Tuesday, December 2, 2008
West Jordan Senator Chris Buttars Wants The Utah State Legislature To Declare War On Those Who Wage The "War Against Christmas"
Freshly armed with a renewed four-year mandate from his constituents in Senate District 10, West Jordan's state senator Chris Buttars is wasting little time in paying back his constituents for their support on November 4th. And he's chosen the culture arena to wage the first battle of his new term.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Sen. Chris Buttars is fighting back against the "war on Christmas" by sponsoring a non-binding resolution encouraging retailers to embrace Christmas in their promotions rather than the generic term "happy holidays". Buttars explained, "It would encourage the use of 'Merry Christmas'. I'm sick of the Christmas wars -- we're a Christian nation and ought to use the word". Buttars also stated that several fellow lawmakers, who he wouldn't yet name, support his effort.
But although Chris Buttars is highly regarded by new Senate President Mike Waddoups, who designated Buttars the chair of both the Health & Human Services and the Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committees, those lawmakers willing to speak out publicly on Buttars' proposal were hesitant to weigh in on a measure they had not seen. "I think Christmas is a wonderful holiday," said District 16 Senator Curt Bramble (R-Provo). "Am I supporting the legislative action? I'll have to read it first". While Bramble shares Buttars belief that America is grounded in Christian beliefs, he maintains that thinking must involve overt tolerance of other faiths. Bramble isn't so much offended by the term 'Happy Holidays', but is offended if we are embarassed to say 'Merry Christmas'.
Representing the House was District 26 Rep. David Litvack, a Jewish Democrat who represents part of Salt Lake City. He has no objection to people wishing him a Merry Christmas. But he wonders if constituents really want their representatives spending time on such matters. "There are many more pressing issues that we've been elected to address," Litvack said. "We're a nation of many faiths and we as leaders should be finding ways to build common ground and respect, not entrenching one side over another."
Advertising and merchant spokesmen are flabbergasted at Buttars' proposal. Dave Newbold, president of Richter7 Advertising and Public Relations, thinks the measure crosses the line, saying, "We may be primarily Christian but that doesn't mean that you force your language or beliefs on anybody. We live in a multicultural area and it's right and proper to be sensitive to the various cultures." And Jim Olsen, president of the Utah Retail Merchants Association, claims implementing such a resolution would be challenging. "A number of our members are national in nature and their ads, signage and promotions are done at a national level," Olsen said. "Any time we have states encouraging us to deviate from those national programs, it begins to cause problems."
And finally, a local civil rights lawyer chimed in. Brian Barnard claims the resolution could violate First Amendment rights depending on the motivation behind it. On the surface, he believes it doesn't violate the so-called "separation of church and state". But Barnard said that if Buttars bases the resolution on America being a Christian nation, that moves the measure over the line. Like many other secular humanists, Barnard falsely claims the Founding Fathers weren't Christians. You can see the religious affilations of the Founders for yourself HERE.
Once again, the phrase "separation of church and state" appears NOWHERE in the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment merely proclaims religious neutrality on the part of government.
Since this post was first published, KSL Channel 5, WorldNetDaily, and the Deseret News have picked up the story. Glen Warchol has also posted about it on the Salt Lake Crawler blog. But Buttars really hit the big time when Keith Olbermann highlighted him on his Dec. 2 program, video link HERE. Now embedded below:
Analysis: The primary value of Chris Buttars' proposed legislation is symbolic. It will show that we are no longer fighting militant secularization with one hand tied behind our backs. And Chris Buttars is the right man to run this play - he's proven that he's not afraid of criticism, and can succeed despite it.
The so-called "war against Christmas" has been waged by a wide variety of groups. But none have been more prominent than the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL's role was previously documented in a December 2007 post.