Forgive us, Sarah Palin, for we have sinned.
Anyone who has seen the former Governor of Alaska on Fox News knows that she is very, very disappointed by how many Americans are acting these days. And yes, she’s apparently keeping a list, and checking it twice. Palin's new book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas, lays out one of her primary laments, that culturally dominant Christianity has become slightly less culturally dominant over the past 40 years. She blames atheists and secular liberals, who are scheming to de-Christ the holiday. It’s a holiday book written by a scared person for scared people.
Secularists, Palin warns, want to take Christ out of Christmas and celebrate a winter festival that "launches on Black Friday and ends sometime after Kwanzaa." She claims that many people "hold Christmas in contempt" and "believe the holiday can be 'saved'" from its religious heritage.
But Christmas, she argues, is "not about a holiday at all. It's about that little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, who arrived long before hope and change became political manipulations. It's about Christ and our ability to worship Him freely. It's about America, and what liberty truly means in our day-to-day lives."
Yes, there’s a conspiracy lurking under those Happy Kwanzaa! signs. Palin believes the enemies of Christmas want to “make true religious freedom a thing of America’s past” by secularizing “our culture,” and their "'war on Christmas’ is the tip of the spear in a larger battle.”
The "Scrooges" include "Angry Atheists with Lawyers" (an actual chapter title) who just don't get it. The poster child is divorced dad Joe McScrooge, who is visiting his son's Christmas pageant. This character -- a loser in a smoky rental car -- is so incensed by a nativity scene that he has to mumble "Namaste" when he passes. He gets grumpy when greeted with a cheery "Merry Christmas!" and his hands tremble when he hears Christmas carols. Palin warns that there are "many such Scrooges all over America and "they're very angry."
And even though it's almost impossible for an atheist to get elected to political office in this country, she claims "an angry atheist with a lawyer is one of the most powerful persons in America."
Imploring Christians to reject the scourge of Scrooges, Palin says this fight is about overcoming the moral ills of non-belief: "Left to our own devices, without God in our lives, we drift toward evil." She continues: "The world's most murderous regimes -- from Nazi Germany, to Stalin's Russia, to Mao's China -- shared either a ruthless atheism or an explicitly rejection of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs (or both)."
Americans' rejection of established religions "isn't good for us individually and it's certainly not good for us culturally," Palin says, "when we reject a common core faith, it is difficult to maintain a common character, to protect common values."
Oh, and "there's a reason why voters don't necessarily like voting for an atheist." Atheists can't be trusted not to commit mass murder because there's no God keeping them in check. Voters, she explains, are rightfully suspicious of people “who don't believe he or she will someday have to answer to the Ultimate Authority." Godless people are the worst because "when we dictate our own morality, we are capable of anything." Attacking religion, with its spotless human rights record, “inevitably leads to an attack on the rights of the people," she concludes.
But Palin isn't content disparaging just atheists. She also doesn't think very highly ony non-Christian faith. This becomes apparent in her time-travel thought experiment, in which Palin visits her grandson at college around Christmas a few decades in the future. In this dystopian vision, all mention of Christ’s birth has been removed from the holiday. In this nightmare world, the college's "Vice Dean of Respect and Inclusion" wears Birkenstocks, and is dismissive of Christianity but proud of the campus's "foot-washing station” for Muslims.
When she reads a sign stating, "ANCHORAGE HONORS EID AL-ADHA," she snarks: "I wonder if local Eid observers have any luck tracking down a camel for their Festival of Sacrifice. I saw a caribou the other day, but not since my Middle East trips to visit our troops as head of the Alaska National Guard had I crossed a camel's path."
After many pages of parading her intolerance for just about everyone who isn’t exactly like her, Palin tries to wrestle free of that charge with a little pot-calling-kettle-black Ju-jitsu: "'Aren't the Muslim organizations more restrictive regarding gender roles and sexuality than these other groups, like the Christians? Aren't homosexuals regularly put to death in Muslim countries?"
In other words, you should not pick up Palin's book to read something that makes sense; you should pick it up for the recipes. Yes, she includes recipes, because even a God-hating, NPR-listening nascent mass-murderer likes rice krispie treats.