Friday, December 24, 2010

FROM THE BARREL OF MY PEN
By Gonzalo "Jun" Policarpio

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!



Christmas is always my happiest day of the year. I somehow cannot really explain this joyous feeling of mine. Perhaps because this day brings lots of memories from the past that were all full of joy mostly from my childhood days.

Like listening to Christmas Carols and stories of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, I never get tired unlike some comments I hear from jerks.

I cannot blame those jerks because they just don't understand the story of Christmas.

Once upon a time, I wrote a column in another Filipino American newspaper in New York complaining that maybe only one radio station in New York does play Christmas Carols during this season. I may have touched the nerve of some non-Christians when I noted a fact that most of these radio stations are managed or controlled by non-Christians or atheists. They called me a "bigot" which is not true. I just exercised my freedom of expression.

I shall always protect the American tradition of Christmas celebration especially when murmurings from political sectors call for the repeal of the law making Christmas a federal holiday.

When I ran for the U.S. Congress in 2008 to represent the 5th Congressional District of New York, I used the issue of incumbent Congressman Ackerman's negative vote on a Congressional Resolution honoring Christmas as an important American holiday as well as Christianity as a religion. Unfortunately I failed to get the endorsement of the Republican Party in New York and another candidate who is not a Christian continued the campaign line against her fellow non-Christian. It was good for her but still she lost the election. The passion of a Christian was not there.

Congressman Ackerman finally admitted he made a mistake in voting against the Congressional Resolution on Christmas. Personally I accepted his admission of error. A member of the U.S. Congress is duty bound to respect the sacred holidays of all religions in America because here unlike in other countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, there is freedom of religion.

In my current work as a consultant after retiring from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an adjudications officer, I informed a certain undocumented college graduate from China who expressed to me his devotion to Christ as a believer and a Christian practitioner about the process of asylum when a person has credible fear of going back to his or her country of birth. He said he was truly scared of being deported back to China where there is no freedom of religion.

Last month he told me that he was granted asylum in the United States. He also said he asked his church congregation to pray for him during the interview.

Let's not argue about it that the United States of America is the best country in the world because of what it stands for: LIBERTY.

Christmas also stands for liberty when Christ was born to save mankind from eternal death.

Lastly, though I am a staunch Republican, I salute President Barack Obama when he greeted the world during the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree in President's Park in Washington, DC in this manner: MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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