Huckabee and others who think the United States is (or was) a "Christian Nation" that has now somehow lost its way because of the ACLU and "secular humanists" like me, need to read up a little on their history.
Therefore, in the spirit of Christmas, I've edited and expanded this bit of history of Christmas in the United States from my original essay. You can read the complete essay here: The Truth About Christmas Trees
Separation of Church and State was much stronger when our country was founded than it is today. Christmas itself WAS NOT a government holiday. In fact, stores and businesses did not close on Christmas until just a little over 100 years ago. Congress held sessions on Christmas Day.
Scrooge was not unusual in expecting his employees to work on Christmas. It was not a "holiday." In fact it was Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" than began a movement toward making Christmas a Holiday. Dickens was considered a radical and a socialist and a general trouble maker.
Calvin and protestant leaders rejected both the celebration of Christmas and Easter as pagan trivializations of sacred events.
The White House NEVER had a Christmas tree until President Franklin Pierce, our 14th President set up a tree in 1856. And he was nearly impeached for adopting the German pagan tradition. It was a huge controversy.
Christmas DID NOT become a National Holiday until 1870!!!
Alabama was the first state to make Christmas an official holiday in 1836.
Believe it or not, the southern states celebration of Christmas was one of reasons for the Civil War!!!
It wasn't just slavery that set the southerners apart from the righteous Northerners. Southern States celebrated Christmas (Arkansas and Louisiana joined in passing Christmas Holiday laws), but Northern states strictly forbid any such celebration!! At one time you would be fined in Boston for openly celebrating Christmas!!
In the early 20th century Teddy Roosevelt again banned the Christmas Tree from the White House, but this time on the grounds of conservation. As an ardent conservationist, he led a battle against cutting down trees for decoration. The White House must set an example.
But I'm certainly not going to ban Christmas from these pages. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!