Lincoln * Institute

Dr. Paul Kengor

Dr. Paul Kengor

Executive Director
Center for Vision & Values
at Grove City College

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Kengor's Corner

Hanging Mao on the Tree?

by Paul Kengor
 

With Christmas over, it may seem late to comment on something that happened over the holiday. Quite the contrary, what happened at the Obama White House this Christmas reaches far beyond the festive season, and deserves as much exposure as possible. So, with that, here it goes:

This past Christmas was one of the strangest in the long history of the White House–America's first house. A December 6 article in the New York Times noted that within the Obama White House "there had been internal discussions about making Christmas more inclusive and whether to display the crèche." Here again, liberals' definition of inclusiveness means exclusion–exclusion, that is, of the central/Christian reason for the season.

Well, Americans voted for change in the White House. And this would indeed break new ground, as no White House before–Democrat or Republican–deliberated the appropriateness of displaying a Nativity scene at Christmas.

This follows a profile in People magazine last year in which Barack Obama said that he and his wife do not give their children Christmas gifts.

But while gifts for children may not have been on display at the White House this year, and the display of a crèche was likewise in question, something peculiar was on display–a most curious image. Hung on the historic White House Christmas tree this year was a rather novel ornament: a glistening, glimmering Mao Tse-Tung.

How's that for inclusion? Baby Jesus–maybe, maybe not? Chairman Mao, yes!

I know this is unbelievable. But, hey, Christmas is filled with the seemingly inconceivable. And most unlike the Incarnation, this manifestation does not inspire hope.

Lo and behold, it is true. The bad boys at FoxNewsChannel and various conservative bloggers apparently noticed the twinkling little chairman behind Barack and Michelle Obama in a warm and fuzzy photo in front of the White House Christmas tree. For this, Fox received the righteous indignation of the liberal faithful for having the audacity to file this report.

And what of this? We've heard of presents under the tree, lights around the tree, and, as one anachronistic Christmas carol puts it, even candles on the tree. But Mao Tse-Tung on the tree? The Chinese communist dictator who was responsible for the deaths of 60-70 million people?

Needless to say, Mao is not traditionally associated with Christmas, just as he is not typically associated with, say, Mother Teresa–except in the mind of President Obama's former communications director Anita Dunn, who cites Mao and Mother Teresa as her two favorite philosophers. To the contrary, Mao brutally persecuted those who recognized Christmas. One of the first things he did when taking over China in October 1949 was boot out the Western missionaries.

Shortly thereafter, the blood began to flow, befitting the usual pattern: France, 1789; Russia, 1917; Cambodia, 1975. Mao's subsequent annihilation made him worthy not of Christmas ornamentation but the trophy of worst mass murderer in all of history. Yes, a puzzling choice for Christmas veneration.

In fact, the one figure who would have been most shocked by this confusing cameo at the Obama White House is Chairman Mao. Mao hated Christians, their blasted trees, their Christmas, and their Christ. And if Obama supporters are angry at me for daring to call attention to this borderline blasphemy–shoot the messenger–they should consider themselves lucky: If they had committed this malfeasance in China during Mao's reign, the Dear Leader would have executed them for counter-revolutionary activity.

The White House explanation has been so unclear as to be basically a non-response, other than to suggest that the Mao adornment was not hung by Barack Obama. The mysterious malefactor apparently ranges from some anonymous "local community group" to some zealous student or "school." Sure, happens all the time.

Paul Kengor's commentaries can be heard at www.americanradiojournal.com