Let’s put Christ back in Christmas


Fifty years ago I recall billboards admonishing the public to not take Christ out of Christmas. It was a reaction to the fact that people had begun writing, “Xmas,” instead of “Christmas.” There was a hullabaloo about it, and my reaction, as a child, was to always spell out Christmas. I still do. Now, fifty years later, I am so appalled that Christ has, indeed, been taken out of Christmas. Recently, my grandson told me that he had seen a documentary on TV called Supersize Me.‑ He said that a roomful of grammar school kids (I believe he said they were 5th graders) were shown a series of pictures and were asked to identify each. They readily identified Ronald McDonald and other popular figures. When a picture of Jesus was flashed on the screen, none of them could identify who it was. Few things can make my jaw drop. This one did. After he left, I began reeling my mind back over the years in an effort to determine what turning point took Christ out of Christmas. My mind settled on one name: Madalyn Murray.‑

Madalyn was an atheist. She wasn’t just a philosophical atheist who disagreed with the majority of the people in the United States. She was a wretch. Madalyn set about to change things to suit her opinions. She attacked by using the U.S. Constitution’s stand regarding separation of church and state. In 1963 she took her case before the Supreme Court. She won her case, and there began, I believe, the downfall of what was once beautiful and a comfort to the heart. Once, we had school plays at Waynedale Grade School. We followed the Christmas story as outlined in the Bible, and took parts portraying Mary, Joseph, the Christ Child, shepherds, sheep, and trees. It was a very “looked-forward-to” time of year. We all sang Christmas carols and our voices rang out: Joy to the World, and ended up softly singing Silent Night, which brought all our parents to tears. This was the birthday of Jesus. It didn’t matter whether he was actually born on that exact date, it didn’t matter if Bethlehem had an inn. It didn’t matter if there was actually a star that wise men followed. It is a beautiful account, and in its own way, we all were a part of it. We were drawn into the beauty and wonder of it all. Things started changing after 1963 and the victory of Madalyn Murray.

No longer was there a Christmas Pageant. No longer could we sing carols that made reference to Jesus. It had begun. Christ was being taken out of Christmas in every corner of our lives. Few carolers went house-to-house singing.‑ Christmas became focused on Santa, not Jesus.‑ Madalyn won her fight to extract every semblance of Christ from our public lives. Let me fill you in about Madalyn:‑ she was not just an extremist who voiced her opinion. She was a hatemonger. Described as the “most hated woman in America” by Life Magazine in 1964. Madalyn‑was also noted to be “brash, profane, vulgar, and tight-fisted.” It was said that she couldn’t complete a sentence without using the “F” word. She was an avowed Communist with two illegitimate sons, sired by two different men. She was a guest on the Johnny Carson show but once. Her diatribe was said to have caused Johnny’s jaw to drop. She was filled with such hatred that the only people who associated with her were her Atheist club members. She claimed she had a membership of 50,000 but when investigated, was found to have only 2500 on her mailing list.

She became interested in a man by the name of David Waters. He was an ex-convict whom she apparently admired. In fact, she preferred ex-cons to do her office work.‑These ex-cons even referred to her as a verbally abusive liar who never spoke to them without sarcasm. And then…she abruptly disappeared on September 28, 1995.‑Madalyn vanished! Interestingly, no one officially even reported her missing for a year, according to the Austin P.D. However on that September day when she went missing, officers stated that the house was empty. There were no signs of violence, and the breakfast dishes were still on the table, along with her diabetic medication and three ankle-biting dogs.

One of her sons, Bill, declared, “I was a part of kicking God out of America.” Bill said his mother had an alcohol and drug problem.‑ She referred to him as a “postnatal abortion.”
In 2001, over five years after Madalyn’s disappearance, David Waters was hauled into court and, at that time made a confession as to what had become of Madalyn. On or about September 29, 1995, he admitted killing her. He said he had sawed her body into pieces and dumped her “parts” into barrels. He then transported them miles to a remote ranch where he buried what was left of her in a shallow grave. This is where her body parts were found.

I have taken note, this Christmas, to be specifically aware of how Madalyn has changed the focus of Christmas.‑Christmas trees are being sold as “Holiday Trees.” The word,‑”Christmas,” seems no longer acceptable. There are no Christmas performances by our children in the public school system. There are no Christian displays of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus on any public property. I think it is interesting to note that this squashing of Christmas is selective to Christians. “Happy Hanukkah” is acceptable, and Kwanzaa is a weeklong event, not just a holy day. Muslims’ holy month is called Ramadan, not the generic “fasting season.” They don’t get censored. Perhaps that is because Madalyn didn’t care about eliminating them. Her hatred was centered on Christians. And, to our sorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court listened to her, nay, agreed with her.

As I thumbed through all the advertisements in the newspaper this Sunday, I made a concerted effort to find the word “Christmas” in any advertisements. They weren’t there. Not there, because an Atheistic, hate-filled woman, won her grievance before the Supreme Court in 1963.‑In doing so, it has taken something very precious from us. I cannot believe that there is not some way of turning this thing around. Perhaps each of us, whenever we have the opportunity, can begin by greeting people, whether in stores, or work, or in friendship, with a hearty, Merry Christmas!”

Let’s each, in our own lives, vow to keep Christmas alive. We will not let Madalyn Murray change our hearts or our commitment to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Merry Christmas to all of my Waynedale friends!

The Waynedale News Staff
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