Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, December 26th, 2013.

War on Christmas: Status Update

Obama Administration

What strikes you about this paragraph?

The congressman is among a growing number of conservatives who have vowed to resist “the war on Christmas” that they say threatens to turn the holiday into a secular celebration. Many of them have charged, for example, that it’s become less politically correct to use a Christmas greeting exclusively.

Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, announced early this month that lawmakers are now allowed — for the first time in 40 years — to send holiday cards to constituents that say “Merry Christmas.”

OK, I boldfaced the part that struck me. This has been going on for 40 years? And it’s just now bothers you?

I’m assuming that when Miller says “not allowed” she means “not allowed to use their free franking privilege for religious purposes.” So who decided my tax dollars can underwrite somebody else’s religion? Don’t these people ever red the flipping Constitution?

Part of the problem here is that the Christianist tribe has expanded the idea of a “religious” holiday to include elements like shopping mall decorations and Santa Clause (but only if white) as “Christmas,” and therefore “religious,” and then they complain that “liberals” are trying to turn Christmas into a “secular” holiday as opposed to a religious one.

We don’t have to try, dears. You did that yourselves, a long time ago.

Now, I realize that the legend of Santa Claus evolved from stories about Saint Nicholas (270-343), but at this point the Jolly Old Elf resembles the Saint about as much as My Pretty Pony resembles Secretariat. (Among other legends, Nicholas is said to have punched out another bishop at the Council of Nicaea.)

Yes, Nicholas was said to have given secret gifts — to the poor — which has little to do with rioting WalMart shoppers trying to snag the last marked down iPad. And the practice of leaving presents under a decorated evergreen tree is relatively recent; the German tradition of decorated Christmas trees didn’t spread elsewhere until the 19th century.

Next they’ll be telling us there’s a “war on Easter” (a holiday possibly named after Ēostre, an Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess — bunnies? eggs? hello?) and a liberal disrespect for Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross because somebody doesn’t like pastel-colored marshmallow baby chicks.

This year some dippy woman defended Christ by assaulting a Salvation Army bell-ringer for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” This has got to be a peak example of missing the point.

I would be absolutely thrilled if Christians did re-claim Christmas as a religious holiday, emphasizing prayer, church attendance, and charity, and let the rest of us tone it down to a nice family get-together with less hype and expense.

However, there is evidence we are winning. First, the Pope is on mostly our side now. And then there’s this:

A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Group points to a shifting toward such pluralism, with close to half of Americans (49%) surveyed agreeing that stores and businesses should greet their customers with “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” instead of “merry Christmas”, out of respect for people of different faiths. This number is up from 44% when they conducted this survey in 2010.

That said, I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays as best you can.

See also “A Merrier Christmas for Liberal Christians.”

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