to address in a few lines so I will confine myself to Washington and Jefferson. Are you aware that Washington kept a prayer journal? Even a cursory examination of same reveals clearly and unequivocally that Washington is a Christian.

Jefferson, who was challenged upon occasions by Abigail Adams regarding faith, described his position in a letter to her towards the end of his life. Paraphrasing somewhat, he said I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

If anyone doubts the Christianity of the nation's founders, I would challenge you to read the various state constitutions. You will be surprised.

(Bob A.)

[Ed. Note: Jefferson professed to be an admirer of Jesus Christ, but not a follower as in "believer." In his letter to William Short in 1820, Jefferson stated:

"That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore. But that he might conscientiously believe himself inspired from above, is very possible. The whole religion of the Jew, inculcated in him from his infancy, was founded in the belief of divine inspiration. The fumes of the most disordered imaginations were recorded in their religious code, as special communications of the Deity . . . Elevated by the enthusiasm of a warm and pure heart, conscious of the high strains of an eloquence which had not been taught him, he might readily mistake the coruscations of his own fine genius for inspirations of an higher order. This belief carried, therefore, no more personal imputation, than the belief of Socrates, that himself was under the care and admonitions of a guardian Daemon."


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The concept of separation of church and state, as currently expressed by liberals, is of 20th-century origin. The founders of the United States had no thought of erasing Christian expression from all public places, they only wanted to avoid a European style state church. That's why the First Amendment was adopted.

I would like to call your attention to a piece of legislation that Congress adopted on April 23, 1800. It was called "An Act for the better government of the Navy of the United States". . . .

Article II of this act reads: "The commander of all ships and vessels in the Navy having chaplains on board shall take care that divine service be performed in a solemn, orderly and reverent manner twice a day, and a sermon preached on Sunday, unless bad weather, or other extraordinary accidents prevent it; and that they cause all, or as many of the ship's company as can be spared from duty, to attend at every performance of the worship of Almighty God."

This act was signed into law by President John Adams, a deist. Adams was a lawyer by profession and had been actively involved in setting up the regulations for discipline in the Continental Navy during the Revolution, so assume that he knew about the contents of the legislation's Article II when he signed it into law.

In 1801, Thomas Jefferson came to the presidency with majorities of his party in both houses of Congress. He used these majorities to undo most of what Adams had done the previous year. He even reorganized the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, to get rid of Adams' last minute judicial appointees. Jefferson did not, however, modify the Articles of War.

George Washington, by the way, was an Anglican. He routinely attended divine service when he was in Williamsburg, during sessions of the Virginia House of Burgesses prior to the Revolution.

[Ed. Note: Quote from Rev. Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, NY, biographer of Bishop White, in his sermon "The Religions of the Presidents", published in the Albany Daily Advertiser, 1831.

"When Congress sat in Philadelphia, President Washington attended the Episcopal Church. The rector, Dr. Abercrombie, told me that on the days when the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was to be administered, Washington's custom was to arise just before the ceremony commenced, and walk out of the church. This became a subject of remark in the congregation, as setting a bad example. At length the Doctor undertook to speak of it, with a direct allusion to the President. Washington was heard afterwards to remark that this was the first time a clergyman had thus preached to him, and he should henceforth neither trouble the Doctor or his congregation on such occasions, and ever after that, upon communion days, 'he absented himself altogether from church.'"]


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I was surprised that your article about the "War on Christmas" didn't mention the history described by Michelle Goldberg in a recent salon.com article titled "How the secular humanist grinch didn't steal Christmas".

The gist is that the "War on Christmas" ploy has been used by people on the right before. Henry Ford accused Jews of it in 1921, and the John Birch Society attacked Communists and the United Nations for it in 1959. The new target is "Liberals," but it's the same old story.

(Dave J.)





Posted 01-03-2006 3:56 PM by Doug Casey