It’s unfortunate that the News Virginian chose to publish an editorial so lacking in logic or the understanding of history, the Constitution, or Democracy: Steve Troxel’s column.

Thank god we live in a Democracy, where not only is freedom of religion a central tenant, so is freedom from religion. One of the centrals point to the American Revolution and the newly-formed United States of America was to guarantee that no one has the right to force his religion down anyone’s throats. But Mr. Troxel wants to do just that, showing nothing but disdain for other people’s beliefs — which they are entitled to.

I’m pretty sure that Mr. Troxel celebrates Christmas in the traditional ways — a tree, some greenery, gift exchanges, caroling, making sure Dec. 25 is memorable to him, and I’m sure he thinks he’s doing something Biblical — but he isn’t. I’m glad he does because the Christmas spirit of giving in love is a wonderful one. However, I wonder if he realizes that Dec. 25 is an arbitrary date — no one knows when Jesus was born, but it was most likely in the spring of the year. Dec. 25 was chosen because it was already the pagan holiday to celebrate the rebirth of the sun, and to bring life into the dead of winter. As to the greenery, lighting of candles, trees — all those are of pagan origin. So are Christmas carols and the giving of gifts (which didn’t become traditional in the way we know it until the 1800s). The celebrations, which we love and pass down, have nothing whatsoever to do with Christ.

Neither does freedom of religion, but I’m glad others get to worship in their own ways, whatever they are. Neither does freedom of speech, which yes, gives Mr. Troxel the right to send the world his Christmas greetings. So does the phrase, “Happy Holidays.” Only a real Scrooge with no understanding of history would be upset that someone would wish him happiness on his own holiday!

As to socialism, OK, here’s another dragging out of this old trope that socialism is communism which seeks to forbid religion to the masses. Mr. Troxel is confused by socialism, and he’s forgetting the egalitarianism inherent in our Democracy. He doesn’t believe that all peoples were created equally; he thinks his religion and beliefs are superior to others. That is not what Democracy is all about.

As for me, I’ll celebrate Christmas and Christ in my own way with the knowledge the Christ was perhaps the greatest Socialist of all time, and I will, as always, endeavor to follow him and be worthy of him, while at the same time knowing that others have other, equally important religious beliefs.

Yvonne Surette


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