Over the weekend, priest and Fox News analyst Father Jonathan Morris joked on-air that the hosts of “Fox & Friends Weekend” looked “so angry” about the War on Christmas. On Monday, TheBlaze connected with the priest to speak further about the ongoing assault on Christmas and to gain his insight and advice for Christians who find themselves frustrated over secularists’ attacks on the holiday — and on faith more generally.
During his segment on Fox, Morris noted that he believes that people should speak up against atheist activists, “but without losing the peace.” TheBlaze asked the faith leader and author of “God Wants You Happy: From Self-Help to God’s Help” to further explain his advice for believers in this regard.
“When I see people getting really worked up about this issue, I understand it and it is worthy of a discussion and worthy of an expression of our disagreement with the way in which these people go about removing Jesus from Christmas,” Morris said. “But we can’t allow our Christmas then to become an internal struggle and disdain for the people who are taking the meaning of Christmas away from us.”
If reactions to the War on Christmas aren’t kept in check, the priest argued that believers will allow the meaning of the holiday to be changed “in a fundamental way.” While he noted that there is a place for “righteous anger,” he described the importance of determining the differences between simply spouting off with no bounds and taking aim at atheists’ assaults on Christmas with love.
“Righteous anger is deciding that I’m not going to sit back silently in the face of evil, but rather I am going to speak out in love,” Morris said. “When we find ourselves having lost inner peace and finding ourselves disgruntled and upset…we’ve already decided we’re going to allow [atheist activists] to take Christmas away from our hearts.”
Despite explaining that he understands the angst among believers and that he by no means believes that people should refrain from speaking out against attacks, Morris also seeks to remind believers about Christ’s commands.
“The message that Jesus came to give to us was one of personal redemption and love and when we find ourselves resentful and bitter against somebody who might be doing something objectively wrong — it’s a time to reflect on the fact that we’re not responding well,” he continued. “Turn back to God and say, ‘I’m willing to follow your example of loving my enemy.'”
As far as the legalities of nativities on public property go, Morris said that the courts have generally been very positive about allowing religious displays, so long as local, state and federal governments are not establishing one religion over another. So, if a nativity display is allowed, then other faiths too — pending that their symbols are posted at an appropriate time — should be permitted to also seek representation in public space.
Atheists have taken this sentiment to mean that they, too, can post offensive messages aimed at debunking Christianity and insulting believers. Take, for instance, the anti-faith sign and the mock nativity that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) setup inside the Wisconsin state capitol building. Despite his view that all religious symbols should be allowed, Morris made a distinction in this instance.
“That has nothing to go with the free exercise — that’s harassment,” he said of the atheist display. “It’s harassment and other [religious] symbols should be permitted when they are representing a constituency in that community and when they’re timely and oriented toward the common good.”
In addition to dismissing these and other atheist activist tactics as acts of harassment, Morris said that he believes groups like the FFRF are motivated by “hatred.”
“I think it’s hatred for public expression of faith that they despise,” he told TheBlaze.
As for his quip to Fox News hosts, he said that he was merely being facetious over the weekend when he called them “angry.”
“They’re not angry about this stuff,” he said. “They were presenting the facts.”