I’ve been a fan of The Prairie Home Companion since it went national, though I confess I often hit the “off” switch when host Garrison Keillor starts to sing, so I don’t exactly know what to make of his column this week in Salon – which also appeared in newspapers around the country.
Keillor is complaining about a Unitarian rewrite of the Christmas song “Silent Night” that pretty much removes all the Christian content.
Then a choleric Keillor goes on to say this, and I’ll quote the entire paragraph:
“Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that’s their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite ‘Silent Night.’ If you don’t believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn ‘Silent Night’ and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write ‘Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we’ll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah’? No, we didn’t.”
His primary target here are secular and non-orthodox Christians who he believes are stripping a religious holiday of its true meaning, but in the process he pretty much comes out and says it: Jews are a big part of the War on Christmas.
“White Christmas,” by that “Jewish guy” Irving Berlin, isn’t just shlock, its an assault on truly religious Christians.
A blog in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Keillor’s hometown paper, reports on the uproar the column has triggered on Twitter and Facebook and asks: “has the ‘Old Scout’ gone too far?
Paging Abe Foxman: it’ll be interesting to hear what the ADL has to say about this one.