What caused the financial crisis? The war on Christmas

In the Wall Street Journal, of all places, Daniel Henninger proposes an alternative theory to explain the ongoing economic meltdown.

Published November 20, 2008 9:55PM (EST)

Bill O'Reilly has competition for his reputation as the most dedicated soldier fighting against the "War on Christmas." In a column in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger, the deputy editor of the paper's editorial page, put himself on the front lines. Henniger argues that our inability to say "Merry Christmas" was a main factor leading to our current economic crisis. Henniger writes (h/t ThinkProgress):

This year we celebrate the desacralized "holidays" amid what is for many unprecedented economic ruin -- fortunes halved, jobs lost, homes foreclosed. People wonder, What happened? One man's theory: A nation whose people can't say "Merry Christmas" is a nation capable of ruining its own economy...

Responsibility and restraint are moral sentiments. Remorse is a product of conscience. None of these grow on trees. Each must be learned, taught, passed down. And so we come back to the disappearance of "Merry Christmas."

It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.

The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines.

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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