Friday, December 16, 2005
War on Christmas: There are a lot of people who cringe at the phrase the "War on Christmas." It's a bit of hyperbole, which is always good to sell books or get TV viewers, however it does draw attention to what is a real issue: the continuing effort to remove religion in general -- and Christianity in particular -- from the public square.
Today's case comes to us from Chula Vista, Calif. -- a San Diego suburb.
At the city's annual holiday celebration, a rabbi lighted a menorah. A dance troupe performed a traditional prayer to the gods.
But six young girls were told they they couldn't perform because they were wearing shirts emblazoned with a silver cross and the words "Jesus Christ" on the front.
The "Jesus Christ Dancers," a group of 8-to-12-year-olds who describe themselves as Christian hip-hop dancers, were scheduled to make their citywide debut at the Dec. 3 holiday festival.
Moments before taking the stage, employees from the city's Parks and Recreation Department barred them from performing, saying they did not want to convey a religious message in the show.
According to the group's dance instructor, Lita Ramirez, the dancers was asked to turn their shirts inside out. The group was also asked if its music had a religious message.
"I told him our music says 'You are my God' and 'We will worship You,'" Ramirez said. "I also said I think it mentions Jesus."
After waiting for more than an hour, the group was told it could not perform.
"It was humiliating," Ramirez said. "The girls cried."
The city's mayor has apologized and vowed to train employees on what the First Amendment really means and not the twisted version that they learned from liberal college professors.
However, the aversion to religious speech and fear of lawsuits by the likes of the ACLU has created a climate where this sort of thing happens almost daily.