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Nativity sceneChristmastime is supposed to be the season of giving.  Why is so much being taken away from people?

As a man of the cloth and a staunch defender of the Judeo-Christian faith that built our great nation, one thing that always bothers me is when atheists seek to deprive us of the true reason for the season — the birth of Jesus.

There are legal and physical attacks on public Nativity scenes, restrictions on religious aspects of holiday programs and even those who want to essentially ban the “Merry Christmas” greeting.  Atheists seem to come of out hiding as stockings and tinsel make their appearance — acting like Grinches wanting to steal our Christmas spirit.

I think it’s a superiority complex on the part of atheists.  It’s an affront to the faith that founded our nation and made it the great power it is today.  Yet this attack on our heritage appears every year like the first snow.

Then there is the perversion of rampant consumerism.  It is the season of giving — but there are tasteful limits!

This year, a late Thanksgiving led many retailers to begin rolling out their big Christmas sales on Thanksgiving Day.  When people traditionally gather to count their blessings and spend quality time with family and friends, many were instead lured by the siren song of the shopping malls and big discounts on televisions and toys.

Why the scramble for the great deals at the expense of fellowship and a side of cranberry sauce?  The poor economy is obviously a factor.  Every penny needs to count in these uncertain times.  This makes yet another problem regarding our nation’s consumerism so frustrating.

Americans may be paying more at the registers — blockbuster sales or not and at all times of the year — just to sate the regulatory thirst of radical environmentalists.

Many big retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Costco, Target and J.C. Penney, are members of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).  This trade association is pushing an agenda of “sustainability” on its member companies.

Sustainability sounds innocent enough.  It’s not.  In an analysis of RILA’s sustainability agenda written by Dr. Bonner Cohen for The National Center for Public Policy Research, it’s noted: “[S]cratch beneath the surface of the high-minded sounding phrases, and the organization’s political agenda is revealed… [It] puts RILA squarely on the side of alarmists who, in the absence of any compelling data, blame human activities, i.e., the burning of fossil fuels, for climate change.”

Ah, climate change.  At the coldest time of the year, we are once again being led to believe that virtually everything we puny humans do is going to bring about planetary cataclysm.

RILA suggests stores retool the way they do business by implementing everything from redesigned stores to products and packaging that meets new sustainability standards.  Who’s going to pay for this overhaul?  The consumer.

Again, as a man of the cloth and an observer of scientific fact, I know there’s not a whole lot mankind can do to what God has given us that will change the course of planetary history.  Furthermore, climate data doesn’t match the alarmist claims of the green lobby.  So why are American consumers being forced to pay the tab for RILA’s sustainability schemes?

Blame the President.  Not Bush, but Obama.  RILA is effectively soft-peddling regulation that the Obama Administration would probably like to impose but either cannot due to political realities or procedural impediments.

So RILA, as Dr. Cohen explains, “has created a green straightjacket that will limit the choices of consumers to those products and technologies that meet the preconceived notions of RILA’s self-appointed stewards of sustainability.”

It’s Christmas — a time for goodwill towards all.  It’s not a time to try to gouge consumers for profits or politics just like it’s not the time to take away the ways they celebrate their faith.

How about CEOs enjoy the snow, exercise some faith and commit to a plan that benefits their consumers and their investors and not the schemes of the radical Grinches of the pro-regulation lobby?


Archbishop Council Nedd II, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network. He is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church in the United States and the Archbishop of Abu Dhabi.
 

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