Katharine Debrecht is the author of "'Help! Mom! The 9th Circuit's Nabbed the Nativity! (or how the Liberals stole Christmas)".
Thom Hartmann interviewed Katharine Debrecht 4 December 2006
[Thom Hartmann] Katharine Debrecht is on the line with us. She has a new book. She's the author of several former books, the "Help! Mom" series. It's actually, you're creating a franchise here. Katharine.
[Katharine Debrecht] There's so much material out there, I could do a lot of "Help! Mom" books.
[Thom Hartmann] Indeed. On the cover you have Al Gore and Hillary Clinton fighting over baby Jesus and the nativity. The title of your new book: 'Help! Mom! The 9th Circuit's Nabbed the Nativity! (or how the Liberals stole Christmas)'. Why use Christmas, an occasion, you know, the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace, the man who said "Love your enemies", why use Christmas in such a hateful way to trash Liberals?
[Katharine Debrecht] It's not a hateful way; it just shows that they are silly and misguided. But let me ask you this: why use Christmas to wage a war on a religion that's going on in this country. I mean.
[Thom Hartmann] There is no war on religion in this country.
[Katharine Debrecht] Thom, you have so many instances where, you know, Santa Claus is deemed too religious for a breakfast with Santa for the kids. You can have the menorah, you can have the star and crescent in New York public schools but you can't have the nativity. I mean, there's examples all over the country that this is going on.
[Thom Hartmann] I don't disagree with you, Katherine that there are some places in the United States where I think that they've gone too far. But there is, wouldn't you agree, that there is a limit or that there is a reasonable point at which you say a school should, absolutely should discuss and to a certain extent even celebrate religious holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah and yet there is a line that you can step over where the school becomes essentially a church; a place of worship, and that's a line that we shouldn't cross?
[Katharine Debrecht] Well, I think there's no problem whatsoever with teaching kids about the different religions and celebrating those. But you can't exclude one, which is what's happening now with Christianity, as opposed to all the other religions.
[Thom Hartmann] I agree with you; I just don't…
[Katharine Debrecht] I think it's a wonderful thing. I was in Christian schools all my life and one of my favorite classes was world religions. It was fascinating to learn about other religions and I think that schools should allow that.
[Thom Hartmann] Yeah. I don't disagree.
[Katharine Debrecht] But look Thom, look what the message is that's being sent in these schools when they say, "OK, we can have this and this, but nothing Christian". It's sending a message to the kids that their religion is something profane and offensive that should only be celebrated behind closed doors.
[Thom Hartmann] Well, as I said, you may find a few misguided schools that I'm sure we'll be corrected on that but by and large that's not what's happening across the United States. This is a manufactured, you know, this whole Bill O'Reilly war on Christmas is a manufactured hysterical thing on the right.
[Katharine Debrecht] No.
[Thom Hartmann] Why not point out the fact that right now there are 32 million Americans who don't know where the next meal is coming from; 12 million of them are going to go to bed hungry tonight. That would be what Jesus would be talking about. Why don't you talk about that rather than put Al Gore on the cover of your book, who's got nothing to do with ninth circuit court?
[Katharine Debrecht] Because, Thom, it is a way to show children that religion is not something that is disgusting and should be celebrated in the private, behind closed doors in your private home. And, it also teaches how the far left in this country has driven the judicial system to basically bury the basic freedoms of free speech and of religion in this country.
[Thom Hartmann] This has got nothing to do with the far left.
[Katharine Debrecht] Sure it does!
[Thom Hartmann] And the system is not burying religion. They are saying it's fine for you to discuss religion in schools. You simply can't mandate it.
[Katharine Debrecht] Here's the problem is what you have is, you have like ACLU lawyers or one parent being offended and these schools and these city councils and everyone is so afraid of a lawsuit because of somehow religion is offensive to them, but are so afraid of a lawsuit that they are going to bow down to a few people who are absolutely just looking to be offended.
[Thom Hartmann] Again, as I said I, I'm not disagreeing with you that there are some schools, and these are the ones that you and Matt Drudge and everybody on the right who wants there to be a war on Christmas will hold up and say, "This is what's going on all over America." There are a few schools that are nutty.
[Katharine Debrecht] OK Thom, Thom. Did you think 20 years ago that this would be happening?
[Thom Hartmann] No, I didn't. I didn't think 20 years ago that the right would take this silly notion of war on Christmas and turn into a big national issue when people are literally going hungry in America. When there's 44 million people in America who have no health insurance and you guys want to talk about a phony war on Christmas? This seems like you are spitting in the face of Jesus and the saints.
[Katharine Debrecht] No, no!
[Thom Hartmann] I mean, this is trashing Christmas, what you are doing.
[Katharine Debrecht] No, Christmas is being trashed because it's not allowed. Look at 20 years ago; when you walked into a store it was OK to have people say, "Merry Christmas". Now you've got to say, "Happy holidays". I can barely find a Christmas card.
[Thom Hartmann] Oh, that's nonsense.
[Katharine Debrecht] Look what's happening! Look at the stores that are; Coles is an example. Look at the Sunday ads.
[Thom Hartmann] Who cares?
[Katharine Debrecht] Because it's Christmas!
[Thom Hartmann] It's Christmas, it's Hanukkah, it's a dozen different religions.
[Katharine Debrecht] Sure.
[Thom Hartmann] What's wrong with saying "Happy holidays"?
[Katharine Debrecht] Fine. But why can't somebody say "Merry Christmas"?
[Thom Hartmann] I'm not saying somebody…
[Katharine Debrecht] Ask the stores why they won't let people say, they have to say "Happy holidays".
[Thom Hartmann] Stores make business decisions.
[Katharine Debrecht] Thom, you've got a school in Wisconsin that told their teachers that they should refrain from saying "Merry Christmas".
[Thom Hartmann] Stores are not responding to government. They make business decisions.
[Katharine Debrecht] You have schools like in Wisconsin where the teachers are instructed not to say "Merry Christmas".
[Thom Hartmann] So, OK, so you found a school that has gone off the edge.
[Katharine Debrecht] You can look up all, it is going on all over in this country.
[Thom Hartmann] I don't believe it. I'm not seeing it. I'm not.
[Katharine Debrecht] You don't want to believe it.
[Thom Hartmann] No, I'm telling you.
[Katharine Debrecht] You know why? The reason why…
[Thom Hartmann] No, I'm telling you that you are missing the spirit of Christmas.
[Katharine Debrecht] This is the reason why the left gets so upset about this, because it exposes them for what they are. Because the far left in this country doesn't like Christmas because it represents a religion that has a moral code. And that moral code gets in the way of all their liberal agenda in this country.
[Thom Hartmann] Speaking as a Christian myself I find it offensive that anybody would use my religion as a way to trash individual politicians.
[Katharine Debrecht] It's not!
[Thom Hartmann] I think what you're doing is offensive. I think what you're doing is anti-Christian.
[Katharine Debrecht] Anti-Christian? I want Christ put in Christmas. How?
[Thom Hartmann] I think Jesus would look at this and say, "This is teaching hate".
[Katharine Debrecht] Have you read the book, Thom?
[Thom Hartmann] I have. I actually read your book this morning.
[Katharine Debrecht] And where is the hate in that?
[Thom Hartmann] Well, for example, here we have…
"Er, you see", the senator said, pacing back and forth, "Christmas may seem like a wonderful celebration to you, but not to us liberals. To us, it represents a religion with values and morals. Surely your teachers told you that values and morals interfere with the way we liberals like to run things."
[Thom Hartmann] I'm sorry, that is a lie, Katherine. I am a liberal, I am a Christian and I hold values and morals, and how can you say such a thing about me?
[Katharine Debrecht] Because you're, the far left in this country…
[Thom Hartmann] I am the far left in this country!
[Katharine Debrecht] …wants their own moral code. Oh, abortion's OK. Gay marriage is OK. "I define my moral code myself." There's nobody there…
[Thom Hartmann] I thought we were talking about Christmas.
[Katharine Debrecht] I thought we were too, but then you brought this up so I brought it.
[Thom Hartmann] So, the idea that I am concerned that there are people starving in America, that there are people who don't have health care in America, that means that I have no moral code.
[Katharine Debrecht] I don't get, that you can't equate that.
[Thom Hartmann] Or you don't give a damn about people who are alive; you are only concerned about fetuses.
[Katharine Debrecht] We can go down that road if you want, Thom.
[Thom Hartmann] Well, that's essentially what you just said! You said that because I think that women should have a right to choose an abortion I have no moral values, and I'm saying, because you don't care about whether people are starving in America, you have no moral values. It's a silly argument.
[Katharine Debrecht] Thom, it's moral relativism that you guys have. It's all, you know, "if I want it this way, OK".
[Thom Hartmann] You are picking and choosing Katharine Debrecht, author of 'Help! Mom! The 9th Circuit's Nabbed the Nativity!', you are picking and choosing the issues that you say are moral and I'm suggesting to you that when people in America are going to bed hungry, that is a moral crisis, and you would rather put Al Gore and Hillary Clinton on the cover your book to trash them for children, who have nothing to do with the ninth circuit court and have nothing to do with Christmas. This is a hateful thing you're doing.
[Katharine Debrecht] No it's not! It's an example to teach kids that they don't need to be ashamed of their religion and to explain to them why their religion is under attack in this country.
[Thom Hartmann] This has nothing to do with not being ashamed with religion.
[Katharine Debrecht] Sure it is! You can't have anything, oh no, we don't want Christ, and we don't want Christmas.
[Thom Hartmann] Also, again quoting from your book…
[Katharine Debrecht] We don't want crosses here. You know, police officers in this country can't have a cross on their uniforms or else they'll wind up getting sued. But you can throw a cross in a bucket of urine and that's considered art. That is what's going on.
[Thom Hartmann] I don't think that that's art, you know, and that is not what your book is talking about. There's no reference to that in your book.
[Katharine Debrecht] Of course not!
[Thom Hartmann] But in your book you do say:
As the boys walked next door to Congresswoman Clunkton's office…
[Thom Hartmann] That would be Congresswoman Clinton, obviously, her picture.
Johnny stopped and asked Luke, "Isn't she the lady who was trying to sell lima bean cookies at our bake sale?
[Thom Hartmann] I mean, number one, so…
[Katharine Debrecht] Is that hateful? It's humorous! It's just humorous!
All Luke could remember was that the cookies tasted worse than aunt Heather's fruitcake. Clunkton was signing pictures of herself while her assistant gave her a foot rub. She didn't seem interested in the boys' problems until they mentioned the TV cameras and other politicians who had been at their school. Then she grabbed her purse and immediately began applying makeup. When they said they were looking for the Constitution her face crinkled and grew very red. "Where on earth did you kids learn about that?" Clunkton raised her voice and slammed down her powder puff.
[Thom Hartmann] Hillary Clinton doesn't give a damn about the Constitution? This is hateful speech you're promulgating, Katharine Debrecht.
[Katharine Debrecht] It's not hateful speech. Look, the woman's running for president. She needs to have her views exposed so that people really know what she stands for.
[Thom Hartmann] And you think she doesn't care about the Constitution?
[Katharine Debrecht] She cares for the Constitution like the liberals do when they twist it around and it helps them and benefits them.
[Thom Hartmann] I just find this tragic, but I encourage our listeners to check it out and make up their own mind. 'Help! Mom! The 9th Circuit's Nabbed the Nativity!' Katharine Debrecht's new book (or how the Liberals stole Christmas). Katharine, thanks for coming on with us. It's always interesting talking with you.
[Katharine Debrecht] You too, Thom.
[Thom Hartmann] Thank you, and Merry Christmas.
[Katharine Debrecht] Merry Christmas to you too.
[Thom Hartmann] Thank you.
[Katharine Debrecht] Oh, I can't believe you said that.