Friday, December 09, 2005

Hey Jerry !!

I just got this in an email from Americans United. I thought I'd share it with no changes and in its entirety.

December 2005

Dear Jerry:

Here's some news: There is no "war on Christmas!"

I've seen you on various television news shows claiming that
there is but, in fact, there simply isn't. Even as I write this,
millions of Americans are erecting Christmas trees and nativity scenes
at their homes, and thousands of churches are planning special
Christmas services.

And, if I might say so, most of them are planning their lives without
getting permission or encouragement from you.

I am deeply disappointed that you have chosen a time that Christians
observe as a season of peace and good will and turned it into a time
of religious divisiveness and community conflict. Your "Friend
or Foe" campaign may be great for fund-raising and publicity,
but it has sown discord unnecessarily.

Contrary to your wild allegations, Jerry, neither Americans United,
nor any other civil liberties organization that I know of, is waging
any kind of war on Christmas. The First Amendment of our Constitution
ensures every American's right to observe religious holidays or
to refrain from doing so. We can wish each other a "Merry
Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," and it's
really none of your business which term we choose. We can call our
decorated tree a "Christmas tree" or a "holiday
tree," and that's our right. (We can observe the holidays
of other traditions as well.)

I think we all know what's really going on with your campaign.
You want an America where there is no separation of church and state
and where your rather narrow interpretation of Christianity is forced
on everyone. If you can convince Americans that their cherished
Christmas traditions are under fire, you think maybe they will join
your nefarious crusade to tear down the protective church-state wall
that guarantees our freedoms.

Well, it won't work, Jerry. Americans are, by and large, a
tolerant lot, and they are quite unlikely to join forces with someone
like you who is so far out on the political and religious fringes.
Many people remember the outrageous comments you made after the 9/11
terrorist assaults, suggesting that America had it coming because of
our (in your opinion) sinful ways. They also remember your dire
warning that Tinky Winky, a kids' TV character, was brainwashing
our children into homosexuality! You can't rehabilitate an image
like that by trying to depict yourself as Father Christmas.

I am particularly outraged that you are attacking our public schools
as part of your misguided project. Our public schools serve children
from 2,000 different faith traditions and some who follow no spiritual
path at all. They generally do a tremendous job of helping each of
these students without imposing any particular religious viewpoint.
They steer a careful course, broadly allowing student religious
expression while trying to avoid school endorsement of specific
faiths. That means there are sometimes disagreements about what songs
should be sung in the winter concert or what decorations should go in
the hall. We can work through those decisions by applying common
sense, the Constitution and plain old civility.

Thanks to the crusade by you and your allies, however, some of these
schools are being targeted for venomous attacks. After the Alliance
Defense Fund unfairly maligned a public school in New York for its
holiday observance policies, education officials there received
hateful mail of all sorts. One e-mail said "You are either bigoted
Jews who hate Christians or mindless secularists."

Since I debated you about the Christmas issue on Fox News
Channel's "O'Reilly Factor," I have received
66 nasty e-mails, including two death threats. Observed one of my
correspondents, "Hope you die soon. Merry Christmas."

Jerry, this is the kind of interfaith and community hostility that you
are stirring up, and I implore you to stop it now. You are polluting
the public square with animosity and anger. And at Christmas, of all
times!! Have you no decency?

You've dubbed your latest round of antics a "Friend or
Foe" campaign. Well, Jerry, I am a friend of the Constitution
and a foe of intolerance. You should be too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Barry W. Lynn

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn
Executive Director


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