There’s something about Christmas that tends to make people nostalgic for the past. That’s ironic, from a Christian point of view, since the Feast of the Nativity is the quintessential celebration of the radically New (preceded, in most Christian traditions, by the season of Advent, the quintessential time for looking forward).Still, the association of Christmas with simpler and better times probably has something to do with the seasonal upsure of Cultural Right whining about the good old days of the 1950s or 1960s or even later, when Christians could celebrate this holiday without worrying about church-state separation or the sensibilities of Jews, Muslims or other, heathen folk.As it happens, I ran across a quote today that nicely encapsulates the belief in the hellward trajectory of society shorn of official Christian trappings:
God has been driven out of public life by the separation of Church and State; he has been driven out of science now that doubt has been raised to a system…. He has even been driven out of the family which is no longer considered sacred in its origins….
Want to guess who said that, and when? James Dobson? Richard Land? Bill O’Reilly? Last year, or maybe last week?Actually, it was Giuseppe Melchior Sarto, better known as Pope (and Saint) Pius X, circa 1903, as quoted in Eamon Duffy’s Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes.