President Obama's Veterans Affairs medical facility in Salem, Virginia has banned all Christmas trees and banned employees from saying "Merry Christmas"--- while a public school 7th grade teacher in Orange County California has assigned students to learn, and sing, an Islamic "Fight Song."
Employees have pushed back hard in Salem, Virginia---and a grandmother has confronted the school board in Southern California.
Have we lost our mind?
God help us.
Each year as Christmas approaches, Christmas trees adorn the White House---there is also a Capitol Christmas Tree and a National Christmas Tree, yet Obama's administration denies employees at a Veterans Administration Medical Center the freedom to say, "Merry Christmas."
Only after very strong push back from employees did the VA center concede and allow a Christmas tree.
They can now have a fir tree with decorations, but cannot utter words about Christmas, except in "personal work areas."
That means the employees can speak freely in places where the public usually cannot enter, and then and only then, "The recipient of the statement ['Merry Christmas'] must clearly understand that the speaker is speaking in his own personal capacity only."
And if they disobey?
If an employee says "Merry Christmas" to a veteran in the lobby---they can be punished---because "that constitutes preferring one religion over another in a government run facility."
"Separation of Church and State," they say.
But "separation" is very selective.
On the other side of the country in Southern California---Orange County, in a government run public school last week a teacher assigned her 7th grade class the task of learning and singing an Islamic "Fight Song."
CBS Los Angeles is reporting, "Amid heightened fears over terrorism, an Orange County teacher has found herself in trouble after ordering her class to sing a song about Islam."
A grandmother became aware of the assignment when her grandson brought home a copy of the assignment early last week.
Grandma and her daughter, the boy's mother, went to the school board meeting.
"I believe that by singing that song, the children feel comfortable believing that maybe Allah is the only god, and maybe that they should start following him. And that I'm not OK with," Susan Negron told the board.
Negron told the board she would have never known about this had her grandson not accidentally brought the assignment home.
Using the melody of the song, "This is my Fight Song," the lyrics of the Islamic Fight Song included these words:
"Like a sandstorm in the desert, sending camels into motion,
Like how a single faith can make a heart open,
They might only have one god,
But they can make an explosion."
Even a spokesman with the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Anaheim wondered about the teacher's intention, and said the teacher's timing was horrible---in other words she would have been more effective after some of the terrorist talk subsided.
The school district released a statement of apology and says it is looking into the matter.
Back in Virginia at the government run Veterans Medical Clinic; an email directive to all employees says even when those stringent curbs are obeyed, private religious speech can still be banned if managers decide such speech "interferes with carrying out official duties and responsibilities," threatening penalties against people who offer religious greetings even behind closed doors.
The email, which is included in the link above, also bars Christmas music.
It says that if a supervisor has allowed an employee to have music in his workspace, such music must "be secular (non-religious)."
Christmas trees, unlike the menorah, is not in itself a religious symbol. This has been upheld in a number of court cases.
But that's not the point. Forget Christmas trees.
Michael Berry, senior counsel with Liberty Institute, the largest law firm in the United States that litigates exclusively religious liberty cases, says, "At a time when our VA should be doing everything it can to honor our veterans, it instead denigrates them and their service."
In 1838, Abraham Lincoln, in a speech to a young men's association in Springfield, Illinois, said, "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Obviously he was talking in part about slavery.
But later in his speech he also warned that a "tyrant" could take over the American political system from within. Lincoln went on to say that to prevent this, Americans needed to "cultivate a political religion that emphasizes a reverence for laws."
He was not talking about a theocracy, and neither am I.
His was a statement of personal conviction that leaders must not---can not consider themselves above the law.
Lincoln's statement was also prophetic. He was speaking to such a time as this.
I'm talking more about the internal assault on our values, principles and heritage today on the radio.
Join me live from anywhere in the world at 9 AM PST or the rebroadcast at 7:30 PM. Here's how.
Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Bold. Be Blessed.