Friday, December 18, 2015

Whip Nae Nae in Heavenly Peace

 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The war on Christmas is heating up, and “Christians” are “outraged” at the latest skirmishes, which involved a beloved television Christmas special, and a nonsensical rap song.

This past Thursday Glenn Beck talked about a Kentucky elementary school that was presenting A Charlie Brown Christmas as their Christmas program. Everyone on the show was shocked and outraged because, at the climax of the program, Linus’ speech explaining the true meaning of Christmas (which was really just a passage from the Gospel of St. Luke), had been cut. In another school, the speech was removed and Silent Night was replaced with the popular, and highly annoying, “Whip Nae Nae” by Silentó 

“I would get together with parents and I would — if I knew this was coming — take the script of what Linus actually says and I would stand up as a block of parents and just stop the show and just all of us at that point, ‘Doesn’t anybody know what Christmas is all about?’ And all of the parents stand up and just start saying it, even as the play is going on,” Beck said.

I love Christmas. I love the Peanuts. I love A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love St. Luke’s Gospel. Silent Night is arguably the greatest Christmas song ever written (in the original German, of course). So, what I’m about to say will probably confuse some of my friends: I don’t care that these people changed the Christmas show to remove the Bible passage. In fact, I wouldn’t have expected them to do anything different. I would have been surprised to see them leave the speech intact and sing Silent Night at a secular public school.

“There is no violation of the so-called ‘separation of church and state’ by allowing children to learn about theater and the origins of Christmas through participating in a stage version of this beloved program that contains the same religious elements as the television version,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, as quoted from a Fox opinion article.

I agree that there is no violation of the First Amendment. However, if my children are attending a public school, I want them to learn reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. I’ll take care of the religious education, thank you very much. That is, of course, why they don’t attend public school.

Making secular public school students do religious things is not an effective evangelism tool; it only causes strife in the community. I certainly wouldn’t want my children to participate in some school-wide Ramadan pageant. I understand that pagans don’t want their children to sing Silent Night. We shouldn’t expect those who are of the pagan secular world to think and act like Christendom. After all, the sinful mind is hostile to God, and cannot submit to God (Romans 8:6-8); The message of the cross is, after all, foolishness to those who are perishing. To the unbelieving secular world, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ from the Gospel of St. Luke makes less sense than, “Watch me whip…watch me nae nae.”

For the world, the federal holiday of Christmas is about presents, and trees, and lights, and days off from work. For Christendom it is about God taking on human flesh so that he could, before we did anything to merit his loving-kindness, keep the Law for us, bear our sin, and be our savior. I’m glad that Charles Schultz included the true meaning of Christmas in his show, but we can’t force pagans to act like Christians. Consequently, we shouldn't be outraged when they act according to their nature and reject and ridicule God’s Word. Instead of trying to glue a veneer of Christianity over the top of secular culture, the way to reach pagans is to lovingly deliver Law and Gospel to those around us according to our vocation, encouraging them to repent of their sin and gather around Word and Sacrament – and trust that the Lord’s Word will not return to him void.