Hanging Mao on the Tree?

I’ll begin this article with a few justifications to try to preempt irate emails from Obama supporters: First off, I write on faith, politics, and the presidency, having done books on the subject and lots of articles; this includes the faith of President Obama. Second, I’ve been recently writing on Mao’s China; specifically, on modern Americans’ dreadful ignorance of the horrors that happened there. Third, I most recently wrote on the exclusive attempts by liberals to be “inclusive” at Christmas time. Finally, I’ve waited until well after Christmas to do this article, not out of seasonal charity but because I couldn’t bear to keep silent anymore. 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. Of course, that’s their prerogative. It is, however, unusual, certainly compared to previous White House Christmases.

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, this time of year is filled with the seemingly inconceivable. And most unlike the Incarnation, this manifestation does not inspire hope. When I first heard about it, I was dumbfounded.

Lo and behold, it is true. The bad boys at the Fox News Channel 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. (Or, as we native Pittsburghers are expected to call it, “The Unity Tree.”) For this, Fox received the righteous indignation of the liberal faithful for having the audacity to file this report: another sin of anti-communism.

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 — a moment recently commemorated by oblivious New Yorkers — 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, as they did with Glenn Beck for exposing Anita Dunn’s invocation of Mao-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.

Dr. Paul Kengor


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Cooky642

    Hey! He’s the modern-day Herod! Give Chairman Mao a break.

    (I’m sure God’s heart broke–forgive the anthropromorphism–when Mao died unrepentant, probably blashpheming the God he didn’t believe in. Without a lot of prayer and a miracle or two, Obama will share the same fate.)

    (P.S. I’ve always given less for Christmas than for birthdays: I wanted my children–and, now, grandchildren–to realize Whose birthday it really is, and that it’s more important what we give to Him than to each other.)

  • Richard

    I am sonewhat surprised that our President could find no way of accusing President George W. Bush of hanging Mao on the tree. Not a bad idea.

  • peanutbutter

    Where can I find that picture? It’s not that I don’t believe it, but I gotta see that one!

  • Mary Kochan

    Click on the linked words “apparently noticed” in paragraph 8.

  • Jim McFillin

    This flawed “concept” of Christmas, where you consider excluding the Christ Child, and insert Chairman Mao instead, now explains to me why the President didn’t react with rage to the failed attempt by the Al Qaeda terrorist on Christmas Day!

    In my opinion, it was just another holiday to him, not a holy day of any important significance. That’s why he initially had no anger, no passion. He was totally focused on the failed attempt itself (everything OK), rather than the fact that the Muslim terrorists did it on a sacred day to faithful Christians.

    Jim McFillin
    Great Mills, MD