Friday, December 16, 2016
Silent night, godless night
John Henningham comments from Australia:
Almost 30 years ago, fresh from Hawaii, I visited my daughter’s grade one class in Brisbane to show off my treasured koa wood ukulele. It was the last week before Christmas, so teachers were happy to have any distraction for the restless six-year-olds.
The kids listened patiently as I strummed my entire repertoire of half a dozen chords and showcased a few Hawaiian ditties, none of which meant much to them.
So I invited the children to sing to my strumming and we launched into ‘Silent Night’. A most heavenly sound filled the little wooden classroom as the boy and girl sopranos seemed to channel the angelic host from the hills around Bethlehem. Sitting among the children in the swirl of their voices was mind-blowing – real goosebump territory. The children sang a few more songs and I was thanked for my appearance. I felt it was I who should have been giving thanks.
A generation later a minstrel inviting children in Australia to sing Christmas carols would remain a soloist. The kids simply don’t know the words.
In the last few years I’ve attended Christmas concerts at various child-care centres and kindergartens to find that Christmas carols are entirely absent. One concert began with an Aboriginal Welcome to Country followed by a Hindu blessing in honour of an Indian family. Then the children lustily launched into a bracket of Christmas songs – ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ and their favourite, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’. It was all great fun, yet there was not even the hint of a mention of the religious basis of the feast, except accidentally, in ‘Christmas’.
And certainly no sign of a nativity play. A teacher explained quietly that she’d have to talk to the Muslim parents and prepare them, if there were to be anything like that.
What a sad development.
I’d always felt that the ‘Silent Night’ everyone could once sing was as much a part of Australian heritage and culture as ‘Waltzing Matilda’. Of the kids I made music with in the 80s, most were of nominal Christian background, though only a small number were from church-going families. They’d learnt the Christmas carols at school. It was a more monocultural time, but among them were kids of Jewish and Buddhist backgrounds. Yet they all knew the words of ‘Silent Night’ and seemed pretty pleased at the chance to belt them out.
There are, I hope, no edicts against Christmas carols in schools or pre-schools. Their disappearance is probably more a result of the deep sense of politeness and fear of offending that is felt by many contemporary Australians. A cultural self-censorship.
And how self-defeating. We all know that foreigners in countries dominated by other religions do not receive apologies or expect the faith to be sidelined in their presence.
And I can’t imagine that the adherents of too many religions would be offended by those gentle, lullaby carols that everyone used to know. After all, their purpose is to celebrate the birth of a baby – a little Jewish boy who was to become not only the inspiration for a new religion, but a prophet respected in the Muslim faith with the addition of the words ‘Peace be upon him’ whenever his name is mentioned. And of course the pluralistic religions of Asia are very tolerant to all who preach peace and love. There’s apparently a Japanese kindergarten on the Gold Coast that stages a nativity play along with Japanese festivals.
If they were ever asked, immigrant parents would probably agree that Christmas carols shouldn’t be outcasts in school celebrations of Christmas. And we could add children’s songs throughout the year for both the Hindu and Jewish Festivals of Lights – Deepavali and Hannukkah – and for the Muslim Eid.
But for most Aussie kids, the only way to hear a Christmas carol is to go to a shopping centre.
Australia: 'We're a Christian society: Furious Peter Dutton unleashes on school that banned Christmas carols to hold a secular celebration
Peter Dutton has called on Australians to 'rise up' and defend Christmas after a school rejected traditional carols for more secular songs.
Appearing on talkback radio, the furious Immigration Minister said his 'blood was boiling' after learning there was 'not one Christmas carol' at the celebration at Kedron State High School in Queensland.
'It is political correctness gone mad and I think people have just had enough of it,' he told 2GB radio host Ray Hadley.
A member of Mr Dutton's Dickson electorate Jim told the radio show the public secondary school ceremony did not have 'one Christmas carol'.
The lyrics to We Wish You A Merry Christmas were replaced with 'we wish you a happy holiday', The Age reported.
'Many of the people, regardless of their religious belief, would be there happy to sing Christmas carols, happy to enjoy the fact that we celebrate Christmas as a Christian society,' Mr Dutton told 2GB. 'It's beyond my comprehension but it has gone too far.'
The pro-Christmas politician likened the current climate of political correctness to when Prime Minister Paul Keating was in charge in the mid-1990s.
Mr Keating was known for his role in social issues - promoting Indigenous affairs, multiculturalism and inclusiveness.
'People had a gutful of it and I think we're back to the same stage now, and I think we need to rise up against it. People need to speak against it as they are,' Mr Dutton said.
'Because the vast majority of Australian people want to hear Christmas carols. They want their kids to be brought up in a normal environment and they don't want to be lectured to by do-gooders who frankly don't practise what they preach in any case.'
Radio host Ray Hadley was also outraged over the rejected Christmas carols, pointing the finger of blame at 'left-wing teachers' and the principal of Kedron State High School. 'It's insulting, it's demeaning and it's a farce,' he said.
The radio announcer had a similar discussion with Treasurer Scott Morrison just days prior to speaking with Mr Dutton. Mr Morrison also slammed political correctness around Christmas and chimed: 'Have a great Christmas and enjoy the birth of our Lord.'
Rev. Graham: ACLU's War on Christmas Continues -- Man Has 'Unwelcome Contact' With Cross, Causes 'Irreparable Harm'
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing a very small town in Indiana because a single Christian cross on top of a spruce tree in the town square apparently is causing "irreparable harm" to one resident who, when he drives by, "is forced to come into direct and unwelcome contact" with the cross, reads the lawsuit. This is absurd, said Reverend Franklin Graham, who added that it proves the "war on Christmas is still on" and that "the ACLU wants to remove God from everything."
"The war on Christmas is still on!" said Rev. Graham in a Dec. 12 post on Facebook. "Because of one person’s 'objection,' the ACLU is suing an Indiana town for having a lit cross atop their Christmas tree just as they have had for years."
"The man said he is being forced to have 'unwelcome contact' with the cross and it has caused him irreparable harm. Give me a break," said Graham.
"We shouldn’t really be surprised by this," he said. "The Bible says Jesus Christ would be a 'stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense' to many. 'For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.' "(1 Cor. 1:18).
"I hope this town will stand strong and not let one man’s objection override their celebration of the true meaning of Christmas," said Pastor Graham.
"The ACLU wants to remove God from everything -- our constitution doesn’t require that," he said. "Jesus Christ came to Earth to pay the penalty of sin for mankind on the cross. That’s what CHRISTmas is all about!"
The cross sits atop a spruce tree in the town square of Knightstown, Ind., which has a population of about 2,200.
According to CBS News affiliate WTTV, the lawsuit claims the cross "is the preeminent symbol of Christianity, representing the crucifixion of Jesus," and therefore cannot be displayed on town property.
The offended resident is Joseph Tomkins who, reported WTTV, drives by the tree every day and "is forced to come into direct and unwelcome contact with the cross." This, according to the ACLU, has caused Tomkins, "irreprable harm," which reportedly can only be cured by removing the cross and paying Tomkins monetary damages, said WTTV.
The jihad against Christians
Islamists just sent Christians a horrific Christmas reminder...
Last weekend's bombing of St. Peter's Cathedral in Cairo by Islamists is the worst attack on Egypt's Christian minority in recent years. It left 27 dead, mostly women and children, and 65 severely wounded. The violence of this attack, in the targeting of women and children, is unspeakably horrifying.
But as numbing as these attacks and bombings have become, as more churches are destroyed, Christians tortured and murdered and women and children enslaved – the Freedom Center refuses to back down.
You see, we employ some of the best scholars on this subject in the world here at the Center – including Shillman Fellow and Egyptian-American Coptic Christian, Raymond Ibrahim.
Raymond has been a leading writer on the issue of the Muslim persecution of Christians for a number of years. And he knows firsthand the horrors that are taking place in his ancestral homeland of Egypt, as well as throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
In fact, Raymond has written a groundbreaking book, "Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians" that I believe is a must-read for anyone who loves freedom.
A New Victim in the War on Small-Biz Bakeries
It is not enough for family-owned pastry shops to bow to the gay marriage mob. Now, they're being targeted by the social justice mafia.
At my alma mater, radical Oberlin College in Ohio (which boasts hapless Baltimore mayor and rioters' champion Stephanie Rawlings Blake and bizarro feminist actress and fake rape accuser Lena Dunham as graduates), the operators of a small-business bakery are under siege by vengeful students and administrators trying to crush them under the wheels of the race-baiters' bandwagon. The true victim in this latest tale of political correctness run amok is Gibson's Bakery — a quaint shop founded in 1885 that still bakes all its goods using original recipes.
On Nov. 9, according to the city police report I obtained, shop employee Allyn Gibson caught a 19-year-old Oberlin College student allegedly stealing two bottles of wine and hiding them under his shirt. As officers approached the area, Oberlin Police Sgt. (Victor) Ortiz, and Officer (Raymond) Feuerstein both stated they observed Gibson lying on his back with several individuals kneeling over him punching and kicking him with several other individuals in the immediate area. Officers attempted to gain control of the situation and were met several times with resistance from several different individuals."
Allyn Gibson attempted to stop the alleged thief, Jonathan Aladin, from leaving the store and tried to take a photo him as he bolted. Gibson got whacked in the face with his own phone. Aladin then reportedly ran while throwing the two bottles of wine on the floor, becoming "violent" and "grabbing and hitting Allyn." Aladin ran out with two females who were with him in the store. Gibson followed and tried to detain the alleged shoplifter again on the street.
Gibson's right as a shop employee to detain a suspected thief with probable cause until police arrive is protected under Ohio statute. As the females punched and kicked him, police officers who had arrived on scene during the beating wrote: "Allyn had several abrasions and minor injuries including what appeared to be a swollen lip, abrasions to his arms and wrists and a small cut on his neck."
Aladin was charged with robbery and inflicting harm and faces a court hearing in the case this week. The two females, Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone, were charged with assault.
You can guess what happened next. Aladin, who is black, became the new poster boy of institutional racism and oppression. Students organized protests and shrieked about "racial profiling," claiming that the bakery had a history of discriminating against customers "of color."
It gets worse. Leading the charge in the latest War on Small-Biz Bakeries is the Oberlin College dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, who joined the baying mob in bullying the Gibson family. She disseminated flyers libelously asserting that Gibson's is a "racist establishment with a long account of racial profiling and discrimination." Convicted in the crazy Oberlin College court of public opinion, the school refused to renew its longstanding daily order of donuts and bagels. For a small business with razor-thin margins, losing that order could be devastating.
Never mind that the "racism" charge is a brazen lie. As the police department pointed out, since 2011, there had been four robberies at the store including Aladin, "and he was the only black person. There were 40 adults arrested for shoplifting in five years, and 32 were white. There were six adult black suspects arrested and two Asians, and 33 of the 40 were college students."
And never mind that Trey James, a Gibson's employee who is himself black, bluntly told the student newspaper that race had nothing to do with the incident. "If you're caught shoplifting, you're going to end up getting arrested," he told the Oberlin Review. "When you steal from the store, it doesn't matter what color you are. You can be purple, blue, green, if you steal, you get caught, you get arrested."
Never mind, either, that Oberlin is ground zero in fake hate crime claims — from the notorious 2013 sighting of a "KKK robe-wearing" menace on campus who turned out to be a female student wearing a blanket to Lena Dunham's disgraceful attempt to blame a college Republican for sexually assaulting her. She retracted the story after Breitbart.com blogger John Nolte and others in new media exposed the hoax.
Back in the 1990s, Asian-American students claimed that a phantom racist had spray-painted anti-Asian racial epithets on a campus landmark rock. It turned out that it was a warped Asian-American student who perpetrated the dirty deed. During my time there, a black student accused the elder Mr. Gibson of racism after he told the student she was not allowed to sit at an outside table because she hadn't purchased any items from his store.
Ohio talk radio host Bob Frantz, who has rallied sane, decent and hard-working members of the community to support the Gibson family, told me a Facebook page supporting the bakery had been censored by Facebook. (No surprise: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a fervent, damn-the-facts supporter of Black Lives Matter.)
It is time for real justice to prevail over truth-sabotaging, violence-stoking, thug-coddling social justice. If you are not actively fighting the mob, you're enabling it.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.