Why Sarah Palin’s Christmas Book is a Bad Idea

The off-season news that former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is writing a book about Christmas is not one we cheer. After all, the last thing the world needs is another politician or Fox News alum cashing in on the “war on Christmas”. But this book is coming and everyone already knows what it is going to say:

Her book, the publisher states, will make the argument for a more traditional Christmas that emphasizes the Christian theme behind the holiday. Palin will highlight “the importance of preserving Jesus Christ in Christmas,” whether that’s in public displays, school concerts or pageants. The book will also include personal memories and traditions from the most wonderful time of the year.

We don’t mean to be critical of Palin’s take on Christmas. In fact, we largely agree with it.

But the so-called “war on Christmas” is not really a war at all. That is a view we are confident Palin will not share. Christmas shows no signs of diminishing in our society despite the repeated arguments over Christmas in schools and displays on courthouse lawns.

In fact, if Christmas is really as religious in nature as Palin will insist she would be wise to leave this alone.

After all, schools do a poor job of teaching or representing religion (of any kind). Governments large and small are equally inept at explaining or even conveying religious significance of anything. Frankly, Christmas should be in schools as little as possible. After all, a school Christmas pageant does little to teach the religious side of Christmas. That does not mean we advocate banning Christmas from schools. It means we should be careful. Schools are made up of many kinds of individuals and providing an overwhelming amount of attention to one group displaces another. Just because Christmas gets billing with holidays and observances of other faiths does not mean it is being attacked.

Besides, there are bigger problems out there as it relates to Christmas.

If Palin is wise she would advise parents to teach the sacred part of Christmas better in the home. This is the more broad failure of society. Schools cannot be responsible for such teaching and if kids aren’t getting it then it is the fault of parents — not the schools. That would be a truly revolutionary take that would show Palin’s leadership.

We are not betting she will go there. The allure of brow beating school officials who get caught between warring factions in annual Christmas debates is too great and makes for more fun and games come December on Fox News. It’s old, it’s pointless and it is as traditional now at Christmas as trees and lights.

Palin would be wise as well to recognize the growing celebration of the secular Christmas. Many people, even Christians, celebrate Christmas more for the snowmen, candy canes and Santa Claus-factor than for religious purposes. Some Christians save their worship for Easter and use Christmas for more secular pursuits. Like it or not, that is the truth.

It should be recognized that there is a duality to the very word “Christmas”. It is both sacred and secular. The Freedom From Religion Foundation must be educated in these terms and Palin could contribute to this discussion.

The campaigns to label merchants who won’t say “Christmas” in their advertising, the threat of lawsuits against cities and school districts for using the word “Christmas”, the labeling of Christmas trees as “holiday trees” and even the false offense of saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” are sad byproducts of vocal Christmas combatants like Bill O’Reilly, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Humanist Society.

We hope Mrs. Palin does not become one of them. Sadly, this statement from her released in advance of the book, does not give us hope:

“Amidst the fragility of this politically correct era, it is imperative that we stand up for our beliefs before the element of faith in a glorious and traditional holiday like Christmas is marginalized and ignored. This will be a fun, festive, thought provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas.”

The critics are already skewering her and, by proxy, all who love Christmas at the same time. Said the Washington Post in response to the book and what it might say:

“Why are you taking my Christmas tree, why?” Cindy Lou Palin-Who? would ask, looking sad, and the Grinch would reply that it was because Harry Reid had given him specific instructions to do so and that later he was going to come back with first lady Michelle Obama, take away Cindy Lou’s candy canes and force her to do jumping jacks. The one bright spot in an otherwise bleak story would be Cindy Lou’s discovery of Clean Coal in her stocking.

This is hardly dialogue that helps.

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