SPOTLIGHT: ILLINOIS ORGY—ROME CONNECTION premieres Monday, Sept. 20 after Catholic Info Hour at 7 PM ET
WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - President Donald Trump, with one stroke of the pen, has made Christmas Eve a federal holiday this year.
Trump signed an executive order Friday that gives federal employees the day off before Christmas with pay. Christmas Day is already a federal holiday.
The president's order included the declaration that "All executive departments and agencies of the federal government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, the day before Christmas Day."
The year 2020 will be the first time in American history that the day before Christmas has been declared a federal holiday. Whereas presidents before him often gave half-days off on Christmas Eve, President Trump gave federal employees the day off for the past three years. This year, through his executive order, he made it official.
This is the latest move in President Trump's defense in the War on Christmas. Americans of a certain age remember the evolution of secular verbiage that gradually led retailers and the media to drop the word Christmas from their public lexicon. Society largely went from saying the popular "Merry Christmas" to "Happy holidays" almost overnight.
President Trump vowed to have none of that.
"When I first started campaigning, people were not allowed, or in some cases foolishly ashamed, to be using on stores merry Christmas, happy Christmas," said Trump. "They would say, 'Happy holidays.' They would have red walls, you would never see Christmas."
Trump's war against political correctness, which ignited his campaign in 2016, put an end to that.
"That was four years ago. Take a look at your stores nowadays. It's all merry Christmas again, merry Christmas again. They are proud of it," Trump continued. "I always said you're going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' again and that's what happened."
Not only has the president put Christmas back into Christmas, but more generally he has also attempted to reverse to secular trend of erasing the mention of God from our society. Trump courageously fought the growing anti-Christian trend, as he indicated at a National Day of Prayer service in 2019:
People are so proud to be using that beautiful word "God." And they are using the word "God" again and they are not hiding from it. And they are not being told to take it down. And they are not saying we cannot honor God. 'In God We Trust,' so important.
At that same prayer outing, Vice President Mike Pence, known more than Trump for his religiosity and social conservatism, lauded his boss as he introduced him.
Calling the president "a defender of faith," Pence said, "At a time when religious belief is often marginalized or even ridiculed, in this White House, under this president, we believe in prayer."
While his executive order allows for most federal employees to enjoy the day off before Christmas, there are some positions that cannot share the new holiday. The president added a paragraph to section 2 including an exemption.
"The heads of executive departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on Dec. 24, 2020 for reasons of national security, defense or other public need," it states.
In a communiqué on religion in his personal life, Trump recently came out as a non-denominational Christian.
"I grew up going to church with my family in New York City. My parents taught me the importance of faith and prayer from a young age. Though I was confirmed at a Presbyterian church as a child, I now consider myself to be a non-denominational Christian," he declared.
Melania, his wife and mother of his son Barron, is a Catholic.