Here in the hill country of Stephentown, N.Y. ( "where nothing is stirring not even a coyote"), the beautiful lights and decorations of the season offer a wonderful glitter against the bleak rolling ridges of the Taconic Range. But all is not well here.
Our little library, quaint and modern, has decided to become a grinch when it comes to Christmas. Instead of a Christmas tree, or Christmas decorations, or even a creche to celebrate Christ's birth (he was born on the 25th of December, by the way) we have a "mitten" tree with mittens and hats plopped all over its branches. This "clothing" tree, or whatever you want to call it, is supposed to benefit the poor of the community, and in its secular blandness, avoid any slight on other religions in the area.
Now, it all deference to other religious ceremonies like Hanukkah, Divali, or Kwanza, it's perfectly acceptable to honor them, too. But we are still predominantly a Christian nation and Christmas is really about Christ's birth, not Santa Claus, reindeer, or the grasping, gluttonous, perfidy of consumerisim that runs rampant in this land of the free.
Nowhere in our country library do we seen any hint of Christmas, except for a few wreaths and a sick looking plastic Santa, nor any joyous sign that Advent is here, which presages Christmas in the Christian calendar. It's bad enough that we are all subjected to the bland sepia of "Happy Holidays" blaring from shopping malls and shopping clerks who are unwilling to use the "C" word.
Sssh, it's Christmas. Psst, it's Christmas, pass it on. When will this madness end? When will we, as Christians, stand up for the true meaning of Christmas, which is the event that transformed the world 2,000 years ago. Unlike in the Philippines, where Christmas is celebrated with style from September to January, Americans are hopelessly engorged with the blind avarice of consumerism in a Culture of Death that is poisoning us in pornography, euthanasia, same sex marriage, drugs and violence. Christianity, in it's struggle to stay alive despite President Obama's health care mandate -- which forces Catholic institutions to dispense condoms and practice abortion lest they lose federal funding -- is drowning in a sea of secularism that even our small town library cannot escape.
When secular relativism, in its insistence of all thing sharing equality (including marriage and religious customs) begins to crush any outward display of God (there's that dastardly G word again) then it becomes fascism! Worse, when public institutions practice a policy of the fairness to all faiths and bend over backwards to avoid insults to any one faith then what you get is pablum and a zeal for political correctness that insults everybody!
Here, in the quiet backwoods of Stephentown, there is no danger of a religious way between people of different faiths, since most of us are Christians. So, would a little creche with the Christ Child in the library, alongside a menorah, of course, be the end of the world?
There is an old saying that's pretty appropriate here. If you try to satisfy everybody, in the end, you satisfy no one. And, that applies to every institution we hold dear, including our public library.
VICTOR C. CAPELLI