The Gospel Truth

The Grinch and the Gadfly | November 13, 2009

One of my complaints about my fellow bloggers—ain’t that like me—new kid on the block and I am already criticizing the other guy.  As I was saying, it seems that some bloggers feel compelled to write like someone else might be compelled to scratch an itch.  Maybe writing one is like that.

But I digress.  I was in the Post-Office this morning and I bought some Christmas stamps.  In the past I have always bought two kinds—a religious one and a “secular” one for my “sensitive” friends.  (No I don’t know anyone who would appreciate a Kawanzaa stamp.)

Today I thought to myself: “Why am I doing this?”  Somewhere along the line, Catholics, Christians, and others have bought the message that our religion is offensive to some people—how many people?  Maybe just one person!  It doesn’t matter to our cultural custodian just how many people or persons.  To them if there is one person in all of America who is offended by a young woman, her husband and a baby in a manger then we have to refrain from musing that kind of religious symbol.

This raises the $64 question…how can a religion about forgiveness and reconciliation tick off so many people? What is so offensive about a Savior and a humble family from 2000 years ago?

This attitude goes doubly for crèches, any sort of religious symbol, music, whether hymns or just songs.  All these must be hidden under a mantle of civility so that we do not offend.

What has this Pavlovian conditioning done to people of faith in this country?  It has enslaved us to the secular virtue of tolerance that prompts us to shed our beliefs or at least hide them in a closet until this dreaded season, once know as Christmas fades into the chill of winter.

One of my favorite writers, Joseph Sobran often used a C. S. Lewis quote that really fits here.  It was something to the effect that secular society wants religious people to leave the marketplace of ideas.  It wants us to keep our views “private,” and then it has the unmitigated gall to limit the place where we can express or reveal those religious views.

In other words they want us to paint ourselves in a corner so that we are trapped in a private arena of insignificance, so far from the maddening crowd of secularism and moral relativism that the Christian message is audible to only those with acute hearing.

That’s their strategy and to my mind it has been very effective.  It has worked so well with stamps, music and especially the innocuous Merry Christmas” that used to bring good cheer to everyone we would meet on the street.

My two cents of advice to everyone is during this Christmas thwart the secular Grinch and be a “Gadfly for Christmas.”   Fly right into the face of this social conditioning.  Shout Merry Christmas with pride.  Sing Silent Night wherever and whenever you choice and please buy the religious stamps and leave the secular ones for people who probably don’t even believe in God.



  1. BB, I was able to get your blog bpy going to SEARCH, then putting in your blog address. What I read, I like. I don’t know how to start a blog. Please inform me.
    You write so well. Watch out for “big” words for simple folks like me. Pax, M

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — November 13, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

  2. Another great column. I’ve got you added to Google Reader.

    Comment by Pam Fichter — November 13, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  3. Dear BB: Good stuff. We just had 13 GI’s killed at Ft Hood by Political Correctness and Tolerance. Happy Holidays. Ooops, I mean MERRY CHRISTMAS! Best, BK

    Comment by Bud Kane — November 14, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

  4. my thoughts exactly. Why are we being forced to go underground with something as pure and loving as Christ, and subsequently His birth and the reason for the season. Good job, Bill, keep up the good work.

    Comment by mary yager — November 14, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

  5. The Naughty And Nice List – Which Companies are Allowing a “Merry Christmas”

    Partial “Naughty List”

    Lowe’s – Employees cannot say “Merry Christmas” to customers. Lowe’s corporate advised that only when customers initiate a “Merry Christmas” greeting can employees respond in kind.

    Toys ‘R’ Us – “Holidays” are in, “Merry Christmas” is out.

    Banana Republic – Web site has “Holiday Gift Guide” with no mention of Christmas.

    Bed Bath & Beyond – No mention of any holidays.

    Barnes & Noble – Web site says “Gift Guide,” “Holiday gift baskets,” “Holiday sled,” “Holiday delivery,” but no Christmas. Stores not allowed to put up Christmas trees, and employees are not allowed to say “Merry Christmas.”

    Best Buy – Web site says “Unique gifts for the season,” “Holiday gift ideas.” Spokesperson said the use of “Merry Christmas” is disrespectful.

    Dick’s Sporting Goods – Web site says “gifts” and has images, but no mention of Christmas.

    Eddie Bauer – Customer service would not recognize Christmas, they “don’t want to offend Jews, those who celebrate Kwanza and those who have no religious preference.”

    Gap – “Holiday Survival Guide” with no mention of Christmas.

    Home Depot – Web site says “Holiday Store” and “Holiday Lighting” and only at bottom of site says “Make your Christmas decorations complete.” Stores have “Holiday Home Accents.”

    K-Mart – Selling “Holiday trees” and “Holiday wreaths.”

    Partial “Nice List”

    Dillard’s – Advertises “Christmas Catalog.”

    JC Penney – Web site has “Christmas Shipping Countdown.”

    Joann Fabrics – Offers Christmas and Holiday fabrics.

    Kohl’s – Christmas is all over TV, print and radio ads.

    L.L. Bean – Advertises and distributes “Christmas Catalog.”

    Linens ‘N Things – Has a “Christmas Shop” and “Christmas Checklist.”

    Macy’s – “Merry Christmas!” on its home page.

    Michaels – Web site has a Christmas section.

    M&M-Mars Candies – Will have red and green candies with pictures of Christmas trees and angels among other images.

    Target – Web site says “Christmas Decor,” although the physical store has “Holiday entertaining.” TV ad says “Merry Christmas.”

    Wal-Mart – Has a “Christmas Shop,” plays Christmas carols, and employees can say “Merry Christmas.

    Comment by Bill Rogers — November 17, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

    • Great List! Everyone should make a list of this. Remember to wish everyone a “Happy Hollyday.”

      Comment by Bill Borst — January 10, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

  6. Dear Bill: As always, you are my FAVORITE writer, or blogger, or whatever. I tried to buy a Christmas gift card at Target and after an exhausting search, a clerk finally came up with one that did say “Merry Christmas”, but it had Santa feeding Mrs. Claus a cookie. I asked why they didn’t have something appropriate for a Christian, and I was told that they take surveys and ‘this’ is what people want. I asked if they take their surverys at the local athiests’ meetings. Thanks always for your devotion to the truth. S.

    Comment by Shirley Ducey — January 8, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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