Ben Stein On Christmas and Religion

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday MorningCommentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein


One thought on “Ben Stein On Christmas and Religion

  1. Thank you Mr Stein
    I grew up from 1951 to 1966 in an area of Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. The district is still there but I do not know its make up of peoples today. During the years I lived there the population of Jewish people grew to be +/- 63% of the whole. I knew this because when there was a Jewish holiday, the Gentiles, as we were called back then, had a school holiday also. Well I know this is where I found out that it doesn’t matter who or what you are, your blood is red. The Jewish footbal and hockey players bled the same blood as everyone else.

    Later in life I lived in Nova Scotia where I took maring enginnering with the Canadian Coast Guard. There I met my first black person and for the love of me I couldn’t understand why the people in the southern USA didn’t like these people. I went on to live in BC, the North West Territories, and the Yukon. In these provinces I met and worked with Inuit, Dog Rib and Haida – First Nations people. I have learned that people are people and some are good, some are great, some give you anything and everything and do not ask for a stitch of payback. Then I have to say, there are those who are simply mean.
    In the 63 years of my life I have worked with Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, some people who claimed to be Atheists and those who have claimed to be “Born Again”. I have also worked with Muslims who never once said one bad thing about my beliefs of Christinity.
    I have to say that this movement by radicals and extremists to tear down the traditions of Christianity has tended to upset me somewhat. I enjoyed your articles from 2005 and now 2011. The articles did make me think and I did not laugh.

    In 1982 I was adopted by a 91 year old Haida Saint. His name was Moses Ingram. He cut my finger and asked me the colour. I of course said “Red” . He then stated all men in the world wanted to be like the indians of the world because they are all red inside. He was a strong and faithful Christian man but he never said anything about others beliefs nor their faith – he loved all men equally.

    Yes Mr. Stein – people bleed red and for some strange reason cannot get along that well and now the governments want to limit Christian holiday traditions while allowing leaway for others
    Well in my house we serve the Lord of Abraham. And we love all people equally. Thanks again for your “make us think” articles.

    P.S. – In River Heights in Winnipeg, the Jews called the Christmas trees they decorated “Hanukah Bushes”. And the presents they gave to everyone were as well received as the ones given to them by the Gentiles. Maybe an article on the people of Winnipeg Manitoba would help our governments understand that people can live together in peace and allow traditions to go on.

    Thanks for being a strong believer in the peoples of the world. I guess we will always have the poor and the mean with us.

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