Congress declares (Christmas and Christianity) = good

I’ve been lying awake for nights worrying about whether the USA approves of Christianity and Christmas. I mean, as issues go, it must rank at least on a par with global warming, a looming energy crisis, potential recession and a pointless war.

The House of Representatives, since it has nothing else better to do with its time, has allayed my fears. Yesterday, by an overwhelming majority, it resolved that Christmas and Christianity are good things, officially approved by the House.

The resolution (text below) was introduced by a Republican from Iowa and co-sponsored by a passel of other Republicans (and a few Democrats). Despite its skirting the Constitutional prohibition of establishing a state religion, most of our reps blindly voted for it. The tally was 372-9, with 40 not voting and 10 voting “present” (basically abstaining).

John Yarmuth (D-3rd Ky) abstained. Our other local reps in southern Indiana and central Kentucky voted aye.

What a total waste of time! A resolution has, of course, no legal meaning. Supporting a resolution approving of Christianity and Christmas does absolutely nothing meaningful, other than to demonstrate that the congresspeople want to look like they are doing something meaningful. I suppose they want to avoid being accused of waging war on Christianity and Christmas, like Fox News loudmouth Bill O’Reilly and others allege.

The wording of the resolution is a bit problematic, too, since it assumes all Christians do the same thing. It ignores Eastern Orthodox tradition (Christmas is celebrated on Jan. 6 in some Eastern churches) and the practices of Christian sects that do not celebrate Christmas at all (Jehovah’s Witnesses and some Quakers, for example).

Then there’s the whole question of the other religions not even mentioned in the resolution. Sure, Christianity did some great things for Western civilization, but so did Judaism and Islam. So, why single out Christianity?

Because the majority of the sponsors are pandering to the conservative Christian vote, naturally. Next year is an election year, after all, and now all of the 372 ayes can point to their defense of Christianity and Christmas and say what good boys and girls they are.

I have the text of the resolution below. You can check on who voted how here.

HRES 847 IH

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 847

Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

December 6, 2007

Mr. KING of Iowa (for himself, Mr. AKIN, Mrs. BACHMANN, Mr. BAKER, Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. BRADY of Texas, Mr. BROUN of Georgia, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. CARTER, Mr. CONAWAY, Mr. DAVID DAVIS of Tennessee, Mr. DOOLITTLE, Mr. FEENEY, Mr. FORTENBERRY, Ms. FOXX, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. GINGREY, Mr. GOHMERT, Mr. HAYES, Mr. HERGER, Mr. ISSA, Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. JORDAN of Ohio, Mr. KINGSTON, Mr. KLINE of Minnesota, Mr. KUHL of New York, Mr. LAHOOD, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. LAMPSON, Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California, Mr. MCCAUL of Texas, Mr. MCINTYRE, Mrs. MCMORRIS RODGERS, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mrs. MUSGRAVE, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. NEUGEBAUER, Mr. POE, Mr. SALI, Mr. SHADEGG, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. STEARNS, Mr. TERRY, Mr. TIAHRT, Mr. WALBERG, Mr. WELDON of Florida, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky, and Mrs. DRAKE) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.

Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world;

Whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population;

Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;

Whereas Christians identify themselves as those who believe in the salvation from sin offered to them through the sacrifice of their savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and who, out of gratitude for the gift of salvation, commit themselves to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible;

Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;

Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its roots in Christianity;

Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;

Whereas for Christians, Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God’s redemption, mercy, and Grace; and

Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others: Now, therefore be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

(2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;

(3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;

(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;

(5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and

(6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.

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