It’s “War on Christmas” Season Once Again!

Striking a blow for paganism.

Striking a blow for paganism.

Talking Points Memo (the real one):

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly dedicated Monday's "Talking Points Memo" segment to denouncing what he called a "'Happy Holidays' syndrome" propagated by "secular progressives" and "pressure groups like the ACLU."

As evidence, O'Reilly displayed a flyer for Macy's "Santa Land" that touts it will help customers with their "holiday wish list."

"So here's my question to Macy's: what holiday is Santa celebrating?" he asked. "The Winter Solstice? The birthday of a reindeer? What?"

A "War on Christmas" is perennially alleged to be underway by Christian conservatives, who blame "atheist activists" for various perceived infringements on the right to publicly observe an essentially religious holiday. In Texas this year, state legislators passed a "Merry Christmas Bill," affirming the right of public school students and teachers to "offer traditional greetings."

The truth is, of course, that Christmas has lost its sanctity to decades of commercialization far more than to any anti-religious political agenda. Aggrieved Christians also sometimes overvalue their right to free religious expression against the rights of others to not observe any religion. Businesses enforce holiday-neutral expressions for practical reasons. Public spaces and organizations have an obligation to be respectful of everyone. In the end, the "War on Christmas" seems to exist mostly in the minds of those who promote the idea that such a thing exists at all. We submit that for most Americans, it just isn't a big deal either way.

With that said, we've already been told to watch for a Colorado "Merry Christmas Bill" next session.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

    Largely well said

  2. BlueCat says:

    Are we to assume that Bill is upset about the Christian holiday Christmas not being properly recognized?  It seems odd, then, that he would be incensed over a perceived failure to grant proper Christian religious significance to the practice of having kids sit on the lap of a fat guy in a red suit for the purpose of asking him for presents. Does he see this as a religious practice tarnished by the use of the generic word "holiday?

    It seems the War on Christmas crowd is confused.  They seem to want to have their cake and eat it too by arguing for Christmas as a Christian holiday on the one hand and demanding huge public secular and or pagan displays that do, in fact, come from the pre-Christian solstice celebrations Bill derides, on the other. 

    For non-Christians it's simple. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the one Christians believe to be the Messiah, a specifically Christian holiday, and ought to be treated as such which means merchants, business owners and private citizens on their own property should have the right to make any kind of privately funded display they desire while public funds and government institutions should stay the hell out of it. 

    At the same time, we realize that's never going to happen because the overwhelming majority of Americans, practicing Christians or not, come from backgrounds that have been making a huge religious and secular deal over Christmas since Victorian times and a huge retail deal over it since sometime in the 20th century and we have no burning desire to spoil the majority's childlike fun. Though what's fun about Black Friday escapes me but I'm from a Jewish background so what do I know?

    Far from waging a war on Christmas, the vast majority non-Christians are extremely indulgent and good humored about the fact that our government does, in fact and contrary to our constitution, clearly spend the season promoting Christianity via public displays showing a very clear and very improper favoring of a particular religion, joining in the as that articular religion's beliefs are celebrated. 

    If mall managers seek to use neutral terms, they do so for customer relation reasons, not because armies of anti-Christmas warriors are threatening a boycott if they dare say 'Christmas' or because of government intervention. When some nice stranger says "Merry Christmas" to me I take it as well meant and, not having a Jewish Star armband or anything, don't expect  strangers to be aware that I'm in the tiny non-gentile minority.  If most mall owners and managers wish be cautious about any risk of offense, what's the harm?. 

    If Bill were sincere in his belief in the sanctity of Christmas he wouldn't choose something as divorced from any religious significance as Santa's (Holy?) List, whether you call it Holiday List or Christmas List, as a rallying point. Of course that's a ridiculous "if''. Bill's primary "religion" is profit.

  3. Urban Snowshoer says:

    Colorado Pols wrote: “The truth is, of course, that Christmas has lost its sanctity to decades of commercialization far more than to any anti-religious political agenda.”
     

    I thought it was forbideen were to insult the “job creators.”wink

  4. itlduso says:

    Well, this is what I wrote here on October 17 in the middle of the government shutdown debacle:

    "Let's not forget the Republican War on Christmas.  One of the GOP's proposals was to end the shutdown December 15 — ten days before Christmas.  That would have been a real War on Christmas affecting over 800,000 federal workers plus the ancillary effects on millions of businesses and the entire US economy.  Ten days before Christmas.  Will this end the fake War on Christmas waged by Fox News each year?  We can only hope."

    An observation two months later:

    Can you believe the GOP was actually threatening to keep the government shutdown until December 15???  One of the problems with our attention deficit society is that we tend to forget the crazy stuff that the GOP has done.  The latest iteration will be the GOP denying that they opposed Obamacare.  Believe me, it's coming.  No Republican on last Sunday's talk shows mentioned repealing Obamacare.  Today, Joe Scarborough tried to conflate GOP opposition to Obamacare as just normal "opportunistic" politics engaged in equally by Democrats.

    As the website begins to work and millions of people obtain health insurance, the GOP will not only deny opposing the law but will take credit for it.  Will the Dems let them off the hook again?

  5. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    I support the War on Christmas.
    A perfectly good pagan holiday stolen by the Catholic Church.
    Let's give it back to its true owners.

  6. MADCO says:

    The Puritans who came to North America back when, were largely kicked out of Merry Olde England for not celebrating Christmas as the pagan festival it  clearly was.

    Bill O'Reilly must have version where that part of Ephesians 25 says…except Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny.

     

  7. Well it's about time! I've been sittin' here at home all prepped and ready for a War on Something. Let me get my guns…

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