‘Tis the season… for the war on Christmas. For those of you who have been hiding under your atheist rocks for the past 50 years or so, the Christian right gets up in arms every year around this time over what they perceive as an ongoing attack of their sacred holiday. These allegations, however, are nothing new. According to this article on RationalWiki, the modern “war” in America goes back at least as far as 1959, when it was attributed to a communist plot by the UN in a pamphlet called “There Goes Christmas” published by cohorts of the John Birch Society. Their conspiracy theory involved a plot to take Christ out of Christmas as part of a larger anti-religious strategy to establish the UN as the world’s preeminent governing body. This Grinch-like scheme has also been attributed to Jews and, more recently, to Muslims trying to establish their own religion as the world’s dominate belief system.
This plot supposedly involves everything from banning Christmas lights and religious carols to forcing the use of the phrase “Happy Holidays” in lieu of “Merry Christmas”. Christian website GotQuestions.org says this war is very real and uses such tactics as the removal of religious references from things such as public school concerts and library displays and the promotion of more inclusive terms for holiday celebrations.
O’Reily Rallies the Right
Christians hungry for a fight may have found a champion in none other than Bill O’Reily; RationalWiki has this to say about the Fox News personality’s promulgation of the X-mas battle:
But no individual is more responsible for dragging the concept from the right-wing fringe into “mainstream” media culture, and making it an annual tradition as reliable and inevitable as the holiday season itself, than Bill O’Reilly, who is apparently horrified — yes, horrified! — that Wal-Mart greeters might wish that shoppers enjoy “Happy Holidays” — despite the fact that his own website sold “holiday ornaments” rather than X-Mas ornaments. Did anyone mention hypocrisy?
O’Reily, quoted in Fox News Insider, even called it terrorism when a Kentucky school removed religious references in its production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”,
“These people who threaten to sue over religious references, we shouldn’t be caving in,” said the “Factor” host. “This is terrorism, too.”
The article mentions that a parent complained about religious references, but to liken such a complaint to terrorism is taking pandering to its absolute lowest form. This is especially true when you consider that no one was harmed in any way by said complaint nor where the rights of any individual or group infringed upon by changing a few words in a children’s play.
The War Rages On ?
Christmas is the largest holiday event of the year in the US and a large portion of the world. Advertising for the Christmas season now starts in October and local radio stations in my area began broadcasting Christmas themed programming on November first. The National Retail Federation reports that they expect retail sales to total 655.8 billion dollars for the 2016 Christmas shopping season, a 3.6% increase from last year, and projects online sales to increase by 7-10% to as high as $117 billion. If anything, it seems that the Christmas season has grown, hardly evidence for any sort of war being waged against it.
It’s not just retail and online sales that increase at Yuletide, but travel, as well. According to the US Department of Transportation, travel increases by about 23% during the Christmas season making it one of the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year.
Cities across the nation decorate their streets in celebration of the Christmas season, public and corporate buildings are adorned with lights and Christmas trees grace their lobbies. The White House is beautifully decorated with with trees and garland and strings of lights and the US even has a national Christmas tree and an official lighting ceremony covered by major news outlets. In observance of this federal holiday, schools and businesses close along with government offices and employees everywhere vie for vacation time all in celebration of this allegedly embattled winter holiday.
So when the Christian Right can’t find an real evidence of an attack, they simply create it; enter the story of the Obamas taking Christ out of Christmas. A Fox News opinion piece seeks to sell this tale by reporting on an article in The New York Times Sunday Styles section in which White House social secretary Desiree Rogers was claimed to have said the Obamas wished to have a secular celebration.
But in the twelfth paragraph of the article there was a real bombshell: It said that earlier this year at a luncheon with other previous White House social secretaries, Ms. Rogers claimed that this year the White House would have a “non-religious” Christmas celebration.
The article goes on to say
“The lunch conversation inevitably turned to whether the White House would display its crèche, customarily placed in a prominent spot in the East Room. Ms. Rogers, this participant said, replied that the Obamas did not intend to put the manger scene on display — a remark that drew an audible gasp from the tight-knit social secretary sisterhood. (A White House official confirmed that there had been internal discussions about making Christmas more inclusive and whether to display the crèche.)”
While this conversation may have happened, the author of the Fox piece is far too removed from the source to justify the accusations this article makes.
If President Obama wanted to fuel the fears of every serious Christian in America and actually prove that he is every bad thing they’ve ever heard about him on every crazy Web site, the idea of symbolically taking Jesus out of the White House at Christmas would be just the ticket!
Let’s face it: “Brand Obama” dodged a bullet by not going forward with this terrible idea, but only barely dodged it. After all, the facts of the story are right there in The New York Times for all to see.
Facts? All that has been presented is an opinion piece written about an article based on a third party repeating hearsay. We don’t even know for sure that it was President Obama who presented the idea of removing the nativity scene.
This article at TheLastLineOfDefense.org just outright lies, claiming Obama banned any reference to Jesus on White house grounds. The article states:
Well, Obama is making sure his War on Christmas lasts clear through his last days in the White House. Early Monday morning, Barack Hussein Obama signed an executive order banning the use of a baby Jesus on the White House soil. That’s right, he banned Jesus Christ.
Not true says both Business2Community.com and Snopes but that has not stopped articles like the above from getting literally tens of thousands of shares on social media fueling this Christmas conspiracy theory.
The need for persecution
Christians have a need to be persecuted. One can hardly go a day without seeing some new claim of Christianity under attack pop up in one’s social media newsfeed. To understand where this need originated we can simply look to the Bible. Here are a few verses about Christian persecution from GodVine.com:
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
1 Corinthians 4:12 And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution
To be Christian, it seems, is to be persecuted.
And if there is no real persecution, such as one might see in a country like Syria or North Korea, Christians are forced to find it where they will such as in a school play or city Christmas display. So where is this war? Certainly not here in America, or any other western nation for that matter. Perhaps it’s time Christians put this false flag away and addressed some of the real problems in this nation.
So Happy Holidays and a wonderful Yuletide to you all.
Oh, and Merry Christmas, too!