Terry Nelson on Fake Outrage

Terry Nelson on Fake Outrage January 7, 2014

because the Obamas didn’t go to Church for Christmas–like, you know, Reagan.

We can’t borrow trouble by getting our undies in a bunch about dumb stuff.  Lincoln, be it remembered, was assassinated while blowing off Church (because he was, ahem, not a Christian in any recognizable sense) and taking in a play on Good Friday.  Our political class has usually regarded Christianity as an ornament to the pursuit of power.  And some (*cough* Jefferson *cough*) have been much more deeply hostile to Christianity in general and Catholic faith in particular than modern president dare to be.  Obama is, indeed, hostile to the Church (see “HHS Mandate”) and amazingly hubristic in some of his (failed) attempts to boss Christians around (see, “Supreme Court Smackdown of Hosanna Tabor case”).  But, come on: the fact that he didn’t bother with Church is exactly as important as the fact that Reagan didn’t.


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  • Mark R

    Jan. 7 is Julian calendar Christmas. They still have time.

  • Rosemarie


    If he went to church faithfully they’d probably say he was doing it just for show, for the news cameras. President Clinton went to church every Sunday, did they love him for it?

    Yeah, I don’t understand the outrage either. I can’t get riled over this any more than I would get upset if I knew my neighbor didn’t go to church; it’s their life. If they really are pushing God aside, that would be their loss but getting all worked up about it won’t suddenly make them super-pious so better just to pray for them.

  • Charlotte

    Most Protestant churches don’t even have Christmas Day services. Some will even cancel normal services if Christmas falls on a Sunday. There is an increased interest in Christmas *Eve* services among *some* Protestants, but church going is still not an obligatory, or even a usual, part of Christmas for most of them. Point being–it’s no big deal for a Protestant not to go to church on Christmas.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      I didn’t know that. How odd NOT to go church on Christmas.

      • I didn’t know it either until I got married, when I learned my Baptist in-laws did not usually attend a service for Christmas (on the eve or the day), even though they are very devout. To this day I’m still bemused by it, but “oh well.”

        • When I was growing up in a charismatic off-shoot-of-the-Baptists congregation, we never went to church on Christmas or Christmas Eve, despite being – as you say – very devout. I remember being pretty annoyed that one year Christmas fell on a Sunday and my parents made us go to church. (It was pretty lightly attended, IIRC.)

          At the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) church we started attending when I was a senior in high school, we had a Lessons and Carols service on Christmas Eve, but that was my first experience with any kind of specifically Christmas service.

          • “I remember being pretty annoyed that one year Christmas fell on a Sunday and my parents made us go to church.”

            Heh. To this day I get annoyed if Christmas is on a Saturday or a Monday, because a Christmas eve or day Mass doesn’t fulfill the Sunday obligation.

      • CJ

        Grew up Seventh-Day Adventist. We didn’t have Christmas services if Christmas didn’t fall on Saturday. We also had a cabal of people who wouldn’t attend church in December because we sang Christmas hymns and such. Warmed-over pagan festival, you see.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          I can see how Silent Night and Joy to the World would totally corrupt your soul. 🙂

    • Is this true of mainline Protestant communities? I know most of my evangelical and pentecostal friends have Christmas Eve, but not Christmas Day services. But I was under the impression that the Reformation churches all celebrated Christmas at least semi-liturgically.

      • Ben

        Every Lutheran church I’m aware of celebrates Mass on Christmas Day (clue is in the name!), in addition to a Christmas Eve service. The Christmas Eve service is usually the largest.

  • Elaine S.

    “Lincoln… was assassinated while blowing off church”

    I dunno about that; did the Presbyterians (the church the Lincolns, or at least Mrs. Lincoln, formally joined while living in Springfield IL — a parish that still exists and has preserved “their” pew) or ANY Protestant denomination in the 19th century have services on Good Friday evening that he could have attended? If not, I don’t think they were “blowing off” anything.

    It is true, however, that some clergy of the time were scandalized by the fact that Lincoln had been attending a live theater show when he was killed. One, quoted in Carl Sandberg’s Lincoln biography, lamented that Lincoln had been killed at “the very gates of Hell” since theater was still, in some circles, considered a disreputable form of entertainment unbecoming of truly-true Christians. Others, however, didn’t have a problem with that. Another minister said of Lincoln that “if anyone had a good reason to go to the theater to forget his troubles for a while, he had.”

  • wlinden

    I remember plenty of outrage from lefties about Reagan’s “hypocrisy” in not going to church where they could disrupt the service with a manufactured mob.

  • Dave G.

    Actually, I read the article he linked to. The point seemed to be that Obama has attended church on Christmas for three years. This year he went out of his way to say Christians should remember the religious holiday, and then didn’t attend church for the first time in the last three years. A dig to be sure, but nothing more than a dig. Sort of jabbing at him for not doing what he’s done after telling Christians to do what he then didn’t do. It’s what we do. We criticize. We criticize those who criticize. We criticize the number of people criticizing people. Being critical of others is our generation’s grand contribution. And of course, that causes us to criticize the fact..