December 20, 2005 | Jeff Wall

“Celebrating Christmas”…Where are the churches?

The most fascinating aspect of the current debate about taking the political correctness out of “celebrating” Christmas has been the absence and silence of the mainstream Christian church leaders.
The Prime Minister has a view, the Premier has a view, so do the radio “shock jocks”, and the citizenry has a view…but have we heard anything substantial in defence of the traditional Christmas from either the Catholic or Anglican Archbishops of Brisbane, for example?
And how can those who want to put an end to political correctness when it comes to Christmas celebrations expect to succeed when the Churches themselves have run up the white flag a long time ago?
My earliest memory of the church youth group I attended in the local Presbyterian Church – we C of E’s did not have one – was the sign about the stage which said:
“CHRISTmas, not Xmas – Put Christ Back into Christmas”.
And that was forty years ago!
Last week I drove past one of the more successful Anglican Parish Churches in the western suburbs to be confronted with the sign on the large notice board saying:
“Children’s Xmas Service…”
And the Churches wonder why they are increasingly, if not largely, irrelevant?
In the 1960’s when I was growing up the Christmas messages from Sir James Duhig and Sir Reginald Halse, respectively the Catholic and Church of England Archbishops of Brisbane, rated just behind that of The Queen.
This year, as in recent years, perhaps one television channel will run a 20 or 30 second clip from a Christian church leader. But only perhaps.
Over the weekend I asked a group of young people if they could name the Catholic or Anglican Archbishops of Brisbane. Several had no idea what I was talking about, none knew of either.
Times have changed, and it is nonsense to pretend that they have changed because we have become a “multi cultural” society.
True there are examples of local churches seeking to remain relevant in their local community. And the fundamentalists are stronger than ever, but the debate about restoring “Christmas” in the general community seems of less consequence to them.
So I thought I had better give the Anglicans one more chance to prove me wrong.
Looking up the new website of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane – the one that has been “under construction” for about five years – you could be excused for thinking that Christmas has passed.
The last message from the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, who is also titular head of the Church in Australia, is dated 5 November! At least it was 5 November 2005. That is an improvement on recent years! And it had nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas.
The Churches are happy to comment about the actions of federal and state governments.
But when it comes to the real work of the Church in the media – or the supposed real work of the Church – most are found wanting.
They have only themselves to blame when the political correct seem more rampant, and, I must say, effective than ever when it comes to taking “Christ out of Christmas”.

Posted by Jeff Wall at 6:32 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Religion


  1. Four churches were torched within 24 hours. Hardly a word of remonstrance dribbled from Catholic or Protestant church leaders. Civil libertarians, lawyers, rights activists and public media suddenly turned blind, deaf and dumb.
    If four windows of one or more mosques were broken within 24 hours, words of condemnations by the above “blind, deaf and dumb” will spit like a torrent.
    No wonder church attendance slumps.

    Comment by Alice — December 20, 2005 @ 9:27 am

  2. Perhaps the preaching is being done at the pulpit as opposed to in the media.

    Comment by Tom Newman — December 20, 2005 @ 11:13 am

  3. Please remember Christmas is religion – it is NOT! Christianity.
    Christ taught the way then man turned His teachings into religion.
    You know big buildings, authorative priesthood and not forgetting the – bells, smells, pretty frocks and silly hats. num7bat

    Comment by num7bat — December 28, 2005 @ 2:13 pm

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