Several shoppers in the Melbourne suburb of Werribee expressed dismay recently, as their local shopping centre put up Christmas decorations with the message Merry Everything. For many people, this was a blatant contradiction of the Christian traditions that have shaped our nation.
James McPherson, an independent journalist, political commentator, and the host of Sky News program The Late Debate, recently joined us on 20Twenty to discuss his perspectives on what he refers to as the war on Christmas and the unsettling motivations driving it.
The War On Western Culture
‘This continual war on Western culture, trying to destroy everything that’s made the West great is tiresome and wearisome,’ said James. ‘But it’s also quite sinister.’
Christmas is traditionally the busiest time of year for retailers, and shopping centres expect to sell a huge volume of goods during this period. ‘I’m not sure whether the shopping centre management were trying to appeal to a multicultural society,’ said James, ‘Or were anticipating that people from other cultures might be offended by Christmas.’
James believes that what the centre has failed to understand is that people from other cultures chose to uproot and come to Australia. ‘They might not be Christian believers, but it’s the Judeo-Christian ethic that’s made the Western culture so attractive with all its freedoms.’
The nations around the world that are free are those that were birthed in a Judeo-Christian ethic. But we are now living in days where we can see those freedoms starting to erode. And the reason is we continually stomp all over the soil that’s produced those freedoms, and that is the Christian faith.
‘Jesus claims to be God, so you can’t sit on the fence with that,’ said James. ‘You either accept him or reject him. And we live in a culture which values more than anything else, personal autonomy. The idea that anyone, even God Himself, might have an opinion on our lives and be displeased with aspects of it, is highly offensive in a culture that prizes autonomy.’
Our culture is doing everything it can to rid any notion that we be accountable to anyone but ourselves, and that is what ultimately makes the Christian message offensive. We don’t like the idea that God is someone other than us.
‘The surprising thing about this story,’ said James, ‘is that within a couple of days the shopping centre completely backtracked. Such was the outcry from shoppers who said they would go somewhere else if they couldn’t acknowledge the word Christmas.’
James believes the lesson here is that Christians live in this culture, which means we are also responsible for it. For the sake of future generations, we need to take an interest in where things are heading and become involved in the process.
‘All credit to the residents of Werribee who didn’t just take this lying down,’ James said. ‘But they contacted the centre, expressed their displeasure and within a couple of days, Merry Christmas was back up in place of Merry Everything.’
Christianity Promotes Freedom
James advises that we all need to be active in deciding if we want a culture where we’re free to express our Christian faith. ‘We ought to be proud of it,’ he said. ‘We ought to promote it. Not everyone has to become a Christian, but even unbelievers should wish that the Christian faith was true.’
‘Because it’s the Christian faith that has created the most free societies in the history of the world.’
Listen to James’s full interview on 20Twenty below: