Not So Happy Holidays

President Bush's 2005 Christmas card. Some conservative Christians who received Christmas cards from the White House this month are grumbling that something was missing, Christmas. AP

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.


My grandchildren came home from kindergarten with a question: Why couldn't we celebrate Hanukah and Christmas like their friend Isabel?

Good question. Wouldn't all of us, believers and non-believers, agree that a certain truth runs through all three of the great religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam--that love is more powerful than hate, and that we are better off if we treat others as we wish to be treated?

So why shouldn't we learn from and celebrate something from all religions? And why do we so often forget that part and become bogged down in arguments over details?

Like last week when our White House Correspondent Bill Plante reported the President, a proud Evangelical Christian, is getting grief from those who believe his Christmas card is not Christmasy enough because it just says "Happy Holidays."

Bill pointed out the card does contain scripture from the Hebrew Bible, what Christians call the Old Testament, which, he noted, gives the card a sort of diversity insurance.

As I often do when politicians claim to know God's views, I called my source upstairs to doublecheck. Not to brag, but my sources up there are usually as good as those of the politicians and TV preachers. And, sure enough, when I asked what the feeling in heaven was about Christmas cards, my heavenly source just laughed.

"Frankly," he said, "we're more into the big picture up here. But the important thing to know about this is that God does have a divine sense of humor.

"After all," he said, "why else would he put up with you?"

He had me there.


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  • Scott Benjamin

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