“People will tell you today that Christmas is really a Pagan festival; because many traditional features of it were taken from Pagans. What they do not seem to see is that, in so far as this is in any sense true, it only proves ancient Pagans were more sensible than modern Pagans.” — GK Chesterton.

If there’s a thing which I absolutely can not be accused of it is shying away from controversy or backing down from an argument when I think I’m right. In general. But then the general is not the particular and sometimes, only sometimes, I let a thing go, something said within my range of hearing, something written in published or personal form, where the argument just isn’t worth the effort and for the sake of peace alone, I’m quiet. I wouldn’t go so far as to say people have the right to be wrong, but it’s not always my issue, business or problem.

Historically I’ve devoted at least one entire day of the year to this particular, the highpoint of the Season of Peace and Goodwill to all Men, the 25th of December. It’s Christmas after all and there’s almost nothing that will start an argument, with my involvement, on Christmas Day. Even the days around it find me a more pliable individual all told. And there was a time, not so very long ago, when this was easy enough since almost everyone took the same view, shared the same value even, and a “Merry Christmas!” from or to somebody you might never speak to another time of year would draw a hearty response of same, “and a Happy New Year!”

You wouldn’t think then that it would be the people who are obsessed with safe spaces for all manner of people and things, the easily offended who insist on sensitivity, would be the ones to literally invade this calm. Unless you know them well.

When Catholicism, both clerical and of the faithful, was ascendant in Ireland these people called for “pluralism”, all they wanted was their voice to be heard, and dissent to be tolerated. I can’t speak for the hearing they got in the 1950s, very few alive today can, but by the 70s it was a potent call and practically guaranteed by the 80s. There’s no pluralism now of course, nor talk of it even. The institutional power of the Church is wrecked beyond apparent repair for good or ill. On Church and State, the Church didn’t just lose, it didn’t even just give up, it positively attacked itself. The institution changed sides somewhere along the way without anyone acknowledging the gravity, and without the Left acknowledging gratitude.

And the faithful, well they are mostly just embarrassed. Whatever they wanted, all they want now is to go to Mass and not hear the “Social Gospel”, and to leave Mass without the contemptuous stare of the local Liberal fanatic. You might even say they want pluralism. There’s no place for that in “modern Ireland” as distinct from the country every normal person is trying to live in.

I won’t say it was a fair fight, it wasn’t on either side, each used power when it had it with ruthless abandon, and a cruelty that makes the polite impossible. But the Liberals have it now, and so now the fight for decency, for space to breathe even has to be one against them. Nor is it good enough anymore to make the excuse of justified anger, in claiming a monopoly of young opinion they have claimed something else too, that the crushing cruelty of the Liberal Agenda comes from those who have no experiential justification, only ideological hate.

And Christmas itself has become the frontline. The one argument I wouldn’t have, the one day when everyone might just be let be, has become itself a battle. Santa Claus and tinsel, they’ve left alone for now, though Mrs Claus back home at the North Pole, while the gender wage gap widens, must surely concern us all. How many reindeer are female, lesbian, gay, trans, we’ve not been told and have we a right to know? Rudolf was bullied, we know that, and nothing was done, so there’s an institutionalised problem already. But we’ll get to that.

For now the battle surrounds the idea that Christmas is… Christmas, an annual festive celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. In their ongoing struggle against reality and facts there is literally nothing sacred.

Now let’s not make the classic error here of thinking, ah well, you would say that, because as a Christian you believe in the divinity of Christ and therefore making the central feature of Christmas about Jesus is a tautology. Nope, once again it is because it is. If they don’t like it that’s fine, if they don’t believe a word of the biblical story of Jesus Christ that’s fine too, the great thing about pluralism was supposed to be that you could believe in anything you like, or nothing at all, so long as it did no harm to anyone else. So they can ignore Christmas, or keep the tinsel and commercialism, eat the turkey (or not) and away we go, still Peace and Goodwill, and it can be to All People.

Not good enough, they are in power now, and anyone celebrating “Christmas” is oppressing all manner of minorities, collectively the majority. And the Liberals have taken up the challenge because if any of these minorities is not offended they have internalised their own self hatred and are part of the problem. The word should be banned, the representation is banned and shunted off to the private dwelling at best, a place where they tell us with a straight face it’s inherently homophobic to expect graphic displays of “Gay Pride” to stay. Isn’t it then inherently Christianophobic to exclude a crib from the foyer of Beaumont Hospital for example?

I’ve been accused of wanting to re-establish a theocratic State, but this isn’t about theocracy, it’s about freedom and more, it’s about respect. Ireland is, and has been a Christian nation for more than a thousand years and our heritage and culture are interwoven with that belief system in such delicate but crucial ways as to make it impossible to think of Ireland, authentic Irish Ireland, any other way. And before Christianity, many forms of Paganism were similarly interwoven into heritage and culture in crucial ways, ways which Christianity accepted and accommodated. I don’t have to believe that Fionn mac Cumhaill tasted the Salmon of Knowledge to know that, as a story, it is part of who I am.

Ireland is and ought to be a Christian Nation, it is part of who we are, and who we are is part of the Christian story too. And there are worse things to espouse than “Love thy neighbour as thyself”. You don’t have to believe that a child was born in a stable in Bethlehem to know this.

Believe what you like, unless it’s harmful to others, but leave the space for others to believe what they like insofar as it does you no harm. Ancient Paganism in Ireland accepted this, Atheism accepts it. The Militant Atheism of the Liberal Left does not and cannot because it has only ever argued for the freedom to believe whatever they say must be believed, their creed is non-adaptive to differing culture, or anything truly diverse, it is monochrome in its blandness, and vicious in its intolerance.

I’m ranting now, but at least I know I am.

It’s Christmas Eve, it’s late in the evening, and Santy will visit my children tonight though he is mentioned nowhere in the Bible. We’ll go as a family to midnight Mass though, if they can stay awake. And tomorrow we’ll give thanks for our good fortunes of the year, for in so many ways we have had them, and maybe even a prayer for those who have not. And there will be Peace and Goodwill to all. All. I want to wish every member and supporter of the National Party a very special Merry Christmas, whatever you believe or don’t believe.

But say “Merry Christmas” to everyone you meet anyway. It’s become a Counter-Revolutionary act.

Nollaig Shona Daoibh, a chairde Gael.

Justin Barrett
Uachtarán An Pháirtí Náisiúnta