Like the ubiquitous terror warnings we all enjoyed during the Bush administration, the “War on Christmas” is another conservative dog whistle meant to piss off conservatives and other believers who fall for the false warnings from conservative propaganda machines like FOX “news”. The latest “fire storm” was the lighting of the holiday tree in the capital building in Providence, Rhode Island. The incident shows that efforts to be inclusive in what is a religious holiday, is shouted down by conservative bigots trying to protect Christians privilege.
I hate writing about this fake war so I’ll let Jon Stewart and the Daily Show talk about it:
(if the video isn’t available here check out the Daily Show page)
In the first segment Stewart mentions that the Pilgrims outlawed Christmas in their colony in New England. They called Christmas decorations a sin and fined people 5 shillings if caught celebrating it.
It is also a fact that celebrating Christmas wasn’t a US Federal holiday until the 1870 when interest was revived by Washington Irving’s Christmas stories, German immigrants, and the homecomings of the Civil War years. The majority of the world still has different practices other than ‘Christmas’ which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism” and added that “Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal.”
So Gov. Lincoln Chaffee was correct when he said:
“If it’s in my house, it’s a Christmas tree, but when I’m representing all of Rhode Island, I have to be respectful of everyone. Now we can get back to next year’s budget … with pleasure.”
As Jon Stewart finishes the segment on his show:
Fox, you take for granted the ubiquity of Christmas. But if there has been a war, Christmas is the aggressor nation. Right now, every public space in the country looks like it got hit with a 500-lb. tinsel bomb. The White House looks like a Yuletide episode of Hoarders. Many of these displays are subsidized by — ah, what’s that thing you don’t want to spend on anything — taxpayer money!
You want a fight about something taking the Christ out of Christmas?
Whatever you think is the reason for the season, it does not involve Mariah Carey in a half a Santa suit presenting her ass to Justin Bieber like a horny bonobo.
And by the way, what if we all did go back to always calling them as Christmas trees and saying “Merry Christmas”? Would that make you happy?
STEVE DOOCY (11/30/2011): The good news is now some retailers are going back to using the word Christmas again. … But are they just doing it to make a quick buck? And if so, you OK with that?
We can’t win. “I mean, sure, they’re saying Merry Christmas, but do they mean it? And the way we want them to mean it, like, you know, that Jesus is their Savior?”
That is exactly why religious conservatives, egged on by the conservative media machine, gin up this “war” – to try and force their religion on the rest of us and to protect their Christian privilege.
*Update* By the way, in the Stewart video he mentions Congress working on Christmas Day in 1789 and for 67 years after that. It turns out that the History Channel (the source in the clip) got it wrong. It doesn’t change the other facts but I wanted to let the reader know. That PolitiFact check gave that claim a rare “Pants on Fire” judgement. They don’t even do that for all the false information seen on FOX “news”.