Christmas is the time when the bureaucrats and judges who rule the United States launch their perennial war on Christianity. A recent skirmish in Boulder, Colorado, may give a hint of future directions the war may take. Boulder is a secular university town with several government agencies and “nonpolluting” computer industries, run politically by a “liberal” machine. Its public schools are good in science and extracurricular activities, but mediocre to unspeakable in many academic areas. Its second high school, Fairview (named for the view of the Rocky Mountains from the school, not for its hideous “modern” architecture), has had an annual Christmas show for over two decades, organized by choir director Ron Revier, a talented musician and conventional secularist. For 20 years or so the musical program, a hodgepodge of seasonal music, has ended with the student choir marching through the auditorium humming “Silent Night.” For the choir director, it was “a simple, magical moment of bonding.”

The bureaucrats who run the public schools thought otherwise. In 1992, district administrator Lydia Swice declared that humming “Silent Night” created “a religious service atmosphere” and could no longer be permitted. (Note bene, lector. There was no religious service. The people who run our country are intent on eliminating even the “atmosphere” of a religious service.) Last year Revier tried to salvage his finale by getting his hands on some repulsive New Age lyrics intended to be sung to the music of “Silent Night” while desecrating all that inspired that music. The bureaucrats brooded. Obviously, the desecration of a Christian tradition is to be encouraged. There was, however, another consideration. While the 300 students from six choirs marched out, singing this tripe, would the audience be rerunning in their minds and hearts the words a simple choirmaster wrote out of his Christian faith? The risk was too great. On the day before the musical program in 1994, Queen Herod sent down her edict. No singing. No humming. Our rulers’ war against the Christian tradition is total war. Better silence than “Silent Night.”

The night of the program the auditorium was full, as it is each year. Revier’s talented and committed students again put on an excellent program for their parents and the Boulder community. When it was over, the students started to file out in humiliating silence, a silence mandated by those who run our country. No one knows who started it. As the students filled the aisles of the auditorium, the entire audience rose to its feet, singing. Singing the words of “Silent Night.” The students joined in. The auditorium of Boulder’s Fairview High was filled with words and music proclaiming the peace and love sent into this world by the only true God, the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Glories rained from heaven above. Heavenly hosts sang, “Hallelujah.” As a contemporary educator might put it, “it was a magical moment of bonding.”

The traditions of what Bronson Alcott called “civil disobedience” began in religious obedience. Socrates in his Defence Speech uses almost the same words as Saint Peter before the Sanhedrin in Acts: “We must obey God rather than men.” Socrates did not believe, any more than followers of Jesus do, that we ought to avenge personal insults and injuries. The proclamation of God’s word is something else again. Christians have a moral and religious duty to disobey, to defy, a government intent on suppressing Christianity. Even secularists who want to continue to enjoy the blessings of civil government and scientific and artistic creativity, even of simple law and order, may want to ponder what George Washington warned in his “Farewell Address.” Whatever benefits education may bring to a certain type of mind, religion has been and must be the foundation of meaningful existence for most people and every society. Christianity pervades every aspect of American society, even of traditions that predate Christianity, such as science and self-government. Its disappearance will bring, is already bringing, chaos and tyranny. The regime that rules the United States must go, and each American must do his part, even if at first that part consists only in raising a joyful noise unto the Lord.