The holiday season always causes a frenzy with the religious right. From installing Baby Jesus on courthouse lawns to chastising businesses for not expressing Merry Christmas, political and religious conservatives are hell bent to force everyone to remember why we have Christmas.
Two items show how serious they are.
Liberty Counsel, a religious right group, started a “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign” to help Christians fight the “war” against Christmas. It provides a memo for concerned Christians to give to school and public officials that detail what is permissible and what is not. It also asks for people to report on stores that “refuse to recognize Christmas”.
Wal-Mart, the uber store, was forced to change its policy of expressing the more inclusive “Happy Holidays” after a threatened boycott by the Catholic League.
The e-mail response from a Wal-Mart customer service person (who was fired for the e-mail) actually described the truth behind many of the symbols Christians claim is Christmas. It included:
“Wal-Mart is a world wide organization and must remain conscious of this. 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.”
Not to mention that it has never been proven that Jesus was born on December 25th. Common stories have Christmas being created by Christians in order to get their new converts from worshiping Pagan gods like the Roman Saturnalia which had a celebration in December. The Christmas traditions we have today have roots in the old Pagan religion.
It is 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.
But the truth isn’t going to stop James Dobson, founder of “Focus on the Family”. He has a legal fund and lawyers ready to file lawsuits to combat “any improper attempts to censor the celebration of Christmas in schools and on public property,” through his Alliance Defense Fund.
Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News commentator, believes the greeting “Happy Holidays” offends Christians celebrating the Christmas season.
“It absolutely does. And I know that for a fact,” he declared on his program, “The O’Reilly Factor.”
According to the website “Media Matters”, O’Reilly is quoted as claiming there is “a very secret plan” by the “secular progressive” movement, which he said aims to “diminish Christian philosophy in the U.S.A.” and it starts with getting rid of “Merry Christmas”.
According to O’Reilly, the “secular progressive” movement has three elements:
* First, progressive financiers George Soros and Peter Lewis “pour money into the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union], they pour money into the smear websites, you know, they buy up a lot of media time.”
* Second, “the ACLU is their legal arm. … [T]he ACLU runs around the country suing everybody and intimidating people.”
* Third, “the smear websites are their media arm.”
O’Reilly said these three elements operate “in tandem”:
O’ REILLY: [Y]ou use your left-wing smear websites to go after anybody who stands up for Christmas. If you stand up for Christmas, they come after you. So the tandem intimidates. The tandem intimidates. Suing on one hand; smearing on the other hand.
The result? According to O’Reilly:
O’ REILLY: In every secular progressive country, they’ve wiped out religion … Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, all of them. That’s the first step. Get the religion out of there, so that we can impose our big-government, progressive agenda.
Is there really a war against Christmas. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State says no. “They’re preparing a campaign to fight for Christmas in a war that in fact does not exist. This is just one more fund-raising gimmick for Jerry Falwell,” Lynn said.
And the ACLU?
The notion of a “war on Christmas” is “nonsense,” said Jeremy Gunn, director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.
Christians can put religious displays on church and personal property “and the ACLU will defend their right to do so,” said Gunn. “The issue is whether people want to have a political fight about putting religious displays on government property. We wonder why people are seeking such controversy. Is that the Christmas spirit?”
December is month full of festive celebrations of many different faiths and for those who celebrate the Solstice and I thought it was a positive development when businesses moved to be more inclusive by expressing “Happy Holidays”. It is unfortunate that some political and religious conservatives want to force you to focus on the birth of Jesus – a primarily Christian celebration.
Talk about a buzz killer.