Monday, December 20, 2004

Today, Lucianne Goldberg notes this story:

Bush is first president to choose yule card with a Scripture

About 2 million friends and supporters of President Bush found something in their mailboxes this month that no other president has offered: A holiday card with a Bible verse.
This card has a line from Psalms, 95:2: "Let us come before him with Thanksgiving and extol him with music and song."
Presidents have been sending season's greetings since Calvin Coolidge wrote "Merry Christmas" on White House stationery in 1927....
But this administration is the first to include Scripture in the annual card....
First lady Laura Bush supervises the card selection. She picked cards with Bible verses when her husband was governor and has continued to do so in the White House....

The Right always says that the liberal jihad against Christian decency began in the 1960s -- but it turns out that our Christ-hating operatives were in the White House from 1927 on! Wow! Who knew?

Think what this means. It doesn't just mean that those commies Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton sent cards without Bible verses -- it meant Ronald Reagan did, too! Saint Ronald! The president whose spiritual life of strong and quiet faith we've heard so much about from conservative authors in recent years (even though, oddly, we never seemed to hear about it when he was actually president).

And what about Bush himself? Laura "picked cards with Bible verses when her husband was governor and has continued to do so in the White House," the article tells us -- and yet, if this is the first White House card with a Bible verse ever, that means she didn't "continue to do so in the White House." (In fact, according to The Washington Post, the message in the Bushes' first White House Christmas card was "Your kindness adds to our holiday enjoyment. May the New Year bring health and happiness to you and those you love." "Holiday"! It said "holiday"! Not "Christmas"! And this was in 2001, mere months after 9/11! Jesus wept!)

The Bushes sent three non-biblical holiday cards in their first term. You don't suppose it's significant that they changed course just after they failed to increase their share of the Jewish vote significantly, do you?

(Sorry, this wasn't my best job of fact-checking: Here's the '01 Bush card, and here's the text of the '03 card. There are Bible verses in both, and I assume '02 was the same. My bad. But both do use the dread liberal Christ-hater word "holiday" rather than "Christmas" -- as, in fact, does the '04 card. What will we tell the children?)

Of course, wearing Christianity on your sleeve is all the rage on the right this season, as Slate notes:

The new gauntlet-throwing catch phrase from the right is "Merry Christmas" (can't you just see Eastwood saying it from behind the barrel of a gun?). Apparently, uttered in the right context—like on Fox News—those four syllables no longer convey simply holiday cheer, but a red-state/blue-state, my-god-is-better-than-yours challenge: I've got your "happy holidays" right here, buddy.

Which leads me to a story flagged this morning by Matt Drudge: It seems that people working for a country singer named Chely Wright have been calling up radio stations pretending to be members of soldiers' families in order to promote Wright's pro-military song "The Bumper of My SUV." Here are some of the lyrics:

I've got a bright red sticker on the back of my car Says United States Marines And yesterday a lady in a mini-van held up a middle finger at me Does she think she knows what I stand for Or the things that I believe Just by looking at a sticker for the US Marines On The Bumper Of My SUV

See, my brother, Chris, he's been in for more than 14 years now Our dad was in the Navy during Vietnam Did his duty then he got out And my grandpa earned his purple heart On the beach of Normandy That's why I've got a sticker for the US Marines On The Bumper Of My SUV...

What's the connection? Well, it occurs to me that just about every singer and songwriter in Nashville is going to try to rule the charts next December with a defiant, in-your-face, Christmas-is-Christ's-birthday-and-don't-try-to-cross-me-by-saying-it's-not-'cause-I'm-one-angry-country-boy song.

At least one of those songs is going to become a hit -- a big hit. It'll be regarded as a country classic, like "God Bless the USA" or "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)."

After that, I expect to see the singer of this song at a defiantly devout Christmas gathering in 2007, just outside the state house in Tallahassee, signaling to America that Jeb Bush is God's choice for president.

(Slate link via the Mahablog -- Barbara has a lot to say about Christ and Christmas.)

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