Politics & Media
Dec 20, 2023, 06:28AM

America Needs Jesus for Christmas

Santa Claus gets enough love. What about our Lord and Savior?

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Christmas is a reminder of how badly the world needs Jesus and his teachings. It’s now a secular holiday in the United States, and Santa Claus is its symbol. I have nothing against Santa, but Christmas, for many, is a capitalistic endeavor. The season can result in increased generosity. That’s good, but ideally, the holiday serves as a time for reflection and a celebration of Christ's birth. His teachings remain as relevant as ever amid the problems the world faces in 2023.

Globally, we see countries at war and politicians and journalists who want these conflicts to escalate. Those of us who want these wars to end and don’t want to see civilian or soldier casualties are outside of the mainstream in American politics. Politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle want Ukraine to crush Russia and Israel to crush Palestine. They find clever new ways to justify civilian deaths while condemning those like Pope Francis, who wants the bloodshed to stop. You can find articles online calling you antisemitic if you support a ceasefire in Israel, and those who want to de-escalate tension in Eastern Europe are somehow pro-Putin. Vladimir Putin’s awful, but forgive those who oppose human beings killing one another.

Domestically, the United States faces problems, many of which are by choice. The number of children living in poverty in the United States more than doubled in 2022, in part because Congress refused to extend its expanded child tax credit; U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) opposed its renewal, claiming that people would use the money to buy drugs, rather than supporting their children. Thank goodness. Millions of children going into poverty is much better than a few people making poor decisions. Thanks to inflation, the child tax credit we currently have loses value every day.

Homelessness, violent crimes, suicides, and drug overdose deaths are rising, in addition to childhood poverty. Neither major party is offering feasible solutions to protecting the lives of unborn children, millions of Americans lack health insurance, big business continues to exploit foreign labor with wage theft and unethical practices.

Jesus teaches that we need to help the less fortunate. Good faith disagreement exists over the best way to do that, though the Catholic perspective understands this as a mix of private charity and government action. San Francisco somehow cleaned the streets of its homeless population ahead of the arrival of Chinese dictator Xi Jinping last month. I’ve no idea how they did this, but we know how to reduce homelessness. It involves making housing more affordable, which may include building more housing. States and municipalities can make emergency housing more available; Massachusetts has a right-to-shelter law. Drug and alcohol abuse, incarceration, mental health problems, and poverty contribute to homelessness, so what can we do to help fix those problems?

One can trace a direct correlation between widespread gun ownership and suicides, poor mental health and suicides, fentanyl crossing our borders and drug overdose deaths, addiction stigma, and some soft-on-crime policies and crime. Notice the United States has the worst fentanyl problem on earth because criminal enterprises can get the lethal drug into the country via a porous Southern border and thanks to a corrupt pharmaceutical industry that fuels opioid addiction. We can notice how ending cash bail has resulted in increased crime—and how gun owners are far more likely to die by suicide than non-gun owners.

The same is true of the other issues. Politicians lack serious solutions to decrease demand for abortion, so the abortion rate rises, despite states banning it, due to a turn in public opinion in favor of the life-destroying practice. America’s the only highly-developed country where millions lack health insurance, even though other first-world countries spend less on healthcare and have higher life expectancies; also, a universal healthcare system, if done right, could help reduce abortion, euthanasia, sex changes, etc.

The country could further crack down on wage theft, especially against foreigners, with tougher laws. Illegal immigrants working under the table for a sub-minimum wage in poor conditions face exploitation, and these practices depress wages for the working class. As the world becomes more secular, I can’t imagine Jesus becoming the face of Christmas again. Still, a greater emphasis on his teachings would improve the world.


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