The United States has some serious problems: an ugly war, a shaky economy, a bad government (on the way out, at last). It’s been a rough eight years. So of course it must be someone’s fault, and Daniel Henninger has a simple explanation: blame the atheists. Especially blame the atheist’s successful war on Christmas. He says, “A nation whose people can’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ is a nation capable of ruining its own economy.” You see, we’ve all lost the important values of “responsibility, restraint, and remorse” that Christianity inculcates.
It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.
The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines.
Feel free: Banish Merry Christmas. Get ready for Mad Max.
Wait, what? The country has been run for the last eight years by a gang of amoral atheists? Bankers are atheists? All those people who borrowed money unwisely are atheists? Christians don’t default on loans, don’t exploit lax banking rules, don’t start wars, don’t torture?
I would like to visit Mr Henninger’s alternate dimension.
Here on my planet, of course, this country has been run by the evangelical wing of the Republican party, the vast majority of the population are Christians, it’s almost impossible to get elected to positions of any power without being a professing theist, and the religious right has been deeply tangled in political decisions, while atheists do little more than write books. Nobody has banned “Merry Christmas” — militant atheists like Dawkins (and Myers) happily put up Christmas trees every December, although of course we do regard it as an entirely secular holiday.
I’m not at all concerned about people who say “Merry Christmas”, and don’t really think whether you say the magic mantra or not has much of an effect on the economy. I’m much more worried that the editorial staff at the Wall Street Journal, who all seem to be delusional loons, might be influencing the management of our economy.
Maybe Mr Henninger needs to read Kathleen Parker, who at least has noticed that the Republican party has become the god-walloping know-nothing party, and that maybe that has something to do with the state of the nation.