Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas in America: A Time to Be Grateful

This was originally posted in Eagle Rising.

As we celebrate Christmas in the United States of America, there is so much to reflect on and so much to be grateful for.

First and foremost, we should remember that we live in the greatest and freest land in the world, where everyone is free to practice their faith-whatever it may be. Our Christian brothers and sisters do not enjoy that freedom in many other parts of the world. As we enjoy our holiday, Christians in the Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, are huddled down or fleeing for their lives. A program of genocide is under way designed to remove the last vestiges of Christianity from the Middle East. In Egypt and Libya, things are scarcely better with churches being burned to the ground and children kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. In Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram wipes out entire villages and kidnaps young Christian girls for forced conversion and sexual slavery.

Meanwhile, here at home our universities, with rare exceptions, have been turned into places where expressions of Christmas (and Hannuka) are frowned upon as being "non-inclusive". Cornell has just issued guidelines banning crosses, menorahs, Nativity scenes, and Stars of David, but "allowing" trees and snow flakes!

Similarly, the university campus is the last place you will find expressions of patriotism and gratitude for the accomplishments and sacrifices of our forefathers. Instead, they are now condemned as racist, slave-owning white men whom we should not honor for anything. (No, I am not excusing slavery for a second.) America is described to our children as a racist, imperialistic entity that is to be blamed for all the ills of the world. Just this year, a professor at UC Irvine, where I teach, wrote an op-ed on the occasion of Memorial Day to trash our country and its military questioning why we should honor either.

Indeed, we should honor our servicemen and women on Christmas as we should throughout the year. They and the troops and veterans who preceded them have been the guarantors of our freedoms including the freedom to worship as we choose. Were it not for the US and its military, no nation in the world would be living in freedom today. We especially honor our fallen and those who are spending Christmas in far away and dangerous places protecting us.

The message that our children in college should be getting is that in spite of the mistakes America has made and in spite of the dark chapters in our history, this is still the greatest country on Earth, and that it does deserve their love and their loyalty.

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