Not too long ago, I got an email from my Dad. I copied and pasted the text of the email below. I do not know exactly where the email originally came from. I don't know exactly how much of this is actually from Ben Stein and how much is editorialized. I do know that Ben said some of this and that he did NOT say it all.
"Urban Legends" on about.com says perhaps 1/3 of it was actually written by Ben Stein. (see http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_ben_stein_christmas.htm). Towards the end, in the analysis, the Urban Legend article links to Ben's website so you can see what he actually said.
I will point out that the end of the "Urban Legends" article, the author does make a point that the White House has never actually referred to "Christmas Trees" as "Holiday Trees". And, of course, Ben's commentary is from 2005 (4 years before Obama took office), so it would have been really hard for him to criticize the Obama administration for making that switch.
I liked the sentiment of the email (or at least the parts that I think are Ben), though, and I thought I would share:
Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America ...----------------
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God ? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr.. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ok ... Sheppy back again.
I do want to point out that never in my life can I remember feeling "pushed around" for being a Christian. I hope that I have never made anyone feel intimidated in any way for not being a Christian. Personally, I don't care if you want to call your "Christmas Tree" a "Holiday Tree". Heck, I don't care if you want to call MY Christmas Tree a Holiday Tree. Call it "Sullivan" if you want to. The fact that people so easily offended about those kind of labels strikes me as remarkably silly.
I think more of the reason that the "world's going to hell" is because people get so easily offended over these types of tiny little details.
Lots of the email that I copied pasted above (the parts that I think were clearly NOT said by Ben Stein) strikes me as awfully Sodom-and-Gomorrah-wrathful-God-type rhetoric, which is not in the spirit of Christmas at all. That is just my opinion, obviously.
Anyway, I feel like I'm going to start rambling, so I'll stop now.
I do hope everyone has a happy Holiday Season (and a Merry Christmas), and I hope it doesn't offend you that I wrote that.