War on Christmas Inspires Congressional Poetry

Note to Debaters: We'll be wrapping up the budget debate this week, but I couldn't resist getting a start on the "War on Christmas" -- conveniently, the two issues collide in the pages of the Congressional Record...

Having decided that after roughly two millennia, safeguarding Christmas has become too big a job for God to do all by himself, the U.S. Congress stepped in last week with a House resolution to help protect this sacred holiday.

Officially titled "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for those who celebrate Christmas" (the resolution was amended to tack on those last five words), H. Res. 579 passed by a vote of 401-22, sending a clear message to the anti-Christmas commies that the jig is up.

These liberal, secular Americans -- among them, anyone who dares alienate the Christian majority by saying "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas" -- are so powerful that they are bringing this joyous holiday to its knees. If we don't act fast, Christmas in America, which up until now has been solely about the arrival of the sale season baby Jesus, might be forever lost in a tidal wave of greed and gluttony people wishing each other "happy holidays."

After all, it's not as if there are any other religious or cultural holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the New Year that people might be gearing up for in mid- to late-December.

Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia offered this advice to his House colleagues: "we ought to express our passion for Christmas through deeds, not words; and we should not be distracted from our responsibility to uphold the spirit of Christmas as we consider the effects our actions on the federal budget will have on the least of us during this holiday season."

Yes, that quote came from the Congressional Record. Often it is dry and boring and full of minute points of parliamentary procedure, but once in a while there's a diamond in the rough. When I saw the words "Madam Speaker, I have a little poem," I knew I'd found such a gem. Michigan's Rep. John Dingell, celebrating not only the holidays but also 50 years in the House, exposed the absurdity of this exercise -- in verse:

'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House,
no bills were passed 'bout which Fox News could grouse.
Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,
so vacations in St. Barts soon should be near.
Katrina kids were all nestled snug in motel beds,
while visions of school and home danced in their heads.
In Iraq, our soldiers need supplies and a plan,
and nuclear weapons are being built in Iran.
Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell.
Americans feared we were in a fast track to ... well.
Wait, we need a distraction, something divisive and wily,
a fabrication straight from the mouth of O'Reilly.
We will pretend Christmas is under attack,
hold a vote to save it, then pat ourselves on the back.
Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger,
Wake up Congress, they're in no danger.
This time of year, we see Christmas everywhere we go,
From churches to homes to schools and, yes, even Costco.
What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy
when this is the season to unite us with joy.
At Christmastime, we're taught to unite.
We don't need a made-up reason to fight.
So on O'Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter and those right-wing blogs.
You should sit back and relax, have a few egg nogs.
'Tis the holiday season; enjoy it a pinch.
With all our real problems, do we really need another Grinch?
So to my friends and my colleagues, I say with delight,
a Merry Christmas to all, and to Bill O'Reilly, happy holidays.
Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas.

Rep. Gary Ackerman of New York offered this stinging rebuke of the so-called War on Christmas: "Is this another war we fight for reasons that do not exist?" He added, "If you wanted to protect the message of Christmas, come to the floor with real bills with substance. Where is your bill to house the homeless? Where is your bill to feed the needy? Where is your bill to clothe the naked? Where is your bill to protect senior citizens who will not be able to heat their homes this winter? Where is the substance?"

Such goodwill-toward-men policies are precisely the opposite of what the House has been putting forth, Virginia's Rep. Scott lamented. "For those who are hungry, we are cutting food stamps. For those who are sick, we are cutting Medicaid. For those who are in prison, we are imposing senseless mandatory minimums. For others we are ignoring increases in heating costs and cutting student loans. At the same time we are cutting those programs to help the least of us, we are cutting taxes for the wealthiest in society."

Scott's fellow Virginian, Rep. Jo Ann Davis, who introduced the resolution that inspired Dingell's poem, was asked if she would change it to include Hanukkah, Ramadan and Kwanzaa. Davis declined, saying she proposed the resolution because "the attack has been and is being made on red and green colors, on candy canes, on Santa Claus, which are not even religious symbols."

Ackerman was (understandably) incredulous at Davis's statement that "the attack has not been on the menorah or any of the other symbols of the other religions."

He responded, "when was the last time you walked into Wal-Mart and saw it saying 'Happy Hanukkah'? When did you walk into Toys 'R Us and see it saying 'Happy Kwanzaa'? Does that give me the right to say that my religion is under attack, the symbols of my faith or the holiday I wish to celebrate are under attack? It is not, and I am not going to be a crybaby and say that it is."

"One can always tell when the right wing is in political trouble. They invariably cook up some divisive culture war that has nothing to do with our real challenges in this country," opined Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California. "Meanwhile, how many casualties have there been in the so-called 'war on Christmas'? Here is a hint: several thousand less than in the war on Iraq."

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida spoke in support of Davis's resolution.

There is a war against Christmas. Our children cannot sing Christmas carols. They can only sing holiday tunes. And now, instead of a Christmas tree, advertising calls them holiday trees. There is no reason why we cannot honor and cherish the traditions of Christmas while also doing the same with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other valued religion celebrated in America. America should never single out a religion for the purposes of banning or looking down upon references to their holiday celebrations.

But we should single out a religion for the express written "protection" of Congress?

We would be better off if our representatives in Washington offered a little less symbolism and a lot more substance, as Ackerman demanded. Yet in spite of having other pressing business like looming budget deadlines congratulating Tony Stewart for winning the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship, the House found the time to rescue Santa Claus, Christmas carols and candy canes from the godless abyss into which secular Americans had so maliciously cast them.

Want to lead the Debate for a day? Click here for details.

By Emily Messner |  December 19, 2005; 9:43 AM ET  | Category:  Beltway Perspectives
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Comments

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So if the resolution passed, will the sanction the White House for their Holiday cards? Or will they sanction Laura Bush for saying HAppy Holidays in the White House Barney video?

I can't wait until they start saying that saying "Have a good weekend!" is anti-Sunday and therefore anti-Christian and needs protection.

However, I will not let them ruin my Christmas. I'll say what I want and I'll smile no matter what anyone says to me, because it isn't the actual words that matter. It is the sentiment that one wants to wish a friend or stranger a joyous time during these mostly sunless months.

Because really, Jesus Christ was born September 11, 3BC. So this whole celebration is on the wrong date; not even close!

Posted by: Joshua Danowitz | December 19, 2005 09:44 AM

I guess I problem taking any of this seriously when all the radio stations are playing carols 24/7. I just wish folks could grow up and get over it.

Posted by: jaycee | December 19, 2005 10:09 AM

It's all about rallying the base....

Republican politicians have wielded this tool very effectively of late.
It works very well, even if it is quite deceptive and downright untrue.

Posted by: vigor | December 19, 2005 10:31 AM

Have a Merry Christmas Emily.

Posted by: D.J. O'Connell | December 19, 2005 10:34 AM

There is a war on Christmas and this blog is proof. Tell me one major department store that has a sign up that says "Merry Christmas"?

This blog stinks! Why don't you libs spend your "holidays" in Red China where you belong.

This blog just like the WAPO needs a good journalistic B.M.

Posted by: The Lonemule | December 19, 2005 10:40 AM

Congress does have a point, Christmas is a Federal Holiday, so Christianity has been singled out for Congressional protection.

Posted by: Turnabout | December 19, 2005 10:43 AM

Lonemule needs a sedative methinks.

Posted by: Nemo | December 19, 2005 10:43 AM

Since I married a Jewish woman, I've begun to think differently about this. Just go anywhere during the next week, and pretend that you're not a Christian for a while (if you are). The result is just a little bit oppressive.

These "Representatives" who spent public time on this resolution are not representing me. I love Christmas but I am not in favor of making it a tool for exclusion of minorities among us - I don't think that is really in the spirit of the season.

Posted by: hoopey | December 19, 2005 10:47 AM

To Lonemule: If you think the blog stinks, don't post. I suggest you try one of the GOP echo blogs. You will feel a warm rush of self-satisfaction as everyone agrees with your opinions.

Posted by: Turnabout | December 19, 2005 10:50 AM

Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!!! Losers.

Posted by: Deus Vult | December 19, 2005 10:53 AM

Anyone who would actively choose to exclude their non-Christian neighbors when wishing people happiness during the winter holidays is a small-minded humbug who clearly has no clue what the spirit of Christmas is all about in the first place.

Seriously, where do these self-congratulatory religious nuts (who apparently believe they have a lock on morality) get off intentionally excluding non-Christians in their well-wishing? If conservative Christians are intentionally creating an ad campaign to demonstrate that they are immoral, cold-hearted bigots, they'd be hard pressed to do a better job.

Happy Holidays, everyone--even to you mean-spirited, holier-than-thou asses who aren't even big enough to wish me and mine the same in return. May your Holidays be bright and cheerful, and may you find it in your heart to wish goodwill toward ALL men.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 11:03 AM

Bah humbug!

Posted by: Scrooge | December 19, 2005 11:11 AM

Tempest in a teapot. Merry Christmas to all of you, and if you don't celebrate, than good on ya, have a nice day off.

Posted by: D. | December 19, 2005 11:14 AM

What? Christmas is a religious thing? I thought it was just a marketing tool to allow retailers to spike their revenues at the end of the year...

(And speaking of spike, isn't Christmas just another holiday to allow Spike TV to run James Bond 007 marathons over a long weekend?)

Posted by: Derek | December 19, 2005 11:24 AM

Oooh Ooh! Me! *raises hand* I'm spending my Christmas in Red China! And I can guarantee you that the malls are completely chock full of Christmas decorations with Christmas carols blaring over the sound systems non-stop. Even ones with lyrics like "Hark the herald angels sing!"

And you know what? Nobody cares!! It is not an issue! And we don't even have that many Christians here! Please, you Americans need to get over yourselves!

Posted by: Kea | December 19, 2005 11:25 AM

Christmas in Red China! (Sung to the tune of Jello Biafra's "Holiday in Cambodia"?). whoo hoo!!

Oh, btw, "we" Americans will get over ourselves when we are good and ready bud...

Posted by: D. | December 19, 2005 11:32 AM

Ooookay, I'm waiting!
In the meantime, it's some entertaining political theatre. Especially Jon Stewart's smackdown of Bill O'Reilly.

Posted by: Kea | December 19, 2005 11:38 AM

Kea,

I think that you nailed it. The world has learned from US what Christmas means. I've spent the holidays in HK & mainland PRC & they've captured the essence of Christmas: pumping up sales. "Merry Christmas" signs abound, but no one would claim that China reflects the true meaning of Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men.

For that matter, any institution that has to rely on Wal-Mart greeters to remain viable should probably examine its strategy.

Posted by: Paul | December 19, 2005 11:52 AM

Happy holidays is so inclusive, why mess with a good thing? If you need Christmas so bad, go to church! They celebrate it non-stop. Throughout the entire year they celebrate the life of Jesus; trust me they will fill your need.

I believe in the Bible, Jesus tells you to pray, but not in such a way that you are showing off to others. Do you really need to hear the words, can you not feel it in your heart?

What would Jesus do? He would wish you all a happy holiday and hope that the coming year brings good things to you and yours.

For true Christians, Christmas needs to be in your hearts, so that you can truly carry out the message of Christ. Do unto others, as you would want them to do unto you!

God bless us all!

Posted by: Joe | December 19, 2005 11:53 AM

Are there no prisons?" asked the Speaker of the House.

"Plenty of prisons," said the Liberal Democratic Congressman.

"And the Union workhouses?" demanded the Speaker. "Are they still in operation?"

"They are. Still," returned the Congressman, "I wish I could say they were not."

"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said the Speaker.

"Both very busy, sir."

"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said the Speaker. "I'm very glad to hear it and a Merry Christmas to you sir."

Posted by: Joe | December 19, 2005 12:01 PM

I do have one point to make in regard to your comment:

"After all, it's not as if there are any other religious or cultural holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the New Year that people might be gearing up for in mid- to late-December."

As far as I know, there is only one holiday that uses a decorated evergreen tree and I believe it is Christmas. That being the case, why is it so important to many in the PC crowd that all decorated evergreen's be called holiday trees rather than Christmas trees? If for reasons of political correctness we should call Christmas trees holiday trees then under that same token should we not call Menorahs holiday candles?

Posted by: Steve | December 19, 2005 12:30 PM

Here's the point. Who F'ing cares about any of this. Christians, say Merry Christmas, Jews say Happy Hannukah, liberals like myself can say Happy Holidays or fuck off, or whatever we want. Why does this freaking matter. There are a billion other things that deserve our attention and the attention of Congress. There is no war on Christmas, but there is war in Iraq, and other bills being passed to bloody the poor and weak among us. This whole debate is beneath us, our arguing is tired, lets move the fuck on, please please please please PLEASE. I don't want to argue. No one's religion is under attack because this does NOT exist. It is a bunch of bullshit invented by Fox News to distract of us all from having to feel bad that 90% are doing shit for those in our society and world who deserve and need our charity and the charity that Jesus, whom these Conservative Christians wave around like a cracker jack toy, would have implored we give. Turn off your TV, leave your house, forget the pundits and the idiot politicians who only care about ratings and creating arguments for our distraction, and go out and do something, practice that Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu spirit of love and charity. Regardless of our religions or political affiliations we all owe it to others and ourselves to make our lives and the lives of others better! DROP YOUR FAKE GUNS, AND YOUR FAKE RHETORIC, AND WALK OFF THE FAKE BATTELFIELD!

Posted by: Nick | December 19, 2005 12:49 PM

What's the big deal with the commercialization of Christmas? I like having a holiday where I get presents. Didn't Joseph sell the frankincense and myrrh on eBay?

Posted by: Turnabout | December 19, 2005 12:50 PM

"As far as you know" is absolutely correct.

For those with a limited sense of history, the Christians co-opted the Roman Saturnalia and the pagan winter solstice to get those drinkers in church. If you're a Christian, go ahead and call it a Christmas tree - that you're killing.

I mean really people, it's the Druids that should be upset, if anyone.

Posted by: asdg | December 19, 2005 12:52 PM

I say put the Soul back into Solstice!

Posted by: Annie Incognito | December 19, 2005 01:05 PM

None of you have any idea how ridiculous you all look.

Posted by: Will | December 19, 2005 01:06 PM

I truly wish ANY journalist would approach ANY topic from an even view, not only seek out comments or examples to support thier own view. Frankly I don't care what Emily's opinion is. Here's an idea...find something worth writing about, lay out the facts as known, or at least offer both sides, or please, go find another job.

Posted by: Dub | December 19, 2005 01:09 PM

To just answer one point:

Steve, "the PC crowd" does not find it "important" that trees get labeled as "holiday trees." This is not about trees. This is about wishing people you meet a, "happy holidays" and then, whoever they are and whatever their beliefs, leaving them with a little bit of good cheer rather than assaulting them with a, "Merry Christmas" which may make those for whom Christmas is important feel the same while excluding everyone else.

It's not about trees. And it never was. That was the House. Don't twist the debate and blame it on some amorphous "PC crowd."

Posted by: Matthew | December 19, 2005 01:10 PM

Well "Will", thanks for wasting your time to include yourself in the ridiculousness, eh?

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 01:11 PM

wow

Posted by: amazed | December 19, 2005 01:13 PM

At times like these, it is important to ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" The answer, of course, is that he would be celebrating Hanukkah.

Posted by: Rock Face | December 19, 2005 01:17 PM

Matt, do you "assault" non-American's when you offer, Happy 4th of July? I agree with your comment that Happy Holidays is a nice greeting that should offend few--perhaps only those who don't support any of the holidays practiced during this time of year. I guess we should just offer everyone a smile--truly, that ought to be enough.

Posted by: Dave | December 19, 2005 01:19 PM

I think the issue some are trying to address is the limitations being placed on those who do support Christmas, as at work where our "Holiday" Program can no longer include songs mentioning Jesus. I support not limiting this time to one religion, but please, let's not prohibit it either.

If you respond to this honestly and politely, I'll care what you have to say. Thank you.

Posted by: Hopefully Open | December 19, 2005 01:26 PM

I think the thing is, its not that singing or praising Jesus is bad, but in public schools, or workplaces, it has to be taken into consideration whether children or adults who aren't Christian should be made to sing thses songs, or call it a Christmas tree or say Merry Christmas. I think if that child or their parent has no problem with them singing that song or whatever regardless if Muslim or Jew, etc. then it is no problem at all. I think it is the consideration for peoples of other faiths that matter. Just like the fact that retail stores who want to be inclusive in the holidays so as to attract consumers of all backgrounds aren't attacking Christian faith, and if your a Christian and your faith is attacked by a Wal-Mart, well then you're pretty much a wimp. I mean look what Jesus, his disciples, and countless followers have faced. I mean, jeez, can you imagine being crucified, burned at the stake, beheaded, decapitated, disembowled, having yor breasts cut off, etc. for your faith. I mean, THAT is faith. Not whining because not everyone believes in your god or follows your religion, which of course co-opted Christmas from the pagans anyways. And conservatives call liberals whiners?

Posted by: N | December 19, 2005 01:36 PM

TWOC is quite possibly the greatest problem facing the nation did. Our heritage is under assault.

Posted by: DougJ | December 19, 2005 01:40 PM

I'm going to have to take that as sarcasm, otherwise my head may explode, please god please let that be sarcasm.

Posted by: N | December 19, 2005 01:41 PM

The Catholic Church in 366 A.D. hijacked what was a pagan holiday for thousands of years and called it "Christ's Mass." Now modern Christians are upset that their appropriated pagan holiday has more or less reverted to a pagan holiday.

In 1870, the Federal government turned a religious celebration into a Federal holiday in spite of the Constitution and case law mandating that the state should remain neutral with respect to ALL religions. Now that this blatant favoritism is being called into question, majority Christians are saying they are being persecuted. We're supposed to believe that 80% of the U.S. population is an oppressed minority.

Reality check: Even the most far-reaching efforts to stamp out religious expression in "the public square" affect only government property. No one is banning churches from displaying nativity scenes on their front lawns or homeowners from putting up religious decorations. If some private businesses decide to stick to secular holiday displays and salutations, that's their right. It is not an attack on Christianity but an accommodation to the growing religious diversity of this country.

Posted by: Claire | December 19, 2005 01:51 PM

Amen

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 01:52 PM

To Dub: If you are going to hang out internet it is really important you learn to distinguish opinion and comment columnists - like Emily - from journalists. For that matter, it would be wise to learn to recognize when you are hearing comment, not journalism, on or in other media also.

Merry Christmas, Y'All. That is commentary and opinion.

Posted by: Observer | December 19, 2005 01:57 PM

The real issue at the bottom of all this isn't the oppressions of the poor, pitiful xtians, whose religion is by far the most prevelent in this country. But it is the sense of oppression, paranoia and intolerance that some (not all) xtians feel. Once these people convince themselves (e.g. Lonemule) that they or their institutions are under "attack," they must strike back at everyone around them, either by attacking gays and lesbians, trying to force their prayer into schools or "defending" one of their holidays.

This latest brouhaha is one of the sillier instances of this behaviour, but the underlying reason is anything but silly. There are far too many xtians, including their prez, who are either pushing for or would acquiesce to a xtian-theocracy creeping over our Constitutional democracy. The Dominion movement in SC is a glaring example, but don't think it stops there. I believe these people are a far greater threat than al-Qaeda to our country. Al-Qaeda may hit us but they will never beat us. These xtians have a much better chance. Especially since their prez has seemingly declared a coup d'etat and placed himself above Congress, the courts and the law.

Posted by: james | December 19, 2005 01:59 PM

How about a history lesson, until the 1890's only Lutheran and Catholics celebrated Christmas with any energy. Christmas as we know it came with the advent of the industrial revolution: need to sale things, find something emotional to tag it to and go!.
Christmas has little to do with a child born 2000 years ago who's mother upon finding out she was pregnant said: "The rich will be brought down and the poor will be brought up." By the way,that is a quote from Luke, some right-wing Christian might like to take a look at it while they are pushing election of persons that make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Tim

Posted by: tim lusk | December 19, 2005 02:05 PM

I thought of the war on Xmas canard while listening to Bush's speech last night, wherein he made a point of closing with "Merry Christmas" and a quote from a Christmas Carol. Did anyone else interpret this as another one of his "coded messages" to his red-state, red-meat base?

Although I am hard pressed to see any connection between support for the war on xmas and the war on Iraq, I suspect it is only because I do not resonate on those red-state frequencies.

I sure hope this blog is not being monitored by the NSA.

Posted by: Kevin Anthony | December 19, 2005 02:09 PM

Christmas is much older than 2000 years, or much younger, depending how you look at it. The symbol of the Christmas tree goes back to prehistorical celebrations of tthe yuletide, at the time of the winter solstice. In terms of Christianity, no such celebration even existed until the Catholic church instituted the practice among the Celts, in an effort to subvert the yuletide, which they saw as a pagan practice. By all modern measures (including the ignorance of the tradition as expressed by the writer of this article), they have succeeded, even though the Christmas tree, mistletoe and holly continue, by far, as the strongest Christmas symbols.

Posted by: John Norman | December 19, 2005 02:14 PM

Matthew - Actually my point is not about trees but rather the animosity directed toward anything relating to Christmas. I think the angst in many of the posts, yours included, underscores my point. Many view this animosity as "a war on Christmas" and although the phrase may have been coined by Fox News, the angst toward Christmas has been seething for quite some time. I am a bit perplexed by that animosity. I think a truly tolerant society should not take offense to any greeting offered by a well-wisher.

Posted by: Steve | December 19, 2005 02:15 PM

Steve - There is no, "anomisity directed toward anything related to Christmas." This is NOT a fight started by the left.

If anything, the right should embrace whatever is happening as most of the action is shaking out in businesses. And, as private entities, they are better positioned than government to decide where their best interests lie, correct? And if they want to say, "Happy Holidays" and maximize their revenue instead of, "Merry Christmas" and not, then it should be welcomed by the right as obviously the efficient response.

Posted by: Matthew | December 19, 2005 02:24 PM

Why do the Democrats go along with this kind of crap and vote yes? They should just get up and walk out. The Republicans in power are anti-Christian, as proven by the budget bill they just passed. Jesus is coming, and boy is he pissed!

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 02:25 PM

I agree with James. The far right is positioning itself to run this country and turn it into a Christian-only Theocracy. This "War on Christmas" has Al-Queda written all over it. You know why we can't find Osama Bin Laden? He's in protective custody at FOX News, giving soundbites to Bill O'Reilly and Pat Robertson.

Posted by: Carolina | December 19, 2005 02:26 PM

Hum: I wonder how the right would feel if the same to-do was being made about Bill Clinton's birthday. And if they were forced to be met with a, "Happy Bill-Day!!!" everywhere they went.

Hum, Steve?

Posted by: Matthew | December 19, 2005 02:27 PM

To the poster above who said, "Jesus is coming, and boy is he pissed!"

I saw a bumper sticker today that agreed with your prediction that Jesus is coming. I'll let you in to a little secret - the bumper sticker suggested that we look busy...

Posted by: Derek | December 19, 2005 02:29 PM

Matthew, if Bill means that much to you then go for it and a Happy Bill-Day to you!

Posted by: Steve | December 19, 2005 02:33 PM

You know, this makes me think: when Geraldo started at FoxNews, I was wondering if FoxNews was going to mold him into their image. Now I see it's actually the reverse.

Posted by: Matthew | December 19, 2005 02:33 PM

Steve,

I have a hard time believing that you actually read all the posts, otherwise you would relize your question had already been answered from at least two different points of view.

1) If there is any "angst" (?) toward Christmas, it is that not all people are xtians or celebrate Christmas. As many have written, government has an obligation not to promote one religion over another or over non-religion. And businesses, wanting as many customers as possible, have an interest in casting as wide a net as possible. Neither of these constitute hostility, "angst" or anything else. Nobody is preventing anyone who wants to from celebrating Christmas, either religiously or secularly. There are no campaigns, zero, to put an end to Christmas or to curtail its celebration among those who wish to so.

2) There IS animosity toward many xtians, especially those on the right, who manufacture this and other controversies (Intelligent Design vs. Evolutionism anyone?) to create a "with-us-or-agin'-us" atmosphere. These same xtians also vigorously attack the rights and even lives of those they call enemies. Two examples of this are the war on non-heterosexuals, and the attack on the vaccine (I can't remember it's name at the moment) which would immunize girls from a certain cancer, but which the xtian right believes, without evidence, should be banned because it would "promote" promiscuity. Such actions do prokove the disgust and animosity of decent people of all religions or no religion. But this has nothing to do with Christmas.

Posted by: james | December 19, 2005 02:34 PM

Now I am more "left" than most of you can probably imagine. Nonetheless I submit that the origin of the (by now almost totally perverted) holiday celebrations which take place near the end of every year in this country was undeniably CHRISTMAS, the commemoration of the birth of an individual revered as Jesus Christ in Europe and North and South America and a few other places where the Christian religion was installed by means of sometimes more, sometimes less violence. So saying "Happy Holidays" excludes the adherents of the Christian religion from their own holiday.
Do those who advocate use of the neutral "Happy Holidays" claim to be especially considerate of Moslems, Buddhists, Jains etc. etc.? Or have they capitualated - knowingly or unknowingly - to the propaganda of the omnipresent zionist lobby (which, nota bene, is not to be confused with Jews in general)?

Posted by: Willi | December 19, 2005 02:43 PM

I just wanted to say, "Merry Christmas To All!"

Posted by: Brian | December 19, 2005 02:53 PM

Wow, Willi, "the omnipresent Zionist lobby"? I was just about to make a comment about how I love the holidays because Jews wrote all the greatest Christmas songs, but that pulled me up short. You may be more "left" than we can imagine - maybe so far left you've gone "right"...

By the way, saying "Happy Holidays" includes, not excludes. How does it exclude?

Posted by: jtroop | December 19, 2005 02:57 PM

James - I don't have the time or energy to speak to every point made in all these posts but we both know that this Christmas debate runs much deeper than the commercial aspect of it. For example I am a Christian (surprise) and I love my faith. Yet, for resasons not totally clear to me, to you I am an "xtian". What is up with that?

Posted by: Steve | December 19, 2005 02:59 PM

Ok, Willi, you do know that if the Christ child was born, it wasn't in December, right? And that the Christians placed it there to draw away adherents from the festival of the winter soltice? You do know that before rolling off righteous indignation on the usurping of December away from Christmas, right? Your spiel was just a little tongue-in-cheek thing, I'm sure.

Posted by: Matthew | December 19, 2005 03:03 PM

Happy Holidays does not exclude Chirstians from their holiday, but rather INCLUDES all holidays in the winter season, which as we have seen is quite a few. Thus, happy holidays, in the plural is seen as being for everyone rather than Merry Christmas for singling out Christianity's Christmas as the only one deserving of recognition. As it has been posted several times here (if people would read all the posts, rather than just the last three) pagan winter celebrations pre-empted Christmas, and in fact all of the major religions Christmas holiday have been around a long, long time. Therefore, by choosing to say happy holidays, we are merely trying not to assume someone celebrates Christmas instead of another winter holiday. There is certainly no hatred or anger aimed at Christians when this is said, and perhaps they should really just calm down. Focus on the real problems that discredit Christianity, i.e. the sort of hatred put forth by Pat Robertson, and his ilk towards non-Christians, non-heteros, women, etc. These "Christians" who are opposed to the actual teaching and love of Christ are the real danger.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 03:04 PM

There are two or three separate issues in this controversy. At one level, I am amazed at someone who could take offense at receiving a "happy holidays" greeting from another. No, it is not meant to harm or exclude the majority religion. It isn't war if a store says happy holiday. This is not a new fabrication. Anyone honest knows would admit to have seen "seasons greetings" cards in the past, which arguably is less about the holiday than the fashion that is being protested. At another level, explicitly Christian traditions should not be genericized. I find "holiday trees" or, worse, "Hannukah bushes" to trivialize the (my) Hannukah celebration. I'd rather have decorated donuts (suvganiot) become a mass symbol - at least it has something to do with the tradition of celebrating oil (like latkes for ashkenazim). Neverheless, there is an element of "we are in the majority and learn to live with it" behind the War on Christmas rhetoric, precisely because it attacks not only the "genericization" of the Christian celebration, but common expressions of inclusiveness. I urge you to look at the link below, a column by James Carroll of the Boston Globe discussing the issue of whether the "war" is an expression of hostility to minorities. Happy holidays!
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/12/19/what_would_cardinal_cushing_do/

Posted by: jon | December 19, 2005 03:08 PM

As a Jew I feel that I can add some perspective to this debate. During this time of year, I sometimes do feel excluded. However, Hanukah is not as religious a holiday as Christmas is. Our most religious holidays are the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur. It does not bother me one bit that no one ever wishes me a Happy New Year during that time of year. I understand that I am in the minority and that such are the circumstances of living in America with a Christian majority. When people greet me with Merry Christmas I never correct them, I go along with it. Calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree makes no difference; the symbol of a tree has no religious significance to me. So keep Christmas as it is, the reality of the situation is that Christmas is for Christians. Only in Israel would I expect to have government protect and observe my holidays.

Posted by: Beth | December 19, 2005 03:08 PM

Willi,

Please, we don't need any of that nonsense over here on the left. Though I am very critical of the Israeli government, I find the idea that a Zionist lobby has made the US "forget" Christmas to be completely assinine. I mean, huh? Where does that come from? Evidence?

Even if the change to "Happy Holidays" was a slow business/cultural process to acknowledge Haunnakah as the only other holiday celebrated at this time, then so what? If any other religions want to join in, great, the more the merrier. Sometimes Ramadan is around December. In some years, the 'Eid al-Kabir will fall around now. I don't know Jain, Hindu or Buddhist holidays, but like I said, they're welcome too.

In short, the fact that Christmas was the first holiday widely and publicly celebrated in America at this time of year is irrelevant. America has evolved, and will continue to evolve God willing, into a more pluralistic society which allows people to be together yet still maintain their identities as they chose. "Happy Holidays" is the catchall for "Merry Chrismas," "Happy Haunakah," "Eidak Mubarak" and anything else. All of these individual religions co-exist peacefully in "Happy Holidays." Is that, I wonder, what is really bothering the xmass warriors?

Posted by: james | December 19, 2005 03:15 PM

Whew! It took quite awhile to read through all of the sarcasm and hostility in these comments.

As Christians, we celebrate the birth and death of Jesus throughout the year. Therein lies the basis of our faith. Unfortunately, we've turned the day Christians have set aside as a celebration of his birth into a debate. I say "Merry Christmas" with sincere rejoicing in my heart. To debate this sentiment with anyone is to say that how we believe is up for discussion.

After reading all of the comments, maybe focusing on "Peace on earth, Goodwill to men" might be a more appropriate discussion. As decent human beings, no matter what your faith, isn't this the one thing we should be able to agree on?

Posted by: Bobbie | December 19, 2005 03:24 PM

In fact, if truth be known, the holiday of Christmas has always been more Pagan than Christian, with it's associations of Nordic divination, Celtic fertility rites, and Roman Mithraism. That is why John Calvin and other leaders of the Reformation abhorred it, why the Puritans refused to acknowledge it, much less celebrate it, and why it was even made illegal in Boston! The holiday was already too closely associated with the birth of older Pagan gods and heroes. And many of them (like Oedipus, Theseus, Hercules, Perseus, Jason, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithra, Horus and even Arthur) possessed a narrative of birth, death, and resurrection that was uncomfortably close to that of Jesus. And to make matters worse, many of them pre-dated the Christian Savior.

There had been a tradition in the West that Mary bore the child Jesus on the twenty-fifth day, but no one could seem to decide on the month. Finally, in 320 C.E., the Catholic Fathers in Rome decided to make it December, in an effort to co-opt the Mithraic celebration of the Romans and the Yule celebrations of the Celts and Saxons.

There was never much pretense that the date they finally chose was historically accurate. Shepherds just don't 'tend their flocks by night' in the high pastures in the dead of winter. But if one wishes to use the New Testament as historical evidence, this reference may point to sometime in the spring as the time of Jesus's birth. This is because the lambing season occurs in the spring and that is the only time when shepherds are likely to 'watch their flocks by night' -- to make sure the lambing goes well. Knowing this, the Eastern half of the Church continued to reject December 25, preferring a 'movable date' fixed by their astrologers according to the moon.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 03:25 PM

Permalink says,"This blog just like the WAPO needs a good journalistic B.M."
I say the White House and congress are both way onerdue for an enema.

Posted by: Hugh | December 19, 2005 03:26 PM

This is very silly. Fortunately, I'm in a silly mood.

I think the only rational response to Congress' action is to form an organization dedicated to the destruction of Christmas and all things Christian. We should immediately purchase billboards announcing the death of God in the southeastern U.S., print anti-Christmas cards, and deploy witty bumper stickers in force. We obviously have those crucifix-kissers on the run and, as a very wise leader once said, to retreat in the face of victory is shameful.

Onwards! Faith, Hope, and Love don't stand a chance!

Posted by: Pragmatist | December 19, 2005 03:29 PM

I was in the bookstore and saw John Gibson's book about "The War On Christmas". Wow, the truth of it really hit home after listening to the store play Christmas music for two hours non stop. Maybe he should try and sell his book in the supermarket, next to the Charmin, perhaps.

Posted by: tom | December 19, 2005 03:34 PM

Pragmatist-Unfortunately you've been beaten to the punch on your anti-Christian League. It already exists, its called the 700 Club.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 03:38 PM

Steve,

Actually, no I don't know that the debate over "Happy Holidays" runs any deeper than the commercial aspects of it (since it's commercial establishments being attacked by the "Merry Christmas"-ers). Or do you also have a problem with the government's obligations and with the wish to be inclusive? Like so many have said, there is no attack on Christmas, and nobody, much less you, has given a shred of evidence that there is one.

And, actually, I didn't refer to you or anyone specifically as an xtian (you need to read a little more carefully). I don't like the word Christian anymore. I used to be one, and my dear-departed Dad taught me a great deal about what Christianity could be. Basically, I learned to take to heart what Jesus said. Over time, I've come to believe that it doesn't matter whether Jesus was the Son of God, died for our sins, or whether any of the rest of the religious dogma is true. But I still take what Jesus said very seriously and try to live as best I can by his ideas. The religion called "Christianity" is, I think, an peverse and unnecessary growth on the legacy of Jesus, and which has pretty much nothing to do with what Jesus said. I want nothing to do with it, so I don't call myself a Christian, nor do name most who call themselves that with the title. There are a very few who call themselves Christians, like my Dad, who also don't care for the most of the religious crap, and I can respect them. But not people who claim Jesus as the founder of their religion then proceed to ignore everything he said.

For what it's worth, I also respect much of what K. Marx wrote, but don't call myself a Marxist or dignify Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist types with that label, for the same reasons. I also don't call people with PhD's "Doctor."

At some point, when you find the energy and time, answer my points and back up what you say. It's the same I ask of anyone I debate or argue with, and the same they have a right to expect of me.

Posted by: james | December 19, 2005 03:43 PM

Amazing!

When I was a kid in the 60s my fundamentlaist Christian parents always taught me to consider other people's feelings around Christmas because not everyone believed as we did. That was called being considerate of others. This was a Christian value.

Today Christianity has evolved into a religion of hate, spite and bullying, which partly explains why I am an atheist.

Emily said it all in her first sentence: "Having decided that after roughly two millennia, safeguarding Christmas has become too big a job for God to do all by himself..." Christians talk about how powerful their God is, but he's evidently not powerful enough to protect Christians from Commies, gays, liberals, Hollywood, or terrorists. Maybe after 2000 years of silence, they're beginning to catch on...

Posted by: Disgusted | December 19, 2005 03:53 PM

FYI...it's not the religion that's full of hate, spite and bullying...it's the individuals. Unfortunately, their opinions are soooooo off base, they draw the most attention. The radicals always draw the most press, no matter what religion they are!

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 04:05 PM

As a Catholic I don't resent anyone saying happy holidays to me. What I find troubling is the idea that saying Merry Christmas is bad because I might say it to someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas thus excluding them from...something.

Oh, and if I read one more sanctimonius post about how Christ wasn't born on Christmas and that Dec. 25 was an old pagan holiday I'll (mentally) scream. I don't understand what this proves about anything. Trying to demean a religious holiday by pointing out inconsequential factoids endears you to no one but your own intolerant buddies.

Posted by: DDS | December 19, 2005 04:19 PM

Maybe O'Reilly has a point about Christmas being gone from WalMart and Target et al. Given the widespread failure of modern parents to give their children a religious education, where else can they learn about Jesus except when their parents worship at the mall? If they don't hear about Jesus from their parents or at school, Target is the only place left for the poor children.

Now if only the good folks at Wallyworld could also teach the values of Christmas - you know, caring for the poor and disenfranchised, simple things like that. Turning the other cheek, peace, respect, tolerance. Etc. Then children could still get their values where their parents worship.

Posted by: patriot1957 | December 19, 2005 04:21 PM

Inconsequential pretty much sums up this blog. Say what you want, believe what you want. This is America.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 04:22 PM

Leave it to the right wing nut bags to politicize even Christmas. Why don't they get a life and leave Christmas out of their hate mongering fray. Does saying "merry christmas" now mean a person is taking a political stance? Does saying "merry christmas" now translate into "eff you if you're on the left?"

Christmas will never be the same now that right wing puss bags have drawn yet another line in the sand.

Posted by: Kim | December 19, 2005 04:23 PM

The reason people bring up the "factoid" that Christmas is a co-opted pagan holiday is the fact that it makes Christians 'claiming' this holiday season to be truly, irrevocably and always their day totally bogus and misleading. To pull all this shit about one stinking day, which is not a day brought about by Christ or Christians originally is stupid. What we are trying to say is that the season of winter has been a season for celebrating holidays long before Christ was supposedly born and that it is completely fair for Christians to have to remember when they go around bitching about how their faith is under attack. If that is an attack, multiculturalism, acceptance, etc. then your religion is in a sorry state.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 04:30 PM

I wish there was a war on Christmas and that Christmas would lose. It would be good riddance to a bastardization of a holiday that should have no place in true Christianity.

Many people have some of their most painful memories courtesy of Christmas. It's a time when the lonely are lonliest, when the poor are poorest and the hungry are the hungriest. It's a time when people drive themselves to distraction, go to parties they don't want to go to, and spend money they don't have. Christmas has become either a windfall for already innundated children or a time when a child's neglect or poverty is excaberated a million times over.

The right wingers and crass phonies can have Christmas. Stop shoving it down my throat.

Posted by: E.L. | December 19, 2005 04:35 PM

Gee, an odd or stupid sense of the House resolution! Where have you been Emy, they are passed all the time. This one angers you and fellow liberal atheists because it mentions G-O-D, lighten-up.'Greed and gluttony' yes,Emy, people celebrate even during religious holidays and give gifts. If we could be more like the Europeans, churches empty, very few believers, and so self-righteous. Maybe Rep. Akerman can pass a sense of the House that will encourage us to be more like the French. Happy Kwanza Emy

Posted by: george | December 19, 2005 04:41 PM

Right you are, Kim. The right wing has managed to politicize our flag, patriotism, God, the Eagle, our troops, Terri Schiavo, and now Christmas. This "War on Christmas" - injecting anger into what should be a season of joy, peace, and understanding - is about as low as one can get.

Posted by: Disgusted | December 19, 2005 04:44 PM

Not sure I understand the bruhaha about store displays. Would these offended Christian parties prefer an ad-campaign-generated, cartoon baby Jesus shilling for WalMart?

Because, really, nothing says respect for religion like using it to sell cheap toys and toilet paper.

And now I'm going to pour my secular, liberal self a glass of holiday eggnog.

Posted by: RaevynFox | December 19, 2005 04:53 PM

Oh George, you are so sad. You right wing gasbags invoke the French, Europeans, and the Commies anytime you are threatened by anything. Better red than right is what I say George. I am an atheist George, a flaming liberal atheist, but I have the deepest respect for many of the principles that Christ taught, principles that Christians like you and the passers of this bill have eschewed in your policy of domination. I also envy those Christians who are willing to accept that people of different religions, cultures, ethnicities should always be welcomed and provided for. The bill does not mention God, but it does seek to protect a religion that doesn't need protection because that religion's puppet is in the White House. When I first posted on this discussion, my statement was that this debate is below us. Get down off your pulpit preacher man and start worrying about practicing Christ's teaching rather than waving him around like a flag. To take a favorite quote/theme from the conservative pundits playbook: If you don't like heterogenity George, why don't you move to Nazi Germany!

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 04:56 PM

Can we cut all the superstitious nonsense? I thought Christmas was all about flashing lights, reindeer, presents, santa, candy canes, sleigh rides, and red/green decorations. When did all these nutty religious zealots start trying to drag Jesus Christ into it?

Can't you religious wingnuts just leave our American holidays alone already? Next thing you know they'll be trying to lay claim to the Easter Bunny and those cool football-shaped chocolatesgrass. Silly bastages.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 04:58 PM

If there's a liberal war on Christmas the memo didn't make it out to my liberal, Jim McDermott loving old Scanda-whovian Seattle neighborhood. Roughly 3/4 of the houses have lights, lawn decorations (including several nativity scenes), and stars in the windows. The churches have live nativity scenes on their lawns and times for several services posted. One of my neighbors just dropped of a note for a gathering in the local park on Wed eve to sing carols. The holiday (an abbreviation for Holy Day BTW) is in full swing. Our front door says "Merry Christmas" because it's what were celebrating in our house. Our cards say "Happy Holidays" because they are headed to houses of various faiths, and we wish to be respectful of that.

Sure some ridiculously silly stuff has happened (like a local school scrapping a 'giving tree' for a 'giving counter'), but given the obscenely long list of current problems in the world getting worked up over it seems even sillier.

To paraphrase Scott Simon's comments on NPR severals days ago -- perhaps Christians seeking the " true meaning of Christmas" should try looking for it in their church rather than at the mall.

Posted by: Norm | December 19, 2005 05:02 PM

Gee, what can we expect around Easter--another pagan holiday co-opted by Christians.

Posted by: Dona D | December 19, 2005 05:22 PM

to hell with all this xmas/cristmas bullshit - what I want to know is where the fuck are all my Christmas presents stashed and which way is it to the spiked cider?

Harty :~)

Posted by: xpotfarmer | December 19, 2005 05:26 PM

Seems to me as though most of you on here have pretty much forgotten the what the spirit of Christmas, or any other holiday this time of year, is all about. For Christians, it's celebrating Christ's birth, but for people who celebrate Hannakuh or Kwaanzaa and for Christians alike, it's also a time for family, giving to others (and not just our family and friends), quiet reflection on the year passed and the year ahead, and simply a time of joy.

Until I read this blog, that is. Most of you could suck the joy right out of an elementary school holiday pageant. Get outside and away from the computer, go to church or synagogue, or just take some time to reflect within yourself, and you'll see that none of this matters.

Posted by: Peyton | December 19, 2005 05:28 PM

I am a Muslim American and I don't think I was ever offended by someone saying Merry Christmas to me, after all, we honor Jesus Christ as messenger of God. I also don't think there is a war on Christmas, We have enough problems in this world than to be worried about whether to say "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas".

A tree is a symbol of Christams, so calling it the "Holiday tree" is in my openion over doing being PC. I mean let's be for real, it is a Christmas tree what you call it will not deminish what it stands for. I also don't think christmas replacing a pagan holiday means anything. December 25th marks a very important and significant day for Christians, the Coptics in Egypt the date is January 7th, so the date really means nothing, it is the celebration itself and what it stands for.

So to all, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza and Happy Eid. After all we do live in America and we are fighting the very thing that we are trying to propogate, intolerence of other people's relegions. Let Christmas be christmas and let the other relegions equal representation as well and wish each other a blessed year.

Posted by: Amazed | December 19, 2005 05:30 PM

Hey Lonemule (or is it jackass?)! Get over yourself--dissent is in the Constitution; your sentiments are much like the totalitarians you supposedly despise. I never used to believe that ignorant and conservative (or right wing) were synonyms--thanks for clearing THAT up

Posted by: bklyndan | December 19, 2005 05:39 PM

I wish The Republican Controlled Congress would get alarmed about something really urgent like: the Katrina Victims, the President Usurping His Power, Iraq, Soldiers, personal ethics of members. This topics borders on insanity or at the very least ignorance. Their majoring in minors.

Posted by: Sandy Steward | December 19, 2005 05:41 PM

and if this is a right wing attempt at a wedge issue, it is a banally stupid exercise. I can't believe that anyone but fringe scripture beaters takes this seriously.
I thought Christianity was about embracing your neighbor, not demanding he walk your path........

Posted by: bklyndan | December 19, 2005 05:42 PM

Exactly, and let that begin with the ultra-conservative right wing Christian nuts remembering what the season is about and what they are supposed to be celebrating, the birth of Jesus Christ. And what did Christ teach. Well a whole lot about accpetance, love, forgiveness, etc. etc. So stop worrying about who and how your holiday is celebrated and what it is called and celebrate it with love and charity towards those less fortunate and with a sober and humble eye on the real problems in this world. I seriously doubt Jesus would waste this much time on a silly pointless exercise of naming. No, he would be out healing lepers and crusading for the poor. Liberals didn't begin this battle, conservatives did. And its time they get off their high horse and practice a little bit of humility. When you get to the pearly gates, your life will not be judged by what candidate you gave to or what silly causes, like the War on Christmas you pursues, but what acts of accpetance and charity you performed.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 05:44 PM

That dude(s) who told liberals who hate Christmas to move to Red China was sort of on track. All of the Christmas presents are already made in Red China by anti-business socialists, working 18 hour days on the assembly line (without bathroom breaks) so that spoiled American children can have the next new toy to aid his development and character. Dirty liberals would be that much closer to the origin of all the toys!
Say Merry Christmas if you want to. Or Happy Holidays. Or nothing at all. Who gives a darn?
I say the ACLU get more concerned with NSA wiretaps than what kids sing at school and that John Gibson and the rest of the fundies (as my fervently Christian pastor calls them) get more concerned about the rape and slaughter of Black Christians in the Sudan.

Posted by: Yo | December 19, 2005 05:52 PM

The Armegeddonists continue to assert their grievances in their pursuit of legitimizing their pre-emptive doctrine. Now that Osama has shot first in the U.S., fundamentalists here and abroad regardless of faith, have granted themselves license to engage the war to end all wars. I pray that victory will come to those who choose peace, the universal value shared by the world's religions.

Peace and goodwill to all of you, please.

Posted by: fundamentalpacifist | December 19, 2005 05:54 PM

I just saw that Peyton Manning posted on this blog!!! Too bad you lost to San Diego, sucka.

Posted by: YO!!! | December 19, 2005 05:55 PM

I have to agree with Yo above. Both sides need to focus on the important issues. I'm as left as they come but I agree the ACLU can pick some silly fights. But the fundies, dear God Yo was right on the mark. Stop worrying about your faith being attacked, and start worrying about those of your faith and others being senslessly slaughtered while you and your ingrate president and Congress sit by and twiddle their thumbs!

The world is much more than what is right in front of you.

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 06:00 PM

I can't believe that an elected official has apparently solved all the problems in this country and is now dealing with the war on Christmas. What has happened to us. "Merry Christmass" vs. "Happy Holidays" is not the spirit of Christmas!!! Wake up people, there is hunger, poverty, death and destruction and it is not in the third world, but in our own back yard!!! where are our priorities???

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 06:07 PM

funniest washpost.com thread ever

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: | December 19, 2005 06:10 PM

re: PROTECTION OF CHRISTMAS or GOSH MA, CAN'T JESUS DEFEND HIMSELF?

Quite frankly, my dears, I would rather not have Congress take it upon itsself to protect a holiday which was not based in reality at all, I mean how many lambs are born in December? It was in fact made a Christian holiday because the Romans celebrated SATVRNALIA during December and the Christians wanted to safely celebrate their holiday at the same time.

For more information read The Emperor Julian's works on the subject.

Posted by: Kurt | December 19, 2005 06:42 PM

Very funny! I'd like to share my own take on the topic -- a song parody that "celebrates" Bill O'Reilly's faux war on Christmas:

Bill O'Reilly's Faux War On Christmas -- Song Parody
By Madeleine Begun Kane
(Sing to "Get Me To The Church On Time" from "My Fair Lady")

"Bill says we're waging war on Christmas,
Spouting another Fox News lie.
Bill's rarely proper.
Loves telling whoppers.
Ain't nothing that his fans won't buy.

Bill claims we're screwing blessed Christmas.
We're greeting people wrong, he cries.
Not saying merry,
Christmas is very,
Belligerent and most unwise..."

The rest of my Bill O'Reilly's Faux War On Christmas is here: http://www.madkane.com/notable01_05d.html#12_18_05

Posted by: Mad Kane | December 19, 2005 06:45 PM

You know, I used to have a stock response to stuff like this - people are starving. Or homeless from hurricanes or starving and homeless from earthquakes and (for that matter) wars - declared, undeclared, approved by congress or not.

There seems to be a segment of the American population obsessed with guaranteeing that the rest of us think the way they do. And another segment working on ways to cash in on the first segment's obseession, be it for money or political power (which seems to equal money in most cases).

And then there are the rest of us. We want our fellow citizens to be safe, well fed and healthy, regardless of what they believe. We want the world to be at peace (as well as safe, well fed and healthy). And watch the other two societal segments and know we don't want to impose our VALUES upon them, but, um, aren't they a little out of line? Is intolerance of intolerance a virtue? Is tolerance of other peoples' beliefs a self-limiting trait? Are extremists and opportunists destined to take over? Or can we be vocal in the defense of moderation?

Posted by: lew | December 19, 2005 08:07 PM

Ho Ho Ho! I think I found the opening shots on the War On Christmas:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/18/happy_holidays/

"We just need to loosen a few sphincters, but the USA is a tense place these days."

As for Congress gettting alarmed about something really urgent... as long as the bow of the Titanic is still visible, there is no need to panic. is there?

Posted by: El Tonno | December 19, 2005 08:13 PM

All I want for Christmas is a new government...
Mine is completely f'd up, dysfunctional and caught up in inner party bickering on issues that don't freaking matter.
My tax dollars are buying weapons of death for war crazy ideologues, my civil liberties are disappearing, my bank account is stagnating, my housing prices are killing me and big oil is sticking it to all of us while choking the air I try to breathe.

Ho-ho-ho...

Posted by: srfr | December 19, 2005 08:52 PM

wow! very nice . . . yes! happy holidays

Posted by: lost poet | December 19, 2005 09:06 PM

I just wished a good friend Merry Christmas; she's Catholic and that's what she celebrates. If she had been Jewish, or if she had been black and celebrating Kwanzaa, I would have wished her Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, as appropriate. But I don't ask people's religious or cultural preferences every time I want to extend holiday greetings, and I'm not going to start asking.
I'm more than a little tired of the fanatics who call themselves Christians acting like the fanatics who call themselves Muslims and trying to force the rest of us to live the way they want to.

Posted by: amstphd | December 19, 2005 09:20 PM

for me, if we put christmas in our heart every beat of our heart throughout the year then, Merry Christmas . . . if it is good only for one week then forgotten afterwards, happy holidays . . .

sorry but i hope you like it.

Posted by: lost poet | December 19, 2005 10:08 PM

Last year as the cultural pogrom on Christian manifestations in the public area reached an apogee, Burt Prelusky published an article that spread like wildfire through the Christian community, and Jewish community too -which said what they all mostly knew but were reluctant to say.

Jews were the ones out doing the religious cleansing.

Prelusky, a Jew, titled his piece "The Jewish Grinch that Stole Christmas", noting the Christian-bashing was primarily coming from Jewish judges, Jewish members of Congress, Jewish journalists, and members of the largely Jewish staffed and funded ACLU.

The ADL once had a page on their website called "December's Dilemma" urging school administrators to avoid offending Jews and other minorities by removing all mention of Christmas, renaming it "winter break", "holiday tree" and banning religious carols, Christian symbols (except the "tree"), banning giving of gifts with a Christian significance - as the best way "to avoid costly lawsuits" for civil rights violations or mention of "Christ" creating a hostile and oppressive work environment the Courts must remedy.

The ADL removed their "Christmas Threat Page" in 2004 and appear to have stopped contacting and harassing school and town officials in 2005.

Prelusky then ran a column discussing the enormous reaction to his column a week later, which coincided with several prominent religious Jews coming out saying they were in no way involved in Christian-bashing, that most of the Christian bashing was coming from atheist ethnic Jews, and they abhorred it.

A link:

http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/BurtPrelutsky/2005/12/15/179168.html

This year, the Jews against Christmas and other expressions of Christianity like Bible study have begun to be rolled back fairly effectively. Christians erected defensive legal networks so towns aren't ripping down crosses and tearing angels off "holiday trees" at the first arrival of intimidating ACLU Jewish lawyers threatening to ruin the town with a lawsuit. Countersuits in schools where Jewish and Muslim religious symbols and holy days are left intact while Christian ones are sanitized have also begun to achieve good results. This year, the campaign is to roll back the towns and companies that deleted Christmas out of Christmas for fear of lawsuits they no longer have to fear so much, and to eliminate excessive PC. O'Reilly and others have not called for a boycott, but said that with 86% of Americans saying they are Christians who believe in Christmas being named Christmas and want carols and angels and nativity scenes and Salvation Army Crossed people doing charity allowed in and outside the stores or town halls - and only 3% of the American population "offended" by the Christ part of Christmas - it's a consumer and taxpayer choice. Go with the consequences of pissing off the majority or a small minority.

The latest tactic of course is to blame "the Intolerant Religious Right" and say "all religions and the concocted holiday "Kwanzaa" are equal at Christmas with Christianity and therefore deserve equal time and display. Which somehow isn't the case on the Jewish days or Muslim days of observance....which is also drawing scrutiny of the largely Jewish legal opposition...I don't think the Jews want their Passover diluted with Muslims celebrating the Conquest of Palestine Day, nor the Muslims want "Christ's 40 Days in the Desert Holiday" created and conflated with the Ramadan period.

The general message these days is "the majority Christians have rights too, and Jews, please stop sticking your noses in other people's business..."

As for Kwanzaa, no matter how much the NEA promotes it as "uplifting for disadvantaged blacks" and emphasizes it in school and their journalist pals tout it in newspapers, it's still a bogus holiday created by a single black activist and not remotely widely celebrated in black households, which go with "Christmas", unless they are Muslim - and elements of Kwanzaa are offensive to Muslims so Kwanzaa doesn't get much play in those places either. You know Kwanzaa is in trouble when black comics & rappers treat it as a running joke...

Posted by: Chris Ford | December 20, 2005 05:58 AM

As an agnostic who leans mostly to the Buddhist philosophy of life, the universe and everything and vehemently opposes the institutionalization of anything sacred, all i can say is that the raising and lighting of a tree symbolizes many things to me, and it makes my three-year-old very happy -- and me, too.

This is the time of year when I reflect on the good and bad of not just the past year, but all of the years i've had the opportunity to experience. Jesus delivered a very important message -- as did Buddha, Mohammad, Charles Bukowski and Dorothy Parker.

What bothers me is that the folks for whom this time of year matters the most, forget so easily what the purpose of the symbolism is.

Slip a few bucks in the Salvation Army kettles.

Give a homeless person a new pair of shoes -- or better yet, a job.

Don't just write a check to the United Way or whatever you're favorite charity of the moment is, but actually do something for the people they help.

But above all, please listen to the words of your savior/prophet/inspiration and act on it.

Without action, the best intentions are meaningless.

Happy Holidays to all...

Posted by: Sean Fulkerson | December 20, 2005 07:13 AM

Just wondering when Christians themselves will work to ban Christmas since most of the christmas traditions - takes place in winter, yule log, Christmas tree, etc - have their roots in paganism. Oohhhh we're celebrating the life cycle of the Sun God. Way cool!!!! Blessed Be!

Posted by: Greytdog | December 20, 2005 07:46 AM

Derek - We are looking busy - that's what all the brouhaha is about - looking busy. Not about being busy or being productive or being charitable or even being Christian. Its all about appearances! We look busy therefore we are busy. We spout Bible verses therefore we are saved. We Sing Christmas Carols therefore we are christians. Looking busy, sounding Christian - it's all fluff and no substance.

Posted by: Greytdog | December 20, 2005 07:52 AM

So, why are megachurches canceling Sunday service when there's a "war on Christmas"?

Shouldn't they be congregating on Christmas/Sunday morn offer the poor, persecuted holy day every ounce of spiritual protection at their disposal?

Rather than chucking their own services, and the right to religious equality of other faiths, down the Disposall?

Posted by: Audrey | December 20, 2005 08:10 AM

Typical anti-Christian position I would expect from the Washington Post!

Posted by: djlndc | December 20, 2005 08:28 AM

My solution is follow the spirit of the revolutionary French and officially turn Christmas Day into the Winter Holiday. That way you can wish someone either a Merry Christmas (if you're Christian) or a Happy Holiday (if you're Other).

Is it better to be Merry or Happy?

We could also turn Easter into the Spring Holiday, Thanksgiving could be the Fall Holiday, and July 4th the Summer Holiday.

Posted by: Turnabout | December 20, 2005 08:30 AM

Yo!! You're an idiot. There are more people named Peyton in the world than Peyton Manning. I'm not even a guy!

Posted by: Peyton | December 20, 2005 09:03 AM

What I do not understand is why Christianity, among all the great and minor religions, has such a persecution complex. I have never heard of a Jew, Muslim, Hindu,Zulu, Wiccan, Pagan, etc., beg, threaten, or cajole people of other faiths to celebrate their religious holidays and traditions. Christianity must be a very weak and inferior religion if it must depend on department store sales and greetings to sustain itself.
Happy holidays

Posted by: RTB | December 20, 2005 09:29 AM

THERE IS ENTIRELY TOO MUCH HOSTILITY AMONGST EVERYONE. WHERE IS THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT? MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!

Posted by: SHOCKED | December 20, 2005 09:52 AM

To RTB: Maybe the Iraq War is a secret Crusade, and the Repubs. are reminding the troops what they're fighting for? Has anyone asked the Pope?

Posted by: Turnabout | December 20, 2005 09:52 AM

My mother in law recently mailed a Christmas is under attack letter to her entire family. She quickly wrote me a note (as the only non-Christian in the family) apologizing for including me in the mailing. She didn't want to offend me - Isn't that the point?

Posted by: mleft | December 20, 2005 10:03 AM

Is it offensive if someone wishes you a Happy Hannukah? It would be simpler if everyone greeted what they believed and didn't worry about being tolerant.

Posted by: Turnabout | December 20, 2005 10:21 AM

'Twas the night before Kwanzaa
And all through the 'hood,
Maulana Karenga was up to no good.

He'd tortured a woman and spent time in jail.
He needed a new scam that just wouldn't fail.
("So what if I stuck some chick's toe in a vice?
Nobody said revolution was nice!")

The Sixties were over. Now what would he do?
Why, he went back to school -- so that's "Dr." to you!
He once ordered shootouts at UCLA
Now he teaches Black Studies just miles away.

Then to top it all off, the good Doctor's new plan
Was to get rid of Christmas and piss off The Man.

Karenga invented a fake holiday.
He called the thing Kwanza. "Hey, what's that you say?

"You don't get what's 'black' about Maoist baloney?
You say that my festival's totally phony?

"Who cares if corn isn't an African crop?
Who cares if our 'harvest's' a month or two off?
Who cares if Swahili's not our mother tongue?
A lie for The Cause never hurt anyone!

"Umoja! Ujima! Kujichagulia, too!
Collectivist crap never sounded so cool!
Those guilty white liberals -- easy to fool.
Your kids will now celebrate Kwanzaa in school!"

And we heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight:
"Happy Kwanzaa to all, except if you're white!"

Posted by: Deus Vult | December 20, 2005 10:37 AM

Alex Ham:

Your response displays a lack of understanding of the underpinnings of our Constitutional state. The reason that we have a constitution is to, "protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority." The majority doesn't need any help: it already gets whatever it wants.

And yes, this is a created war. Although the right should be shamed to compare their confused feelings with the men and women who are putting their lives on the line. Anyone who announces a war on Christmas obviously does not support the troops.

Particularly when it is a war of their own devising. Just because something makes me uncomfortable, I don't go out and declare a War on Right Wing Bigots. Or declare that the country has been engaged in a War Against Rational Thinking that is in need of correction. This is a made-up war for a made-up problem to protect a made-up president.

Posted by: Matthew | December 20, 2005 10:39 AM

"Legal Disclaimer: "Merry Christmas" (hereafter "The Greeting")... this announcement is not intended to offend, alienate, foster hate or be a precursor for any egregious acts (legal or illegal), thoughts, words or deeds. "The Greeting" is made only in the context to which it may be legally received, if in fact, it is received at all. It is not intended to be nor should it be, in any way, connected to any other type of greeting, real or imagined, past, present or future. No references to any persons,things or substances, animate or inanimate, real, fictional or otherwise should be assumed by the reader or receiver of the greeting (hereafter, 'the greetee').

The greeting is not being made to (nor will tenders be accepted from or on behalf of) nonbelievers in 'The Greeting' in any jurisdiction in which making and or accepting the greeting would violate that jurisdiction's laws or feelings (also refer to local statutes and ordinances related to'The Greeting'). In any jurisdiction in which perceived 'greeting' is not welcomed nor agreed upon by all 'greetees', then the 'greetor' of 'The Greeting' will be held harmless in this life and the next, including allissuing posterity both now and forever. 'The Greeting' may be made by a licensed 'greetor' and any liability assumed or created by the 'greetee' shall be the sole responsibility of said 'greetor'.

If you have been aggrieved, offended, waylaid, parlayed, filleted or delayed in any way, either real, imagined or per- ceived by said 'Greeting' and or by 'greetor' as the result of receiving said 'greeting', you can call toll free 1-800- CHRISTMAS to speak with legal counsel."

Posted by: D. | December 20, 2005 10:47 AM

D:

Who do I contact if I find the disclaimer a poor and strained attempt at sarcasm.

Posted by: Matthew | December 20, 2005 10:52 AM

Lighten up Matt, its Christmas. All this trumped up self-righteousness from both the left and right will blow over come Dec. 26.

Posted by: D. | December 20, 2005 10:54 AM

Alex Ham's comments are a perfect example of why the xtian right is looked upon with disgust, horror, and sometimes, fear. As I said before, these people are the true threat to America and everyone in it.

Posted by: james | December 20, 2005 10:59 AM

I'll let you folks in on a little secret: there is no "War on Christmas". It's all a lie concocted by the right-wing media to distract attention away from the quagmire in Iraq. Go ahead! Decorate your silly little Christmas tree and guzzle your spiked eggnog in honor of 2000 years of religious genocide. Whatever you do in the privacy of your home is your own damn business, as long you keep it there and away from the eyes of impressionable children. Let's leave the "Come to Jesus" crap at home and preserve the public arena for anti-war marches and gay pride parades.

And that goes double for any fundamentalist punks who get their Christmas jollies terrorizing hard-working families. Several local cells of the American Taliban have been roaming my neighborhood like packs of wild dogs, singing songs about Baby Jesus and leaving mysterious baskets of fruit and cookies on the doorsteps of their unsuspecting victims

Posted by: NE Prog | December 20, 2005 11:08 AM

Maybe we can identify people by gang colors? The Christmas gang would wear red and green, the Hannukah gang would wear blue and white, the Kwanza gang would wear red, black and green.

Posted by: Turnabout | December 20, 2005 11:10 AM

An article by Neely Tucker in today's Post suggests that the Silent Majority is cranky because they're not good bloggers:

"The majority of Americans are Christians who celebrate Christmas, and yet there is a sense of alienation that they are still not able to dominate discourse."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/19/AR2005121901802.html

Posted by: Turnabout | December 20, 2005 11:23 AM

The trouble didn't start on that first Christmas, whenever it was.

The trouble started when a pre-teen got separated from his parents on a trip into the big city. After a frenzied search, they found him in the temple holding forth on the scriptures to a gathering of scholars whose specialty was the scriptures. This did not bode well for this lad who obviously did not know his place. After that, it just got worse what with the disciples, gatherings of increasingly larger crowds, the Sermon on the Mount & all. It ended as it had to -- as it did with Socrates before and as it does with all those who convincingly proclaim the reasoning spirit over brute authority masquerading as law. They had to kill him.

Between Christmas (virgin birth or not) and Easter (resurrection or not) are all those amazing words many of us still wish would go away. They just don't fit in with our idea of common sense and what a religion that picks me and not you for its heaven ought to be.

I am no longer a Christian -- at least not in any sense any church I know of would recognize. I am as close to atheism as any agnostic can get and still hold a grain of hope in the face of human slaughter.

Still, every Christmas I rather enjoy seeing the creches come out of storage -- whether on private or public property. What they symbolize (to me but evidently not others) transcends both state and religion.

I like to ponder the innocence the creche represents. Not the innocence of a baby Jesus, but the innocence of all those agenda-laden adults -- shepherds and wisemen and even the parents -- who (despite all those angels singing in four part harmony) have no idea what this little guy is about to say.

Merry Christmas.

Posted by: | December 20, 2005 11:23 AM

The War On Christmas is just one of a long list of right wing affectations. It's amazing the hysterical persecution mentality of the extreme conservatives. Always finding something ludicrous to feel under attack from, always looking for yet another complaint to make about the liberal menace, always looking for something they can agree with each other on to further their collective siege mentality.
It'd be amusing if it weren't so annoying. The amount of manipulation and sophistry that surrounds it all is sickening. It's little more than people willingly feeding themselves propoganda, creating hysteria for no good reason. Antics like 'The War On Christmas' are just going to be counterproductive to the right wing cause. The conservatives need to get their house in order before the propoganda/entertainment of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and FOXnews ends up alienating them from the mainstream of America.

Posted by: ErrinF | December 20, 2005 11:40 AM

To ErrinF: Next year it's the "War on Breakfast".

Posted by: Turnabout | December 20, 2005 12:46 PM

This just in: A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled today that it is unconstitutional to compel teachers there to present "intelligent design" as an alternative explanation to evolution because it amounts to establishing religion in public schools. So much for the Christian "War on Science."

Posted by: Claire | December 20, 2005 01:07 PM

You gotta admire O'Reilly's cleverness at trumpeting this issue. I bet Rush's gnashing his Vicodin because he didn't think of it!

Posted by: Turnabout | December 20, 2005 01:43 PM

Lamenting the war on Christmas has become something of a cottage industry for conservatives, just as lamenting the perfidious intrusion of Christianity on the public square is a grand source of fundraising and TV time for segments of the Left.

And for some it does seem like Christmas is under siege. Not just Christmas, of course, but religious expression generally. Traditionalists of a certain bent are at a particular disadvantage because they have a handy label to define their morality: religion. And religion has a special status in our society.

Secularists, misreading history, claim that the Constitution requires that wherever government and religion intersect, religion must vanish. This is terribly wrongheaded in my opinion, but we've all heard those arguments before.

What I think secularists don't appreciate is how unfair this feels to religious people who believe that the secularists have, for all intents and purposes, a moral faith of their own. For example, back in the Dark Ages when John Ashcroft ruled with an iron fist, and decent people everywhere quaked at the prospect of borrowing Catcher in the Rye from the library lest they land in the gulag under the Patriot Act, Ashcroft was unable to ban a Gay Pride Month celebration at his own Department of Justice. I don't think that celebrating Gay Pride Month would lead to the end of civilization, but I don't think Christian Pride Month would either. And yet we all understand that Christian pride is a nonstarter on government premises.

Posted by: | December 20, 2005 04:38 PM

It's a good thing that there wasn't anyone at the stable to tell Mary and Joseph why they had nothing their child needed, after all they couldn't even provide a decent place for Jesus to be born in. Too bad the mail service wasn't in effect then ,would have been a good time to send them some Fotos and bios to tell them of the perfect couple that could provide more "Things" and stability for their infant son. Interesting under President Bushes watch "The infant adoption awareness passed"! Can we say Gladney adoption agency and President in the same sentence? OH ya! see Bush does like the poor after all? Oh well their infants anyway. Have a truth-filled holiday!Linda Webber

Posted by: speaking of christmas and the adoption brokers | December 20, 2005 05:03 PM

The last anonymous comment contains at least two questionable statements. First, I'm not sure what unnamed "secularists" are claiming that religion must "vanish" when it meets government. But as the judge in Dover, PA (a Bush appointee) made clear today, the First Ammendment to the Constitution does contain the well-known Establishment clause, and this clause forbids government from involvement in religion and vice-versa. Historically, this clause has been only weekly enforced until recently, but this does not constitute an arguement against its current enforcement, especially since the nation is becoming more and more diverse in terms of religion and non-religion. Reading or misreading of "history," whatever the above writer believes this to mean, is irrelevant to the separation between church and state. The Ammendment itself is quite clear.

Second, there are plenty of religious organizations in goverment institutions, including the one I work at. These have the same status and protection as gay organizations, arts organizations, etc. Similarly, students may have religious and other organizations in their schools. These are examples of the flip side of the Establishment clause. Just as government may not promote, so may it not interfere with any religion.

What, precisely, is wrong-headed about this arrangement?

Posted by: james | December 20, 2005 05:13 PM

I mean "weakly" not "weekly," of course.

Posted by: james | December 20, 2005 05:17 PM

I don't give a damn what people say about Christmas. I'll still get two days off and New Years Eve to boot. Onward Christian soldiers, and thank you God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost! Where's the eggnog?

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | December 20, 2005 09:33 PM

James -- My sentiments exactly on the 1st Amendment being weakly enforced. Majority Christians have enjoyed a former period of dominance in this country during which they amassed privileges whose propriety would later come into question, e.g., releasing students from public schools during class hours for religious instruction, compulsory teacher-led school prayer and Bible reading, school-sanctioned prayer at public-school graduations. Such practices were struck down by the Supreme Court because they violated the principle of church-state separation.

But majority Christians still enjoy government favoritism: adding "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, changing our national motto to "In God We Trust", the National Day of Prayer, paid legislative chaplains, their own Federal holiday. The most presumptuous notion is that all of America should close on December 25 while Christians hold their birthday party. Such favoritism only grows more odious as the nation grows more religiously diverse.

Posted by: Claire | December 21, 2005 07:32 AM

All the first amendment says with respect to religion is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

The point was that the framers did not want congress, (i.e., the federal government) to have the power to establish an official National Religion, the way the British Govermnent officially supported the church of England. The language was intended to protect the exercise of minority religions, but in no way does the language lead to the conclusion that expression of religious culture or tradition is permitted to be present in the public sphere.

Posted by: bill | December 21, 2005 10:33 AM

Claire - The pledge of allegiance was written with "under God" in it, no one added it. The national motto is "In God We Trust" because this nation was founded by Christians.
I'm all for the separation of church and state, but I see no need to change/destroy the fine traditions this country has celebrated for so long. It's not going to happen just because of the recent rise of other religions.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | December 21, 2005 10:34 AM

Claire -- I agree that there is still some favoritism to Christians (or at least monotheists) in our government, but I also believe that the Supreme Court and government institutions have been mindful of this and have taken steps to reduce real inequity.

For instance, the pledge is no longer mandatory (which should be the case, "under God" or not), legislative chaplains are generally rotated through various religions, and Religious Comp time is now an option for government employees. I believe that these are bona fide attempts to make the actual practice of government fair to all while avoiding overly divisive clashes. I certainly would not mind if "under God," and "In God We Trust" were removed, nor if the official "Christmas" holiday was given a more inclusive title. But I think that these are relatively minor concerns, especially when compared to more overt examples such as Alabama's ten commandments shrine and the Dover fiasco. As long as cases like these continue to be decided correctly, I can live with symbolic religious leftovers.

On the other hand, should the xtian right continue to push for more governmental power, then these leftovers will probably become more odious, and their removal more necessary. I wonder if the xtian right will percieve this. At the moment, it seems unlikely.

Posted by: james | December 21, 2005 10:35 AM

sorry, that say, "..but in no way does the language lead to the conclusion that the expression of religious culture is NOT permitted to be present in the public sphere."

Posted by: bill | December 21, 2005 10:35 AM

It is very interesting to read so many different points of view. I would like to point out that Kwanzaa is most definitely NOT a religious holiday. It is a cultural holiday. Further, for those who seem to feel that children cannot sing Christmas carols, etc., at school, I would ask them how Jewish children felt when it was accepted practice to sing carols and have a Christian celebration in the schools, Christmas trees in the classrooms, and Christmas crafts during instructional times. In one class, the lone Jewish child was given blue and white links to put together for his decorative chain (concession to Hanukkah colors) while the rest of the children made their red and green ones.

For a nation that was founded on the principles of freedom of religious expression, we have become awfully insistent on forcing Christianity down the throats of all our citizens. As Claire says in her posting, our nation is much more religiously diverse than at any other time in our history. Rather than wasting the time of the legislature on "protecting Christmas", these people who are so defensive of their religion should go home, read the teachings of their leader Jesus Christ, and practice what they preach.

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus anymore. He has been swallowed up by the relentless march of commercialism and greed. The spirit of Christmas is what needs protection, not its meaningless symbols. And that spirit would live no matter what name you called it. I, for one, would call it kindness. Where is it, this holiday season? In the chilled homes of the aged and poor who cannot afford heat? In the sickrooms of Medicare and Medicaid patients who can no longer afford prescription drugs and visits to their doctors? Well, you all know this and I'm simply being repetitive.

Happy Holid ... uh, Merry Christm ... oh, the hell with it. Enjoy your winter break if you get one!

Posted by: sidney | December 21, 2005 11:01 AM

I attended a British-run international school in Hong Kong. I'm not Christian, my family celebrated Christmas only in a secular way. My best friends were a Christian, a Hindu and a Buddhist. We made Christmas decorations, we sang Christmas carols (yes, even the religious ones), and occasionally we did a nativity play. None of us felt particularly bothered by this, nor did our parents complain. By the way, we also did decorations for Chinese New Year, we coloured in pictures of Ganesh and Lakshmi for Diwali, we did a school project on Islam in third grade, and it was all right. It simply wasn't politicized at all.

Incidentally, I think "Holiday Tree" is stupid, but Bill O'Reilly is a paranoid buffoon.

Posted by: Kea | December 21, 2005 11:37 AM

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It's officially the first day of winter and one of the oldest known holidays in human history. Anthropologists believe that solstice celebrations go back at least 30,000 years. The stone circles of Stonehenge were arranged to receive the first rays of midwinter sun.

Ancient peoples believed that because daylight was waning, it might go away forever, so they lit huge bonfires to tempt the sun to come back. The tradition of decorating our houses and our trees with lights at this time of year is passed down from those ancient bonfires.

In Ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated with the festival of Saturnalia, during which all business transactions and even war were suspended. December 25 was an arbitrary date chosen by 4th century Roman Catholic leaders that had nothing to do with the chronological date of the birth of Jesus. Christians appropriated the ancient winter solstice celebration and renamed it "Christ's Mass." But "Christmas" is decidedly not Christian in origin and Christ was not born on Christmas.

The Christian extremists act like they own December 25 and that they are the only ones in the entire nation who have a mid-winter celebration. It is the very height of perversion to threaten private businesses with a lawsuit for saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" to their customers. It's like stealing the Mona Lisa, renaming it Mother Mary, and then lashing out at anyone who dares to call the purloined painting by its proper name. What cultural imperialism.

Posted by: Claire | December 21, 2005 12:18 PM

Xmas (ooooooo, I took the "christ" out) in Red China? I think will, thank you very much. My sister works in Nanjing, and I will go visit her next Xmas. Be a relief to get away from all the religious kooks in this country.

Posted by: CharlieO | December 21, 2005 12:37 PM

CharlieO, call it whatever you like, as long as it remains a day off! That is the important thing here. Otherwise, you may not be able to take off next "Xmas."

From what I was told by nuns in my Catholic grade school 40+ years ago, the Dec. 25th date was some pagan holiday of light, and the date was "chosen" to be the birthday of Jesus.

I could care less if they named it something different, like "Gay Day." I say give the gays a whole week if they want it (holidays, of course).

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | December 21, 2005 01:20 PM

Holiday trees and freedom fries are the result of politicians listening to too many political consultants interested in 'the power of words'. For instance, the majority of Republican politicians call global warming 'climate change' now. Just weeks ago, Donald Rumsfeld suddenly became obssessed with not calling insurgents insurgents.
While I think the War On Christmas is a trumped-up farce, I can understand people reacting to the White House's holiday tree. Enough with these politicians crafting each word per it's PR value; Most of us voters would rather see a politician that openly speaks their mind without being manipulative in word choice.

Posted by: ErrinF | December 21, 2005 02:33 PM

The Post had an article yesterday about, I kid you not, the Governor of Maryland sending out Christmas cards that actually said "Merry Christmas"...Quel horror! I mean who gives a flying f**k? You've got the carnival barkers on the right braying about the "War on Christmas" and the PC crowd on the left making a big deal over some politician sending out cards that say "Merry Christmas". I mean, who really cares? If you are that sensitive enough that you're going to end up on the therapists couch because you got a Christmas card, you've got much bigger issues in life to deal with.

Posted by: D. | December 21, 2005 03:11 PM

D.,

There was an article about Erlich's card because of all this MC vs. HH crap. Can you name a single person or organization who has come out against Erlich's card? Why didn't you the first time? Could it be you're just one of the people who are busy manufacturing this whole controversy?

Posted by: james | December 21, 2005 03:51 PM

Yeah. I'm on O'Reilly's payroll. My point isn't so much that anyone has come out about it but that the whole thing is even newsworthy. I'm not singling out the Post but referenced the article because I figured most of the folks here would have seen it.

Happy RamaHanuKwansMas!

Posted by: D. | December 21, 2005 04:34 PM

Emily,

I think you Lib-Labs need to consult your U.S. Constitution more often and read fewer post Warren Court court cases. Amendment I reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Now, only the insipid or left wing crazies (present company excluded) could construe my son singing "Silent Night" or performing "A Chistmas Carol" in a school play, as Congressional ESTABLISHMENT of religion.

We know very well what the Framers meant by "establishment". It was what Americans left behind in England: A church that citizens were forced to fund and be part of if they wished to serve in parliament.

Will some feel uncomfortable by the word "Christmas"? The question is moot. This is not, or should not be, a Constitutional issue.

That being said, Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Jon M | December 21, 2005 05:02 PM

The point is that there are no "PC liberals" attacking anyone about "Merry Christmas." Claiming that this is a problem where both sides are the same is part of the actual problem. While it's true that the issue itself isn't newsworthy, the reason it's become "news" is that right-wing gasbags created the issue and Fox picked up the banner. Blaming non-existant and unnamed "liberals" for even half of the problem gives credence, even if unintentional, to the right-wing's lies.

Posted by: james | December 21, 2005 05:06 PM

The point is that there are no "PC liberals" attacking anyone about "Merry Christmas." Claiming that this is a problem where both sides are the same is part of the actual problem. While it's true that the issue itself isn't newsworthy, the reason it's become "news" is that right-wing gasbags created the issue and Fox picked up the banner. Blaming non-existant and unnamed "liberals" for even half of the problem gives credence, even if unintentionally, to the right-wing's lies.

Posted by: james | December 21, 2005 05:07 PM

There is no "War on Christmas" but there is a "War on Culture" going on. And for every self-righteous blowhard on the right there's an equal number of psuedo-intellectual post-modernists on the left who would like nothing better than to remove Christianity from the public domain entirely. Both extremes are dangerous in my opinion.

Posted by: D. | December 21, 2005 05:25 PM

James - "The point is that there are no "PC liberals" attacking anyone about "Merry Christmas."

Bullshit.

There are court orders that bar display of Chrsitian symbols in NYC while allowing the menorah and star&crescent. There is a ban on red and green in some schools after a threatened lawsuit, lawsuits on angels on Christmas trees and in shopping malls(by Jewish lawyers on behalf of a Muslim employee "threatened" by Christian symbols and calling it a "hostile, discriminatory work environment")

There is the advice the ADL gives to make "The Winter Break Vacation" less offensive to religious minorities by removing Christian symbols of any kind while noting the Menorah has been declared by a Court to be acceptable.

There is plenty of war going on on the Christian Faith by pushy minorities who would raise hell if their little religious acknowlegements in the public square or 3 billion a year in taxpayer funds for their religious state were ever cancelled.

The good thing, from the Christian view (84% of the American public) - is Christians are no longer rolling over and taking Leftist, Muslim, Jewish attempts to destroy manifestations of Christian culture but are gathering the legal resources and votes to fight back and remove the stigma others have tried to cast on Christmas and expressions of faith in the public arena..

Posted by: Chris Ford | December 21, 2005 11:18 PM

We have found we enjoy the peace of the Christmas season by not spending money we do not have on presents for people that they do not need. Try it and see. But, don't spread this around too much; our economy needs the stimulus you see!

Posted by: Dale Posey | December 22, 2005 01:03 AM

Hey Chris those are just Urban legends wrapped as truth. Where did you hear this crap about menorrahs and star and crescent, red and green being banned. Falling for the propaganda Chris?
A little paranoia wrapped in hate does not the truth make. Those lefties are really bugging you and all their fighting for democracy. Standing in the way of you little totalitarian state and shiny weapon fantasy.
Who cares about Christmas celebrations, enjoy. What is this millions that minorities get for their state. What state? Where do you get this crap that appears to be hateful thoughts pulled out of the air to justify your hate? Hate Chris, just get into it. Those hateful minorities should know how to shuffle and bow to you, not ask for their rights.
Master Chris Master Chris, can I celebrate Kwanzaa? No? Sorry for asking Master Chris.Is that lovely Christian state you speak for going to go after the lefties and minorities who dare demand equality with poor Chris Ford? So much for Christian love and acceptance, poor Jesus would be shaking in his boots right now if you had your way. What is this brown skinned carpenter doing, with this love your brother crap. The Christian right will get him and send him back where he came from.The Klan and the Christian right are starting to look like the same thing.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | December 22, 2005 09:27 AM

Well put, Mr. SpeakoutforDemocracy. Saved me the trouble.

Posted by: james | December 22, 2005 10:03 AM

Certainly Christmas can defend itself - "God is not dead nor doth He sleep" Longfellow wrote. However, Rep. Ackerman's argument ("If you really want to protect the message of Christmas...Where is your bill to house the homeless? Where is your bill to feed the needy? Where is your bill to clothe the naked?") misses the mark. To provide the poor with "food and drink and means of warmth" is a good goal. Americans should work, especially at Christmas time, to help the less-fortunate. But giving more money to the government, with its inherent inefficiency and mediocre poverty-fighting track record, is not the best way to bring relief to the poor and hungry and naked. Each of us would be wiser to donate our money and time and abilities to worthy charities and institutions to achieve the good goal of easing the suffering of the poor. Opposing federal spending to help the poor is not the same as opposing the poor. Rather, it may be a way to help them. If the government were spending less and taxing less, private citizens would have more money to give to worthwhile charities, which can be held accountable for how they use it. That said, there is some warrant for Ms. Messner's criticism. Christians should devote themselves to living like Christ, not institutionalizing their traditions. Christians, especially, should be using their resources to help the poor, for it is their Lord who said "As you [fed or clothed] one of the least of these...you did it to me."

Posted by: Josh Neisler | December 22, 2005 10:27 AM

Well said Josh. Kudos!

Posted by: D. | December 22, 2005 11:00 AM

SpeakOutforDemocracy - Why are you taking it there? Trying to make Chris look racist or something. That race card is always the first one pulled by the weak-minded. Who are you Yoda? "A little paranoia wrapped in hate does not the truth make" I guess you read that somewhere. This situation and racism have nothing to do with each other. Once again, liberals are trying to change what's been. I know my son can sing all the songs he wants in his school, however there are situations where Christianity is banned while other religions are embraced. Embracing Christianity over the others isn't right either, but it makes more sense since most Americans are Christian.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | December 22, 2005 11:51 AM

Here is an article by Senator John Cornyn that rather closely says it for me -- even though I am hesitant if not a tad bit phobic about repeating the words of anyone with a law degree:

http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=10905

-- Courts -- Are to Blame for War on Christmas

by Sen. John Cornyn
Posted Dec 16, 2005

For generations, Christmas trees, nativity scenes, Menorahs and other traditional holiday items have been displayed in places of business and public squares, largely without objection. Groups could sing carols, schools could hold pageants, children could exchange Christmas cards, and towns across America could place Christmas trees and menorahs -- in front of courthouses.

Today, however, it seems the first order of business every December may soon be for Americans to -- consult their lawyers. For only then might they know whether they are in the proper setting or sufficiently in compliance with complicated Supreme Court "multi-pronged" or "balancing" tests before celebrating.

For example, the Plano, Tex., Independent School District last year banned "Christmas colors," and prohibited students from handing out candy canes and pencils with religious messages on them -- even barring parents from exchanging religious Christmas items with other parents. Most troubling of all, at a time when good men and women in uniform are risking their lives for the cause of freedom around the globe, the district prohibited students from writing "Merry Christmas" on cards to soldiers because the phrase might "offend someone."

And in Dodgeville, Wis., the Ridgeway Elementary School changed the name of "Silent Night" to "Cold in the Night." Sung to the tune of "Silent Night," the lyrics were secularized as: "Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm." Just this week, the school changed the policy only after massive public outcry and a campaign by concerned advocacy groups.

Hostility to faith, though, extends well beyond the classroom. Just last week, two Florida cities jointly tried to ban a private display of a nativity scene on public property, only backing down in the face of lawsuits. The ACLU in 2003 filed suit against Cranston City, R.I., challenging a menorah and a nativity scene. In Boston, the city changed the name of the annual Christmas tree to a "holiday tree," sparking significant criticism in the community.

This secularization, however, highlights a more pervasive reality. The Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights held a hearing in 2004 to explore hostility to religious expression in the public square. The results were shocking. The Liberty Legal Institute, a Texas-based advocacy group, documented more than 50 pages of examples of hostility to religious expression.

For example, an 11-year-old Muslim student testified before the subcommittee that she was suspended for wearing her religious hair covering to school, in violation of the school's dress code. The school allowed it only after confronted with a Justice Department investigation. In St. Louis, a 12-year-old elementary school student was reprimanded by her school for quietly saying a prayer before lunch in the school cafeteria. Public high school students in Massachusetts were suspended after trying to hand out candy canes with biblical passages attached.

Some suggest that these examples simply reflect "changing societal norms." The truth is, these issues reflect the -- fear of litigation -- that city and state governments, as well as private citizens, feel over religious displays and their concern about crossing the often-misunderstood line between church and state.

And who can blame them? One need look no further than the -- muddled First Amendment jurisprudence -- of the U.S. Supreme Court to understand the state of confusion underlying society's view toward religious expression in the public square, including that related to Christmas.

The First Amendment clearly provides that -- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion nor interfering with the free exercise thereof --. Nothing in these provisions requires government to be hostile to religious speech or religious liberty. The Constitution nowhere requires government to expel expressions of faith from the public square nor forbids government from acknowledging -- indeed celebrating -- the important role faith plays in the lives of the American people.

Yet some -- courts,-- led by the U.S. Supreme Court, have demonstrated an unmistakable hostility toward religious expression in the public square. This effort to cleanse virtually all things religious from public life, including Christmas, is impossible to ignore and is contrary to our nation's founding principles.

Public expression of faith -- one of the very freedoms most cherished by our Founding Fathers -- should not be allowed to fall victim to a pervasive -- "misunderstanding" -- of the First Amendment perpetuated by a handful of secularists and judicial activists. In particular, during this time of religious celebration for so many Americans, we should remember that we should, by right, be free to exercise our religious beliefs openly and to celebrate collectively those beliefs as we choose.


Mr. Cornyn (R.-Tex.) is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He served previously as attorney general of Texas and as a state Supreme Court justice.

Copyright © 2005 HUMAN EVENTS. All Rights Reserved.
-----------------------------------------

Members of the judiciary are all experienced law graduates so I have just cause to doubt that any of them truly -- "misunderstand" -- what they are doing to the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.

I am personally delighted to see a growing public disrespect for the mindless blathering of these "black robed gavel pounding monkeys".

Make it a MERRY CHRISTMAS and provide your favorite judicial ape with a copy of the story of the birth of Christ. Non-Christians can provide them a copy of the CONSTITUTION.

Posted by: Lilly | December 22, 2005 01:44 PM

James said:

For what it's worth, I also respect much of what K. Marx wrote, but don't call myself a Marxist or dignify Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist types with that label, for the same reasons. I also don't call people with PhD's "Doctor."


What the heck does the last sentence have to do with the first two?

Posted by: The Grateful Dredd | December 22, 2005 01:47 PM

What a shock that the supposed villains behind the farcical 'War On Christmas' are... surprise, surprise... the liberals! That, after all, is the whole point of this latest round of right wing propoganda (and is usually the point of every round of right wing propoganda). If the WOC has been newsworthy to the public, it's because it's so ludicrous as to be entertaining, and the agenda behind it is so thinly veiled as to be blatantly obvious.
What I'd like explained to me is how liberals are responsible for the Bush White House calling it's tree a 'holiday tree' instead of a Christmas tree. Bush is a conservative, not a liberal, correct? Therefore, one could conclude that it is the conservatives that are making war on Christmas. Or maybe they're making war WITH Christmas as their weapon of mass distraction.

Posted by: ErrinF | December 22, 2005 02:42 PM

Hey Chris Ford:

A hearty ZIEG HEIL to you dude!! Did it ever occur to you that Jesus and his disciples were Jews and that Christianity is (gasp!) a Jewish religion - or do you think these are all lies perpetrated by Jew lawyers at the ACLU?

Posted by: tom | December 22, 2005 03:01 PM

Grateful Dredd,

It means I don't necessarily grant extra respect to people who think they deserve it because of their graduate degrees. Or, in other words, I don't respect "authority" in general, only authority which proves itself useful, at that is very rare.

Posted by: james | December 22, 2005 04:45 PM

"Mr. Cornyn (R.-Tex.) is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He served previously as attorney general of Texas and as a state Supreme Court justice."

Cornyn was in the band R. Tex? Bang a gong!

Posted by: | December 22, 2005 08:55 PM

Josh: " However, Rep. Ackerman's argument ("If you really want to protect the message of Christmas...Where is your bill to house the homeless? Where is your bill to feed the needy? Where is your bill to clothe the naked?") misses the mark."

Well, yes, but not for that reason. Gary Ackerman is another NYC Jew who finds lecturing Christians on how to be Christians at Christmas irresistable.

And his spiel is nothing about charity, but is geared towards forcing people to give through their taxes by passing laws.

In the same spirit, here's a little bit of gratuitous advice for Ackerman on how to behave on one of his holidays, Yom Kippur:

1. Gary, ensure it is marked as not being "all about you and your People's" Atonement, but instead let it be all about caring for the poor schvartzs, the homeless, the unclothed naked, the unfed.

2. Take out sacks of your OWN money and hand it out. Lawsuits or legislation to force others to hand out THEIR money instead don't count.

Posted by: Chris Ford | December 22, 2005 11:00 PM

Candy canes are religious symbols

Posted by: | December 22, 2005 11:12 PM

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centures since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
-- Isaac Asimov, Canadian Atheists Newsletter, 1994

Posted by: | December 22, 2005 11:47 PM

There and here is only Dao. Eternal Principle.

Words mean nothing but the circles on the water. Beauty inside.

Ha!

Posted by: Victor I. | December 23, 2005 01:44 AM

This manufactured War On Christmas has had at least one salutory effect. It has made me realize that I, as a Born Again Evangelical Christian have been guilty of the practices I have accused others. I have been contentious when I should have been forgiving and loving.
Christians should spread the true meaning of Christmas through our daily lives. We should change the world through Christ's love working through us.We don't need retail outlets to spread the Word, we have The Word, who is Christ Jesus.
I beg the forgivenessof Lonemule, Chris Ford and anyone else I have demeaned. Including President Bush.
Merry Christmas! And may God's love bless you all!

Posted by: Shannon | December 23, 2005 05:56 AM

All this debate still misses one major point.
All this "Politicaly Correct" "Happy Holiday" bull is now taking away the rights of those who celebrate "Christmas". Removing nearly EVERY aspect that has been celebrated univerasaly NATION WIDE, since this country began.

For you Liberals, If Merry Christmas insults you, then why are you shopping for gifts to open on Dec. 25th, Christmas Morning?
This is the United States of America, and traditions adopted by our forefathers have been what made this country what it is. Tolerance of differences is understood and accepted, but it is EXPECTED that if you come to this country seeking a better life, you conform to our ways. WE WILL NOT BE FORCED TO CHANGE AN ENTIRE NATION to conform to ANY foreigner or New Group that springs up. In our accepting your differences you will do the same and NOT demand that all change to suit you!!!

Posted by: Anne | December 23, 2005 10:32 AM

Scroodgey Ford I can see you now in your shawl, and unheated apartment to save on heat. Cursing taxes and the scraps that fall on the floor, that little mousies eat.
Damn mousies I will send them the bill. Never will I feed anyone but myself, that would be unAmerican." How do I stop the scraps from feeding others?" because I curse under my hypocritical breath "the hungry should be in workhouses, cleaning my underwear. Not cavorting under tables eating my hard earned scraps of food bits.It is the Lefties, they did it. They ensured that tables were angled in such a way that scraps fall on the floor and actually feed others."
"In the McCarthy era, them were the days"said Scroodgey Ford, "I could report those mousies.I would shoot them with my tiny weapons. How dare they live at my expense." he looks at his tax bill,"That better not be on my tax bill. Food for those evil little mousies, those scraps of food that fall off my table may keep others alive one more day. They may be Jews, or blacks, or gays. Or white God forbid,"Non white Americans."
"It can never be said," Chris spoke,"With my tiny little heart ten sizes too small that anyone will ever eat my scraps."

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | December 23, 2005 10:35 AM

Don't believe that Anne or anyone else speaks for all Christians. We are a diverse lot. I,myself, am an Evangelical Democratic Liberal. I shop late because I'm bad at it.nd i believe that the seperation of church and state is better for churches than for the state.

Posted by: Shannon | December 23, 2005 11:47 AM

I do not understand this politically incorrect Christmas problem. Canada is a hugely multicultural nation and we embrace all cultures. This has not caused us to try to change the Christmas celebrations, or anything Christmas oriented. Why would we? Christmas has always been important to the faithful and the unfaithful. You can have both, the new and the old. Christmas revisionism, or scroodgeism, is not what we need to do to make others feel included. It is life, not a dental appointment, where to include others we have to suffer. Bah, humbug is not a liberal thing.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | December 23, 2005 12:23 PM

It is not and never was about a war on Christmas, it is about some judicial apes stealing your CONSTITUTIONAL rights -- AND THE FACT THAT SO MANY IGNORE THAT POINT IS EXACTLY WHY WE ARE FACING THE ISSUES WE ARE.

-- DO YOU GET IT NOW ??? --

Posted by: Lilly | December 23, 2005 12:57 PM

James said: "I don't respect "authority" in general, only authority which proves itself useful, at that is very rare."

-------------------------------------

Interesting point. How do you define "useful"? For instance, would an M.D. rate the title? Would a clinical psychologist?

Posted by: Grateful Dredd | December 23, 2005 01:56 PM

Amid Anne's siege mentality and histrionics she fails to grasp that she is insisting on her own brand of political correctness. It shouldn't matter how somebody expresses themselves during or around Christmas, or if they express themselves at all. This is a free country, especially when it comes to religion. To insist that saying anything other than 'Merry Christmas' is somehow wrong is it's own kind of political correctness.
Lilly's comments seem equally fraught with seige mentality and hysteria, as if her War On Christmas is something akin to 'Invasion Of The Pod People'.
I guess this is the type of person that a 'big lie' such as the War On Christmas appeals to. Apparently, these right wing Don Quixote types are willing to tread all over the holiday spirit in their grand battle against liberal windmills. It's as if the whole Left versus Right debate is just a bogus excuse for a bunch of cranks to be cranks, what with nonsense like this imagined War On Christmas. These people need something to be hateful and belligerent about no matter what time of the year, and seem to be much more interested in doing their usual adversarial routine rather than celebrate the birth of Christ. They are definitely going on Santa's naughty list.
Shannon, however, will definitely be on Santa's nice list. It was refreshing to see her truly Christian comments amid the negative, hateful comments of the other posters. Merry Christmas to her and all the other good Christians who would never use Christmas to make war with.

Posted by: ErrinF | December 23, 2005 06:08 PM

Looks like Chris Ford was recently visited by the ghosts of anti-semitism past, present, and future. I suppose he also thinks the sugar plum fairies are part of the vast Left wing conspiracy. Way to try to turn the War On Christmas into a War On Hanukkah, Chris. What a great holiday spirit you have.

Posted by: ErrinF | December 23, 2005 06:26 PM

To Errin F I do NOT insist on my own brand of ANYTHING, but I am sick to death of every type of group or nationality deciding that it is okay to totally obliterate long standing traditions and their demand that God and Christ be removed from every aspect of our lives. Why is that not "histrionic and siege mentality"? I stand for what I beleive and I will not be put off by someone being offended at my refusal to be "politicaly correct". I will continue to say Merry Christmas, I will continue to hold this holiday to be the sacred day that it has always been, and I will not give a damn for someone who doesn't want to hear it. If you don't want to hear it, don't listen. Which is exactly the point I was trying to make. Some liberalist group or foreign national group doesn't like how we do things here then LEAVE! You are free to congregate where you please to celebrate what and how you choose. You DO NOT have the right to invade what and where we celebrate! If you don't like it, don't participate, but do not force us to do away with our beliefs and traditions because you don't agree.
As for Shannon, you need to re-read what I wrote above. What on earth does when you shop have to do with what I said? I don't give a fig when a person shops, the point I was making had to do with the fact that many of those demanding the removal of "Christmas" because they don't believe, have no reason to be buying and exchanging gifts on Christmas morning. To them there is no god, therefore no Christmas, therefore no need to exchange gifts.
That said,
I want to wish EVERYONE a Merry Christmas.

Posted by: | December 24, 2005 02:00 PM

For some unknown reason, my post above did not provide my name, so this is to let all know that it was mine.

Posted by: Anne | December 24, 2005 02:02 PM

Nothing scroogey or anti-Semitic about the truth, SpeakOutForEffeteCanadians or Dear Errin....

A good essay was put out by Foreign Minister Jack Straw, who has Jewish roots and deals with a multiculti constituency and still approves of some facets of multiculti- but is foresquare against attacks on Christian celebration of their holiday:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-1958201,00.html

But in America, calling a spade a spade forces honest people to recognize that attempts at eradicating expressions of Christianity from the public square while "preserving" minority religious "rights" are led by secular Jews at the ACLU and elsewhere using the intimidation of threatened lawsuits directed against corporations, school boards, towns, and so on to get their way and bypass the Democratic process. And Jews in Hollywood and the media are doing their best to cast Christians as superstititous, boy-buggerers, ignorant, even deranged in a way they would automatically refuse to slur Islam or Judaism. Only when the money-making potential of casting Christianity as good was seen - did the Players of Hollywood
strive to end 40 years of Jesus believers and Christians cast as the enemies of progress and civilization.


The ancient maxim of Sun Tsu still holds. If an enemy opposes you, the enemy will inevitably win unless you understand who the enemy set against you - is.

The good news this season is that Christians are rolling back the secular Jews of the ACLU, who had creepingly managed to sanitize "Christ" out of Christmas over a decade or so before the majority began fighting back against them and merchants and politicians realized that it is crazy to cave in for 2-3% of the population that likes to do Christian-bashing and alienate the votes and patronage of 85% of Americans, even 72% of Brits as Staw notes..

Yes, there are other Christian bashers besides the secular Jews, and they are good shills all. But you usually see those self-professed atheists launching lawsuits against Christmas or public displays of the Christian faith or "generic religion" backed up by secular Jewish money or legal muscle. And many so called "non-religious atheists" like Michael Newdow are just Jews of little religious feeling working hard to deny their animosity derives from being born Jewish in Brooklyn...otherwise, they would Muslim-bash - but Jews like Newdow know that Muslims fight back...

There have been times when Jews sticking their noses in other people's business has been good for society. Like when they ran needed unions - or, founded the NAACP, financed black civil rights leaders like King and even did most of his PR and speechwriting. Other times, Jews lost by meddling such as with their long-time love affair with communism and role in liquidating class enemies, which brought severe retribution ...or it seems today with their works to push NAMBLA over the Boy Scouts or efforts to cleanse Christ and Christians as shameful ignorance not permitted in public.

Whatever happens, the WWII victimology free pass is waning dramatically for Jews out to reshape society but escape being singled out for criticism. No different really, than how Evangelicals, as in the Terri Schiavo Fiasco - or Islamoids defending the "peacefullness of Jihad" are now being scrutinized in their own efforts to foist their ideology on the rest of us.

Posted by: Chris Ford | December 24, 2005 10:31 PM

Dateline: December 27, 2005

No new posts since Christmas Eve. Regardless of your views, I guess the armistice has begun. Talk to you in eleven months.

Posted by: M | December 27, 2005 03:04 PM

Mr. Hate Crime Waiting to Happen Ford, we all get your point that it is all the fault of the Jews, or blame it all on the Jihadists.Everyone is responsible except the White Christians. There are Jews everywhere in your world, and they are baa-aad. Actually all those uppitty non whites are bad. Where did all that hate come from Chris, all that war will solve everything, let us get the brown non Christians. You actually start sounding a little unhinged while on your rant about the "uppity's" in your how dare anyone but whites get "uppity."
What is this severe retribution the Jews got for their liquidating class enemies. Others call it the Holocaust. Talk about historical revisionism, Mr. Hate Crime Ford. If Hate were money, you'd be a billionaire.
Where are these Christians rolling back the secular Jews? Why can't you say Holocaust? How does a lawsuit against a Corporation bypass democracy?

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | December 29, 2005 10:08 AM

Being a Christmas fanatic for many, many years I look forward to the cool months coming with the anticipation of Christmas! It is so true that Christmas truly lies within your heart all year long. BUT when it is officially the season I almost bust with joy. Christmas in our home raising 2 children was a happy, glorious time. Every nook and cranny was touch with the Christmas spirit in our home. We love singing the Christmas caorls at our church, going to the "Hanging of the Greens", taking gifts and food to the less fortunate in our hometown and just being together as a family. NEVER would I have said to someone "Happy Holidays". A holiday to me is like Memorial Day the 4th of July etc. Christmas is a holiday, it's true, but it is so much more to Christians. It is a time to celebrate our Saviours birth. To look beyond our needs and reflect on His birth and what it means. To have joy and peace in your heart. To truly want to give rather than receive. Even if all we can give is something of non-monatary value. To help those less fortunate than us be able to celebrate with loved ones. It is what is in your heart. We have owned several businesses and have one now that I run in our hometown. With each customer who comes into our store at Christmas I make sure to always say "Merry Christmas" as they are leaving. As they oooh and ahhh over the many decorated trees they also stop and view each nativity scene that we display. And occassionally there are those who tell me how happy they are to see those nativities in our store and how nice it is to hear "Merry Christmas" instead of your large, impersonal stores " Happy holidays" version. Christmas is in your heart and that is something that no congressman, CEO of Wal-Mart can take away from us. If you don't believe in celebrating Christmas as Jesus' birthday then just leave all of us who you do alone. After all, I don't take offense of hearing someone say " Happy Hannuka". We are Christians and believe or not we do have our rights too. Although there are so many trying to deny us of our rights. This Christmas season please enjoy the real meaning and not forget that we can and will always love and cherish those few days in December.

Posted by: Steph | July 11, 2006 01:28 AM

The war on Christmas (Rudolph! Get yer snowbombs !)

T'was the truce before Christmas
and in all of the front.

The humanists were plotting
to confound and confront.

The fundamentalists' drive
to victory on high

To drive all the infidels
from the earth, sea and sky !

Evangelicals were mad as a hatter
To hear these words, just made them much sadder!

Happy Holidays! Season Greetings !
A good year to all!

To Fundees, those are the words to their new fighting call !

With Jews, Muslims, Sikhs,
Hindus and Buddists alike

Taking solice in a holiday
that is a Christian rite.

That, to the Fundee, was just to much to bear.
Every Kwanzaa wish they heard, they heard as a jeer!

Everything they see, everything they hear
Everywhere they turn the evidence is clear

A war is on Christmas,
a war raging strong !

Nothing of Christmas would be left for long.

There were menorahs and lions
and Gays holding hands

There were single parents with children
listening to Holiday bands.

And scientists curing diseases once
shunned through all the lands.

And geologists finding fossils
digging deep in the sands

The Fundamentalists will soon set things right
and bring the Christmas spirit back by this night!

Say Merry Christmas NOW! if you know what is good.
Take down those Kwanzaa signs, you know that you should!

With threats and boycotts, they couldn't be clearer
It's Jesus's love, they hold so much the dearer.

They'll run through the streets
and knock all in a daze.

Who wish Seasons Greetings!
or Happy Holidays!

They'll rout out Gay couples
sitting quietly at home.

and force them to listen
to the entire, old testament tome.

And how they will burn and whither and die.
It'll be enough to make grown men cry!

They'll ban science and reason and teaching evolution
Creationism, they'll say, is God's only solution

They will plot and plan and fester and fuss.
Nothing will be spared to save the Christmas.

And when they are done, and had set it all right
and sent seculists down to their secular Hells.

Then they'll retire for a good night
and listen contently to ol' Jingo-Bells.

- composed by MJW

Posted by: MJW | July 20, 2006 01:02 PM

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