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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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. csm  •  Dec 26, 2013 @12:18 pm

    The other day my Muslim neighbor and I exchanged “Merry Christmas” greetings as we’ve done for the several years we’ve known their family.

    In all may decades I’ve never come across anyone who’s had a problem with however they are greeted during the holidays, because most people just appreciate being greeted, period.

    The only “war” that’s going on is the one these wingnuts wage on common sense and decency.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 26, 2013 @12:24 pm

    Conservative Christian POV:
    And don’t ever sing “Oh Tannenbaum.”
    Too… Jewish.

  3. pluky  •  Dec 26, 2013 @12:33 pm

    And why wouldn’t a Muslim wish one a “Merry Christmas?” Last time I checked both Jesus (a.k.a. Issa) and his mother were venerated in Islam. In fact, the Koran mentions Mary more times than the Gospels.

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 26, 2013 @12:45 pm

    Not Dear at all Conservative Christians,
    The phrase “Happy Holidays” started to be used in stores – yes, corporate “persons,” your blessed “Job Creators,” started this, NOT the Liberals, or the MSM – because they didn’t want to offend non-Christians who also like to shop in stores and give presents at Christmas time, whether they’re Christians, non-Christians, religious, or not religious at all.
    They didn’t want to lose a single penny, in case someone felt offended by their store employees saying “Merry Christmas.”

    And you know what’s funny?
    I don’t remember hearing of anyone who was ever offended by being wished a “Merry Christmas,” because it was just a nice thing to do, to greet someone, or give them a well-meaning salutation as they’re leaving – no matter whether they were of a different religion, or not. Most people just said, “Merry Christmas” right back, regardless of their religious affiliation, or lack thereof. Because, that was a nice thing to do, too!

    It’s you thin-skinned, always-gotta-be-the-persecuted-victims, Christians, who took offense when store employees started saying “Happy Holidays’ for the purposes of maximizing profits.

    And you know what else is funny?
    Why weren’t you offended for decades, when you were wished, alternately, “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” since no store I’ve ever heard of forbids employees wishing other people a “Merry Christmas. Maybe the store recommends it, but it’s not like someone’s going to get dragged into Human Resources, and sh*t-canned, because they blurted out “Merry Christmas.”
    At least not until the Dominionist Christian Conservatives started their meme about “The War on Christmas,” on corporately owned communications mediums, like TV, radio, newspapers, etc.
    But ever since then, you Christian sheeple just join in your echo-chamber, and parrot what you’re told.

    You’re not in some persecuted minority, where you have to secretly draw fish in the sand, to identify one another.
    The Romans are long gone.
    And you Christians are all over the damn place!

    Find me a town in the US without a church somewhere nearby, and I swear, I’d look to move there, if I could.

    Get over yourselves!!!!

    “Happy Holidays!”
    And fuck you!!!

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 26, 2013 @1:16 pm

    Oh, and I don’t suppose our modern Puritans have any idea about the fact that the original Puritans punished those who celebrated Christmas.

  6. uncledad  •  Dec 26, 2013 @2:01 pm

    “Happy Holidays!”
    And f%$k you!!!

    hahahahohohoho. Let’s be honest here, the war on Christmas was invented by FOX news. This time of year is traditionally slow for the news business, most of the congress critters, think tankers, professional pundits have left DC to go back home and act like they are normal for a week or two. There just aint much going on. In the past reputable news outlets would just run puff pieces about this charity or that act of kindness, you know real feel good crap. Well the monsters that program FOX news can have none of that, they need to keep the rage and hate machine going full steam 24/7. So hey why not start the war on Christmas it’ll keep the dimwitted teatards revved up and the ad money from goldline and ageless male coming in, it’s a win win!

  7. Dan  •  Dec 26, 2013 @2:01 pm

    The other thing that struck me about “for the first time in 40 years” was: what was going on 40+ years ago (1973 and before)?

    I do not know if that date was significant in itself, or the magical “40 years” meme just sounded right at the time (40 being a mystical number in the Bible: 40 days and 40 nights, etc. e.g. http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/40.html et al).

  8. Dan  •  Dec 26, 2013 @2:05 pm

    Not to mention that when I was growing up, Real Christians(TM) thought Christmas was losing its significance because of the overcomercialization.

    Today’s nutcases worship only money, using the Bible as a pagan talisman (not meaning to denigrate pagans here).

  9. sunmusing  •  Dec 26, 2013 @2:08 pm

    I think, Maha, that the Pope is looking good but patience is a virtue…we haven’t heard it all from Pope Frank of los Catholics…May the Light of Wisdom shine upon his balding pate…Great Holidays to all………

  10. Stephen Stralka  •  Dec 26, 2013 @2:45 pm

    Yes, I think the key words are “tribe” and “pluralism.” And of course it’s not just about religion either, because the Tea Party is basically a tribal thing too. It’s about Us and Them. Setting boundaries on who gets to be a Real American.

    So really it’s kind of a barbarian uprising–a revolt of tribally minded people with a pre-Enlightenment mentality against the pluralistic society they live in.

  11. Gator90  •  Dec 26, 2013 @4:06 pm

    csm – “In all my decades I’ve never come across anyone who’s had a problem with however they are greeted during the holidays…”

    Me neither. As a Jew I appreciate the phrase “Happy Holidays” as a well-meaning nod to inclusion, and I also appreciate “Merry Christmas” as a pleasant and benign December expression of good wishes. It’s nice either way.

  12. Bonnie  •  Dec 26, 2013 @5:50 pm

    I believe that the attempt to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” originated in our system of capitalism. Every merchant trying to make extra money during the holidays realized to do that they needed to be inclusive of all religions and faiths. When it comes to the moneychangers in this country, they are extraordinarily ecumenical.

  13. erinyes  •  Dec 26, 2013 @7:04 pm

    “It’s nice either way” ain’t that the truth! Late December allows everybody to take a break and actually be nice to one another. People actually give each other a break in traffic, engage in trivial but friendly conversation, and help out families who are having a tough time.
    ‘Gulag, you crack me up, man. Don’t ever change.

  14. justme  •  Dec 26, 2013 @8:18 pm

    Oops stupid phone….christians have made a complete circus out of the birth of their Lord and savior. To “honor ” him by giving each other I pads ? Is this a joke? Whats with that? Its Jesus birthday…not ours so wtf?

  15. Bill Bush  •  Dec 26, 2013 @10:33 pm

    I’ve never had anyone but self-righteous, judgmental people bring this up in conversation. One day I may tell them that.

  16. Doug  •  Dec 26, 2013 @11:53 pm

    The “War on Christmas” is a hoax perpetrated on wingnuts. The basic, usually unspoken premise is that ‘This is a Christian Nation’. The argument, rebutted in the writings of the founding fathers, is that the Constitution does not set up a secular government with a separation of Church and State. The fraud contends that ‘liberals’, like the grinch, stole the Christian element of democracy, which is in their fantasy, a hybrid Christian/Democracy which tolerates false religions and prohibits excessive persecution.. In thier twisted narrative, the grinch, I mean liberals, stole the religious element, leaving only the secular part which was not how the original government or Constitution ran. This is pure, undiluted fertilizer.

    (Someday, gulag can teach me how to get around the twit filter, and I will use Navy jargon as he does.)

  17. Mike G  •  Dec 27, 2013 @12:45 am

    I’ve heard a hundred times more whining from rightwards about ‘Happy Holidays’ than I have ever heard complaints about saying ‘Merry Christmas’. This is more ginned-up phony complaining from people who are just dying to attach their ever-present sense of grievance to a new target. All the Fox Noise tribe are really demonstrating is how whiny, narrow-minded and stupid they are.

  18. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 27, 2013 @9:04 am

    Doug,
    I’m not sure, but in the the last few years, I think maha loosened-up the settings on her twit-filter.
    I always used “The Magic *” in the middle of an obvious curse-word. Then, I stopped after maha, after years of avoiding it, felt provoked enough to throw a few “F”-and-“S”-bombs in her posts, so I tried to see if I could get through.
    And I did!
    Or, maybe I was just f*cking lucky.

  19. Swami  •  Dec 27, 2013 @11:02 am

    The war on Christmas is just a facet of the Christian siege mentality. It’s a central component of the faith.. the persecution complex that makes Christians feel like they’re being set upon for understanding and defending the truth.
    It’s just more bullshit to make Christians feel like they’re victims

    “Oh…I’m being persecuted by the children of wrath because I love Jesus”

  20. Ed  •  Dec 27, 2013 @12:36 pm

    It has come to my attention that the messup of the late UPS deliveries was the work of a saboteur in the War on Christmas.

  21. uncledad  •  Dec 27, 2013 @12:36 pm

    “Oh…I’m being persecuted by the children of wrath because I love Jesus”

    Right on, Increasingly it is being used by right wingers as a default political defense. When caribou Barbie was called out for defending the duck dick without actually reading the article she immediately pulled out the cross:
    “So people who are so insulted and offended by what he said, evidently, are offended by what he was quoting in the Gospel”
    Hey if you disagree with me you disagree with Jesus, it’s just that simple!

  22. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 27, 2013 @1:11 pm

    ED,
    We all know who’s really at fault: TEU – The Elf Union.

  23. Swami  •  Dec 27, 2013 @7:14 pm

    Can’t end the conversation without hearing some input from old Bag-O- Shit.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/27/john-hagee-atheists_n_4509397.html

  24. erinyes  •  Dec 27, 2013 @7:23 pm

    Thanks, swami. I’m thinking hagee realizes the rapture has been proven to be a hoax.
    Now he wants atheists and secular humanists to get out of the country. I have some great news for the “pastor”; I have a s
    Social account set up for just this purpose ! He can deposit 1.5 million into my account, and my family and I are off to new Zealand. Three infidels gone ! I’ll ring him up and let him know.