Christmas is back, and better than ever: Haven’t you heard? “People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again,” President Trump declared on Twitter on Christmas Eve, with an unmistakable note of triumph.
As has been widely pointed out, this whole enterprise is a farce. But it’s a particular kind of farce: One we might call a “Trumpish victory.” If a Pyrrhic victory is one that secures a minor win at the cost of a larger defeat, a Trumpish victory is a nominal success that illuminates an overall loss: In this case, interpreting a greeting-card salutation as a win for Christianity when it’s really another episode in a war of resentment that shares little with the Christian faith.
On the other hand, if you want to see the measure of a politician’s commitment to Christianity, try telling them something they don’t want to hear. In a Nov. 22 letter to the Senate analyzing the Republicans’ tax reform bill, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared that “Congress must . . . make certain that the nation does not further enshrine indifference toward the poor into law,” a most un-Christian practice, by amending its legislation to “better ensure a just and moral framework for all.” Congress didn’t listen.