December 13, 2012 - Thursday
For our troops in the Middle East, it's not away in a manger -- it's away goes the manger! After years of celebrating Christmas with a live nativity, the U.S. Navy is ordering military families to tear down its display on a Bahrain base. Service members were stunned. The news was most upsetting for the kids, who look forward to playing their parts all year long. "It was devastating," one officer told Fox News. "Here we are serving in the Middle East, defending our country and other people's religions... and we can't even enjoy our own."
The order came down just days after a secular group, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, complained that the nativity somehow endangered U.S. lives. "It's unconstitutional," the group argued, "it's bad for the military, and in a Muslim country, it's dangerous."
Funny , that didn't seem to matter when our troops flew rainbow flags over camps in Afghanistan -- or hosted gay pride parties at our Baghdad embassy. Where was the concern for Muslim sensitivities then? These sailors are thousands of miles from home sacrificing their Christmases to defend the freedoms and the rights of people as misguided at MAAF. The least we can do is respect the Constitution they're defending, and give these troops the same freedom that's been afforded every American since the Supreme Court ruled on nativities in 1984.
Some people, like Newsweek's David Sessions, think the war on Christmas is over. "Christmas won," he says. That may be true in the retail world, where American Family Association points out that an overwhelming number of stores are chucking their holiday-neutrality in favor of Christmas greetings. "We've gone from 80% politically correct ads four years ago to 80% pro-Christmas messaging [today]," said AFA's Randy Sharp. Bill Donahue also senses the shift at the Catholic League, where the usual flurry of discrimination cases is at a minimum.
And while the commercial world may be catching on, the government is more hostile than ever -- not just to Christmas, but to Christians. In the last few weeks, the Left has gotten away with plenty of seasonal censorship-from Illinois water towers to a senior center's Christmas tree. Even President Obama couldn't throw a bone to Christmas on his official White House card -- and instead threw one to Bo, whose picture is featured. Inside, the dog's paw print appears, along with the message "May your home be filled with family, friends, and the joy of the holidays." Move over, Jesus -- the Portuguese water pooch is here!
Meanwhile , the war on Christmas isn't over -- it just expanded into a broader, 12-month battle over religious expression. And Christians will continue having success in it the more comfortable they are standing up -- and speaking out -- for truth.
It's a Wonderful Life
Before Michigan was focused on the right to work, its Senate focused on the right to life. As an early Christmas present, leaders passed three bills that take direct aim at the abortion industry. One bans abortion coverage in both state-based health exchanges and private insurance plans. Another does what ObamaCare does not: protects the conscience rights of employers and medical professionals. If they object to prescribing or providing certain treatments, this legislation would protect them from being punished for those views. Last but not least, state lawmakers also gave their approval to tougher rules for women's safety at abortion clinics -- including building regulations and a ban on the use telemedicine, which lets doctors prescribe life-ending drugs by "video conference."
And Michigan isn't alone in protecting women and defending the unborn. This week, Governor Rick Perry (R) called on the Texas legislature to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks, when most doctors believe babies can feel pain. "We cannot, and we will not, stand idly by while the unborn are going through the agony of having their lives ended," he said at a special press conference on Tuesday. If the legislature agrees, Texas will join seven states (Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Oklahoma) in banning abortion at the five-month mark. Once again, these state leaders, like Governor Perry and others, continue to take a bold stand for life while their national party retreats. Michigan and Texas may be a long way from Washington, D.C. -- but they're proving to be much closer to America's priorities on core issues.
In this season of selflessness, no one has given more to FRC than Leo Johnson. Without his courage during the August shooting when a man sought to kill many of our employees, this could have been a dramatically different Christmas for so many of our staff. Like us, and our families, the city continues to be grateful for Leo's heroic acts. Yesterday, the DowntownDC Business Improvement District joined the thousands of Americans in saluting Leo for his bravery by honoring him with the 2012 Momentum Award, which "recognizes an individual in Downtown who contributes significantly to community building, social interaction, and creating a more vibrant Downtown environment for residents, workers, and visitors." They proudly named Leo Johnson this year's recipient "for demonstrating a selfless act of courage that averted a major terrorist attack." No one is more deserving!
As for Leo's health, we continue to pray for his complete healing. Although he's made some significant progress, Leo is still a long way from a full recovery and faces the possibility of additional surgery. We appreciate all of you, who continue lift up Leo -- and all of the FRC staff -- in your prayers!