War on Christmas, or just business?

posted at 9:34 am on December 23, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Perhaps the election year has dimmed the ardor of the usual War on Christmas debaters, having expended all of their energy on a tough and unique campaign pitting two non-incumbent Senators of two very different generations against each other.  I haven’t seen much chatter about the attempts to strip the religion from the season, or seen many posts about offering “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.  Today, however, the Washington Times’ Peter Parisi fills the gap with an analysis of retailer fervor for Christmas that somehow feels strangely self-contradictory:

In the fall 2008 edition of “FYI Alexandria,” which the city bills as “Alexandria’s Official Resident Newsletter,” a front-page blurb announced: “City Seeks 2008 Holiday Tree.”

Alexandria at the time was “seeking the donation of a Colorado Blue Spruce … or other well-formed 25- to 35-foot evergreen tree.”

“The Holiday Tree will be decorated and displayed throughout the holiday season,” the newsletter noted, adding that it would be lighted during the city’s annual tree-lighting ceremony on Market Square.

Given that it was politically correct Alexandria, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the city arborist – ironically, named John Noelle – wouldn’t call it what it is, a Christmas tree; after all, the only other “holiday” involving trees is Arbor Day, and that’s celebrated on the last Friday in April.

And with the holiday that dare not speak its name almost upon us, nowhere is that phenomenon more noticeable, or more indefensible, than in the advertising sales circulars of the national retail chains that come by the dozen in newspapers, especially on Sundays.

I think we can all agree that “holiday tree” is an especially lame attempt at political correctness.  Unless Alexandria produces an example of another faith tradition during this holiday season that makes use of trees in some manner, they’re obviously putting up a Christmas tree.  The fact that they can’t quite admit that is more amusing than offensive, although it certainly shows that Alexandria’s citizens need to find more honest and straightforward officials.

Retail chains use the “holiday” reference more often for commercial reasons, though, and in this economy, that makes some sense.  As a term, “holidays” is more general than “Christmas”, which theoretically at least would apply to more people.  Instead of marketing exclusively to Christians, stores offer a broader reason to buy consumer goods so that Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and others can feel encouraged to buy stuff at tremendous discounts.  That’s just good business.

I’m at a loss to understand the offense taken here by Parisi and the Times.  Christians have complained for decades about the utter loss of a religious holiday to commercialization, and for good reason.  Now suddenly we measure the depth of commitment to Christmas by the way retailers exploit the birth of Jesus to sell goods?  If we’re arguing on those grounds, haven’t we already lost?

For myself, I’m not offended when someone wishes me “Happy Holidays,” although I always reply, “Merry Christmas.”  I’ve been wished much worse in the past, believe me.


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I agree that they should just call it a Christmas Tree. We don’t call a Menorah a Holiday Candle.

SoulGlo on December 23, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Merry Christmas Ed Morrissey, Merry Christmas!

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Happy Kwanzaa!

strictnein on December 23, 2008 at 9:44 AM

The muslims don’t call their yearly crush-killings at Mecca the ‘Ramadan Stampede’ or the regularly occurring bombings which happen during their religious holiday gatherings ‘El-Eid Explosions.’

Can’t we all just get along?

Bishop on December 23, 2008 at 9:45 AM

What does Hussein and Christmas have in common?

artist on December 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all. I wish both, because they are actual holidays, and I don’t get offended by either. Happy Holidays is the chickens*** way of avoiding offending some oversensitive loser.

And no, I don’t do Happy Kwanzaa. When the holiday has been around for at least a century, I’ll consider it.

Now…what is the consensus on “Season’s Greetings”? I’ve actually seen that on some calendars from the 1940s, so I’m not chalking that up to PC per se.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM

1) The sad truth is that Christmas in America has become a secular holiday. And Christians have had a hand in this transformation.

2) I don’t buy the ‘commercial reasons.’ The only major holiday here is Christmas. Thus if you’re in the stores buying presents it’s most likely because you’re buying for Christmas. And since Christmas is now a secular holiday, how does it insult Jews or atheists to call it what it is?

3) I think it’s very important for Christians to always know the ‘temperature’ of the society they live in. Pushing to get Wal-Mart employees to say “Merry Christmas” after putting $500 on your credit card – well, that DOES sound pretty lame.

However, knowing that society is quickly finding not only the roots of the holiday, but the name itself offensive…

…well, that goes a long ways toward knowing one’s place in the society.

4) Christianity has historically done much better when it was marginalized and/or oppressed. It will do us some good to operate from this position for a while.

Religious_Zealot on December 23, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Unless Alexandria produces an example of another faith tradition during this holiday season that makes use of trees in some manner

Festivus? No? Okey dokey. I, for one, look forward to decorating the family’s Hanukkah bush. Our neighbors go for a more convention Buddhist Bonsai.

amerpundit on December 23, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Retail chains use the “holiday” reference more often for commercial reasons, though, and in this economy, that makes some sense.

Retailers use the “holiday” reference because they are tired of their executive offices being bombarded with letters, phone calls, and threats of boycotts and lawsuits. In recent years the harrassment, coming almost exclusively from Jews, has become a real distraction as retailers struggle with staffing, vendors and mundane but important issues such as trash removal and snowplowing contracts.

In one case, we had a Jewish woman call from the Lower East Side. She was organizing residents from her building to set up picket lines because she claimed that one of the stores forced their Jewish workers to wear Santa hats. The store’s management had to be interviewed, statements taken from store staff, and a media packet prepared in case it got out of hand, all right in the middle of the Christmas rush….oops, “holiday” rush.

jay12 on December 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

And with the holiday that dare not speak its name almost upon us, nowhere is that phenomenon more noticeable, or more indefensible, than in the advertising sales circulars of the national retail chains that come by the dozen in newspapers, especially on Sundays.

I don’t see the problem with this businesses using Happy Holidays… there are infact TWO major religious holidays that occur around this time of year, plus New Years. There’s also Kwanzaa and Festivus (Happy Festivus, btw!).

But, aside from that, Christmas is supposed to be a religious holiday. The celebration of the birth of Christ. I find it hard to believe that people with the true spirit of Christmas at heart would be complaining that the word is not used in advertisements for clothing and appliance stores. In fact, I would expect those people to complain about the use of the word “Christmas” to drive sales.

Tom_Shipley on December 23, 2008 at 10:03 AM

Now…what is the consensus on “Season’s Greetings”? I’ve actually seen that on some calendars from the 1940s, so I’m not chalking that up to PC per se.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM

I agree, I do not think “Season’s Greetings” is PC, I think it’s quaint. SG works all thru this time of year, Thanksgiving, Christmas… Kind of sounds “Wintery” to me and reminds me of a sleigh ride in the snow of Maine.

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 10:05 AM

I’m (and the people I care about are) having a Merry Christmas. THIS, I won’t negotiate.

perroviejo on December 23, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Tom_Shipley on December 23, 2008 at 10:03 AM

Some great points Tom and I NEVER agree with you… ROFL

Wow, must be some sort of “majic” in the HotAir this time of year…

rofl

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Kind of sounds “Wintery” to me and reminds me of a sleigh ride in the snow of Maine.

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 10:05 AM

*raises eyebrow*

Okay, no Season’s Greetings.

:P

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Well, I’m happy to get a “Happy Hanukkah” from my Christian friends, and I’ve started asking acquaintances if they’re Christian before wishing them a merry Christmas rather than the lame-o “Happy Holidays” when you don’t know. All of them have liked it very much, particularly if I add a “The heck with PC!” preface.

Meryl Yourish on December 23, 2008 at 10:09 AM

THE 12 DAYS OF KWANZAA
On the 12th day of Kwanzaa, Obama gave to me…
12 Blagos singing,
11 ACORN vote frauds
10 Clintonistas
9 surges failing
8 wealth spreadings
7 pigs in lipstick
6 chickens roosting
Ho-o-o-ope and cha-a-a-ange…
4 angry wives
3 nuts cut off
2 terrorist pals
and a tax cut though I’ve never paid a di-i-i-ime.

whitetop on December 23, 2008 at 10:10 AM

I’ve known many Jews over the years, and I have yet to meet one who was offended when someone wished them a Merry Christmas. Most would just offer a Merry Christmas, returning the greeting in the manner it was intended. A few more playfull ones would reply Happy Hanukah.

MarkTheGreat on December 23, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 10:08 AM

It must be the Christma… I mean Holiday spirit.

Tom_Shipley on December 23, 2008 at 10:12 AM

You know, I could understand if Jewish people and atheists were ‘offended’ by manger scenes and wise men and any other specific and particular Christian symbol of Christmas.

But I don’t understand these same people getting offended over Christmas trees or Santa Claus or Rudolph or Frosty.

They either need some religious education or some thicker skin.

Religious_Zealot on December 23, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Tom_Shipley on December 23, 2008 at 10:12 AM

:)

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 10:15 AM

The Pilgrims came here (in part) to escape “Christmas” and the date wasn’t celebrated in New England for two centuries.

People are free to do what they want, but the day is not essential to Christianity, it’s completely absent from Paul’s writings… and I don’t ask Wal-Mart to affirm the deity of Christ before I shop there, why would I care if they say “happy Holidays” or not?

mankai on December 23, 2008 at 10:16 AM

whitetop on December 23, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Heh. Thanks for reminding us that they’re not going to have W to kick around any more. There’s a new sheriff in town and we’re going to be just as respectful to him as liberals have been to President Bush.

perroviejo on December 23, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Kind of sounds “Wintery” to me and reminds me of a sleigh ride in the snow of Maine.
Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Only if the sleigh has twin Phalanx guns, an attached cooler and is being pulled by nine Playboy bunnies.

Bishop on December 23, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Certain sects in Christendom which celebrate Christmas deny the eternal deity of Christ… others deny the finality of his work on Calvary… and I’m supposed to join hands with them to protest somebody calling a fir tree a “Holiday Tree”?

mankai on December 23, 2008 at 10:24 AM

“suddenly we measure the depth of commitment to Christmas by the way retailers exploit the birth of Jesus to sell goods? If we’re arguing on those grounds, haven’t we already lost?”
======================================

If Christmas is an acknowledgement of the birth of Jesus, then everything that is not stemming directly from that event and it’s meaning, is the *real* War on Christmas.

Anything that distracts from the religious aspect is warring with it. Santa is the icon that kids adore. Shopping, parties, cooking, entertaining, getting stressed, worrying if you got the right gift, or if you spent too little, too much. That stuff is the war. It keeps you from thinking about the real meaning.

All this “celebration” causes people to slide right through another Christmas hardly acknowledging the real meaning.

So the war starts there, and as the quote above says, it’s boiled down to how the PC public and merchant describes that war. A decorated tree is not Christmas. Santa is not Christmas. They are the war. If the word Christmas has become objectionable, then perhaps we should get back to basics. WE made a tree a symbol of Christmas. Were there pine trees at the nativity? :o)
==================================
The icon of Santa came from a Coca Cola artist in the 1940′s and from “The Night Before Christmas.” We made all this stuff up, and now we worship and defend it. PS – I am not a religious kook.

moonlighter on December 23, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Anything that distracts from the religious aspect is warring with it.

I guess we’ll have to inform the Pilgrims and the Founders from New England that their “war” with Christmas was somehow a war with Christ.

mankai on December 23, 2008 at 10:33 AM

Why not decorate the houses with holiday lights and holiday trees on July 4th and say “Happy Holiday”?

maynila on December 23, 2008 at 10:33 AM

Bishop on December 23, 2008 at 10:19 AM

(Wipes the “old man” drool off his chin)

Thanks for the image… :) Leave it to Bishop, ROFL!

Now I gotta go wash out me mind with some solid Country Christian Christmas Music prior to Rush comming on the radio at Noon.

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 10:37 AM

The only thing dumber than being offended at someone wishing you a merry Christmas is being offended that someone doesn’t wish you a merry Christmas.

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 10:42 AM

I haven’t seen much chatter about the attempts to strip the religion from the season, or seen many posts about offering “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.

That element of the War on Christmas has been won by the forces of evil. The only people outside my family to wish me a Merry Christmas (rather than Happy Holidays) are a few friends and one business associate. For everyone else, it’s “Happy Holidays.” Christmas displays in retail environments and office buildings are pretty dramatically toned down this year (though I imagine that’s due in larger part to the bad economy than to anti-Christmas sentiment).

Interestingly, the major stores in my area are not running many discounts this week. I was cruising around looking for some deals and was rather surprised at my inability to find them.

Outlander on December 23, 2008 at 10:44 AM

The only thing dumber than being offended at someone wishing you a merry Christmas is being offended that someone doesn’t wish you a merry Christmas.
RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Merry Christmas. Or not.

Bishop on December 23, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas! And a merry non-specific, non-denominational, politically correct winter solstice holiday to you!

Princeps on December 23, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Bishop on December 23, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Merry Chrismahannuknwanzakuh.

Which I stole from a commercial.

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 10:50 AM

jay12 on December 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

And this is how Jews repay America? Sheesh.

Dark-Star on December 23, 2008 at 10:51 AM

it certainly shows that Alexandria’s citizens need to find more honest and straightforward officials.

A little courage would help, especially since Merry Christmas seems to have gained ground against the generic Holidayists.

Speakup on December 23, 2008 at 10:51 AM

The only thing dumber than being offended at someone wishing you a merry Christmas is being offended that someone doesn’t wish you a merry Christmas.

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Welcome to America. About 80% of the country is Christian.
Learn the local customs.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 10:51 AM

What, no one’s going to use the obvious quote here?

So, have a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a kwazy Kwanzaa, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan. And now a word from MY god, our sponsor.

–Krusty the Klown

Snowed In on December 23, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas? I’m just happy to hear something other than “credit or debit?”

I’m really conflicted on this, to tell you the truth. Christmas was, for years, two very different things — in many homes, like ours, it was BOTH, and we faced a major challenge keeping the two from bleeding together for our kids. It was, most importantly, the celebration of Jesus’ birth, a religious occasion; but the hoopla surrounding the purely secular holiday of Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty, and Christmas trees tended to overshadow the religious importance of Christmas. So a part of me was fine with divorcing all that other “stuff” from Christmas, thus highlighting the difference between the two.

But the reality is that the NAME of Christmas is totally tied up in both celebrations, the sacred and the secular. I know any number of agnostics and Jews who celebrate much or all of the secular parts of Christmas — lights on the house, inflatable snowman in the yard, a decorated tree (“Hanukkah Bush” in many cases) in the den — with no religious significance attached.

So what does “Merry Christmas” even mean anymore? Does it mean “Merry Religious Christmas”, or “Merry Secular Christmas”? And if we don’t even know what it means, what’s all the fuss about? What do I care whether some corporate marketing department, after meeting with legal, decides it will be more profitable long term to force their minions to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”?***

And here’s something for us anti-gay-marriage folk to chew on: we assert that the whole issue about “gay marriage” is all about a word, and how it is defined, and that gay people shouldn’t get all worked up over a word. If that’s true, why should we get worked up over a word?

If you celebrate a secular Christmas, may it be a jolly one. If you celebrate a religious Christmas, may it be a Holy time of reflection and thanksgiving. If you celebrate Hanukkah, then Gmar chatimah tovah! And if you have some other tradition, may it be filled with joy and meaning. And to all who recognize Jan. 1 as the start of a new year, may it bring you peace and prosperity.

But that takes a long time to say, so please allow this devout Christian to simply say Happy Holidays!
———————————–
*** But I have to say: when you’re picking names, that pointy tree with a star at the top is a “Christmas tree”, not a “Holiday Tree” — any more than a Menorah is a “Holiday Candelabrum”

RegularJoe on December 23, 2008 at 10:58 AM

As a Christian, I think there are more important things to be concerned about than whether or not the retired guy at Wal-Mart tells me Merry Christmas or not.

vcferlita on December 23, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Welcome to America. About 80% of the country is Christian.
Learn the local customs.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Isn’t one of the customs not getting ruffled over utterly stupid #$%^? It’s not a big deal. I’ve only seen one person in my life get bent out of shape over being told “happy holidays,
and I got the distinct impression she had bigger problems. I’m just always amazed that someone can tell you the equivalent of “have a nice day,” only up the ante so it’s more like “have a nice month,” and someone can get upset over that. What a world.

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Isn’t one of the customs not getting ruffled over utterly stupid #$%^?

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Not these days. Where’ve you been?

Snowed In on December 23, 2008 at 11:04 AM

I have no problem with the stores calling their circulars, “Holiday Sales” and such because Jewish people have their holiday which includes gift giving as well.

Calling a Christmas tree and Holiday tree is stupid, though.

I have a pretty close friend who is a religious observant Jew (keeps Kosher, etc) and I wish him a Happy Hanukkah and he wishes me a Merry Christmas.

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 11:05 AM

I can’t go around telling telling just anybody “Merry Christmas.” They’ve got to earn that. They better have like a green sweater embroidered with a reindeer. At the very least, a Santa hat. Otherwise, it’s “happy holidays.” Deal with it.

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 11:08 AM

As a Christian, I think there are more important things to be concerned about than whether or not the retired guy at Wal-Mart tells me Merry Christmas or not.
vcferlita on December 23, 2008 at 11:00 AM

You don’t get in their face and berate them, threatening to have them fired and saying you’ll be waiting outside for their shift to end?

Dude…during these dark days, you need to have some fun.

Bishop on December 23, 2008 at 11:10 AM

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 11:08 AM

A person wearing a green sweater with a reindeer would earn my pity. I give out Merry Christmases for free. :)

Snowed In on December 23, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Snowed In on December 23, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Bah humbug. Bunch of season’s greetings freeloaders. ;)

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 11:13 AM

I believe that many Christians are hyper-sensitive to what is going on, without quite understanding why.

Throughout the Bible, believers are told to make public monuments to remember God, and to use them to teach our children. When God told Joshuah to have each of the 12 tribes select a stone from the bottom of the Jordan as they crossed, it was to build a monument so that their children would ask about the pile of stones, and they could tell the story and teach them about how God worked in their lives.

It is the same thing here. Many of the symbols of Christmas, from the evergreen tree to packages, were taken from pagans and adapted to teach children about Christ. The evergreen trees in winter symbolized eternal life. The gifts symbolized the gift of salvation that Jesus gave us on the cross.

Now, these same symbols are being co-opted back.

It is as if a few years after erecting the monument of rocks from the crossing of the Jordan, another group of people came along and spray painted on them “Hail Caesar”.

It doesn’t feel right, but it is because we have been lax in our own monuments and teachings. It rubs many of us Christians the wrong way, because it reminds us of the duty we performed, and then failed to protect. It is shameful in our eyes… and rightfully so, from many perspectives.

dominigan on December 23, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Isn’t one of the customs not getting ruffled over utterly stupid #$%^?

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 11:02 AM

First of all, you’re on a political website, and you’re asking that question?

Secondly, you may think it’s stupid, others don’t.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 11:23 AM

I tell everyone to have a Kwazy Kwanza. That usually ends the discussion.

grdred944 on December 23, 2008 at 11:29 AM

First of all, you’re on a political website, and you’re asking that question?

Secondly, you may think it’s stupid, others don’t.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Others may think it’s not stupid, I do. Are we done?

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM

And this is how Jews repay America? Sheesh.

Dark-Star on December 23, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Don’t blame all Jews for the stupidity of a few.

I’d be very surprised if any of the “Jews” taking these actions had been to temple at any time in the last 2 decades.

MarkTheGreat on December 23, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Others may think it’s not stupid, I do. Are we done?

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM

If the world revolves around you, I guess so.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 11:33 AM

I just hope I can piss off some tree hugger, veggie only, far left, wack job, Liberal, PITA freak by wishing them a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and following it up with “Hey, and remember, Jesus is the reason for the season”, and watch thier heads explode… Ahhhhhhh, fireworks at Christmas.

Maybe it could work on some of the trolls here on HotAir, let’s all try it:

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE and REMEMBER, JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

:) Now we just wait…

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Just another example that political correctness is a sign of mental illness.

Happy Holiday’s is actually more offensive that “Merry Christmas” if you REALLY want to be truthful about it. Merry Christmas is simply the recognition of a particular day in a particular faith. The phrase itself is not in any way an endorsement of Christianity.

On the other hand, Happy Holiday’s directly states that certain days are “HOLY” and divine in their own right. If your goal is to refrain from endorsing a particular faith and it’s “holiness” then don’t use Holiday. If your goal is just to recognize the celebration that a super-majority of the public celebrates, then say Merry Christmas and be done with it.

A better explanation is here.

Jason Coleman on December 23, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Happy Holidays are fine when wishing those on friends who are jewish, muslim, budhists, etc. But when you are Christian and you are speaking to your Christian friends, it is sad to use the phrase Happy Holidays. It’s almost like you gave up and gave in to the secular world. We, as Christians, need to be brave enough to say Merry Christmas to those who celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, because if we don’t, no one else will.

So I encourage my children to keep saying Merry Christmas and to keep giving Christmas cards to their teachers and friends. And I do explain why we do not say Happy Holidays to each other.

Merry Christmas! Rejoice, the savior is born!!

texasconserv on December 23, 2008 at 11:48 AM

You guys just focus on defending Christmas while Obama & Co. remakes the country. Brilliant way of zeroing in on what really matters.

factoid on December 23, 2008 at 11:51 AM

factoid on December 23, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Merry Christmas. Merry Christ-Kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 11:55 AM

This is why we send our child to Catholic school. The kids had their Christmas pageant last night and they sang secular and holy Christmas songs.

Couldn’t do this in a non Catholic/Christian school. Now where’s my education tax credit, dammit? ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH-txuj-qXQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cGGtwnIz0k

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Forgot to add a non holy song – the kids are cute no matter what. 3rd grade here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ2lun_0DaY

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 11:59 AM

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 11:59 AM

If we had only fought the fight back then to keep GOD and discipline in our schools, we could and would have had a new crop of young people that LOVE America, have pride in America and a love of faith and family.

We lost because we rolled over… Now, we’re losing another entire generation to Liberal propaganda and dogma. We should be SO proud as American Conservatives right now…

But… did we learn?

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I think we can all agree that “holiday tree” is an especially lame attempt at political correctness. Unless Alexandria produces an example of another faith tradition during this holiday season that makes use of trees in some manner, they’re obviously putting up a Christmas tree.

Hmm, I have another idea, how about instead we just call it an idolatry tree?

Jeremiah 10:1-4
1Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM

It’s a tough one. Many moons ago their was a larger Christian majority. In many placed now, like in NJ where I live, you have much larger groups of non Christians. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. You can’t expect them to go to a school that sanctions the Christian traditions. I share being critical of liberals, but at the same time I can see how many school districts would throw their hands up and just not have any holiday stuff because there are now too many other types of people in many of those schools.

This is why I am for education tax credits. Many other “socialist” type nations allow this, but strangely the US doesn’t. As long as the school meets education guidelines and is not promoting some radical faith, then parents should be able to not only send their kids but get a tax break to make up for the tuition.

We get killed on tuition and we only have one kid. I feel for the parents who have several and want to use a parochial school – and this goes for Catholics, Protestants, and my Jewish friend moans about it too b/c he sends his 3 kids to Hebrew schools and faces the same stuff.

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Lets just call it what it is. If Retailers want our dollars, respect our right to celebrate the Birth of Christ. Check this quick vid!! Merry Tossmass!!

For what its worth – Here is a list of Retailers that support calling Christmas for what it is.

defendfaithandfamily on December 23, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Mark Garnett on December 23, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I agree with you!

defendfaithandfamily on December 23, 2008 at 12:19 PM

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM

C’mon. There isn’t an idol under every rock and bush…. (sigh)

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 12:22 PM

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM

The scripture is only applicable to those that worship Christmas trees and make them their god.

Religious_Zealot on December 23, 2008 at 12:26 PM

The modern Christmas tree tradition is believed to have begun in Germany in the 18th century though many argue that Martin Luther began the tradition in the 16th century. From Germany the custom was introduced to England, first via Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and then more successfully by Prince Albert during the reign of Queen Victoria. Around the same time, German immigrants introduced the custom into the United States. Christmas trees may be decorated with lights and ornaments

.
This is from Wikipedia.

Maybe I’m silly, but I do not think the man responsible for the beginnings of the Protestant Church would participate in idolatry.

kingsjester on December 23, 2008 at 12:28 PM

For myself, I’m not offended when someone wishes me “Happy Holidays

Me neither. I just respond, “Happy holy days to you, too.”

Vashta.Nerada on December 23, 2008 at 12:31 PM

In my city, the Christmas tree has been rebranded the “remembrance tree,” and they are staging a lighting ceremony at some point. It’s like something straight out of Kundera’s Book of Laughter and Forgetting. I mean, how can a “remembrance tree” do anything but make us forget which holy day we’re supposedly celebrating? I think I’ll ask to sing a song for the occasion:

O remembrance tree
O remembrance tree
You help us to forget
That name we must not mention here
Or lawyers will cause us regret
That what’s-His-name
In Bethelehem
Is so passé
We must defame
Deny His name
And hist’ry, too
Remembrance tree
Please hide what’s true

I’m of two minds here. I don’t particularly like the commercialization of Jesus’ birth, and all the attendant pagan encrustations that have accumulated over the centuries; but neither do I like the aggressive attempt to silence the Christians, shaming them out of the public square.

Maybe other Christian denominations should follow our Orthodox brothers and quietly celebrate Jesus’ birth in January, leaving the secularists and the Santa acolytes to battle it out without us. And the bright side: We’d get to pick up on all those boffo post-season sales!

slknoerr on December 23, 2008 at 12:35 PM

But I do take offense at the word Holiday in place of Christmas!

87% of people in the US celebrate Christmas–that includes lots of non-Christians. My cousin now wishes her clients “Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate.” All her Pakistani and Indian clients say, “Oh, we celebrate Christmas too”!

Amazon’s 12 Days of Holiday was the absolute worst.

If the word is appropriate use it.

PattyJ on December 23, 2008 at 12:35 PM

The scripture is only applicable to those that worship Christmas trees and make them their god.

Religious_Zealot on December 23, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Oh, so I guess its ok to adopt Satanic customs just as long as you do it in Jesus name then? If thats the case, maybe we should all just adopt the customs of the occult and make them Christian. Its all the same right?

2Corinthians 6:14-17

14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 12:35 PM

Well, many Protestants are taught that Catholics like me are idolaters because of the “graven images”, statues, paintings, and such. We TRY to tell them that we are not worshiping the thing itself, just what it stands for or represents, which would be Jesus. Okay okay I can understand that there are disagreements about the Virgin Mary and the role of the Saints and praying to them, but whatever you disagree with, know this, it isn’t idolatry. No one, to my knowledge, thinks that the Virgin Mary is a part of the Trinity or that Saints are on a level with God.

So now some think that Christmas trees are idols….

Well, others believe that alcohol and gambling are verboten. Some do not allow dancing. Where does it all end?

I do feel some Schadenfreude though when one of the really strict literalist Protestants attacks a cherished item like the Christmas tree, and then the mainstream guys have to then defend the Christmas tree as not being an idol. How does it feel to walk in my boots? ;-)

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 12:38 PM

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 12:35 PM

I have one word for people like you. Wingnut.

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 12:39 PM

This is from Wikipedia.

Maybe I’m silly, but I do not think the man responsible for the beginnings of the Protestant Church would participate in idolatry.

Well, wikipedia is wrong, look it up in a real encyclopedia. I just quoted the verse that very clearly does show that the practice of putting up trees was around long before Martin Luther. Since when did Martin Luther become the standard for truth anyways.

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Christian churches are NOT the Jewish Temple. If the Protestant tradition shuns pictures and statues or Crucifixes, then fine. Just stop trying to make the bogus case for idolatry. It’s just really dumb.

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Christmas trees, like most other “Christmas” traditions, originated in Teutonic paganism. Frohe Weinachten!

(cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule)

hicsuget on December 23, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Since when did Martin Luther become the standard for truth anyways.

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Are you out of your ever-lovin’ mind? Evidently.

kingsjester on December 23, 2008 at 12:43 PM

There are also verses which claim the Earth and Heavens were literally created in x number of DAYS. There is also evidence that the flood of Noah was actually taken from the earlier story of Gilgamesh and that that came from earlier (Sumerian, I think) stories. Leviticus says you can’t eat pork and to be Kosher, but most Christians believe in the New Covenant of Jesus.

I really love these Biblical cherry pickers.

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 12:43 PM

I’m Jewish, and have never been offended by people saying “Merry Christmas” to me.

I am embarrassed by the Jews from the article mentioned in an earlier post about the Jews picketing a store because of having to wear Santa hats. Unfortunately, there are many hyper-sensitive groups in America (the Blacks, the Jews, and the Gays come to mind). I just try not to be that way.

I tend to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”, but a Jewish Hot Air poster last year said that he says “Merry Christmas” to his Christian friends, and the more I thought about it, I realized he was correct.

asc85 on December 23, 2008 at 12:43 PM

asc85 on December 23, 2008 at 12:43 PM

….and as a Catholic Christian I say Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. I use Happy Holidays when I am not sure if the recipient is Christian or Jewish or neither. this is basic consideration and “loving thy neighbor” stuff.

I do sin when I call that other guy a wingnut, but I can’t resist. I’ll mention it in Confession. ;-)

worlok on December 23, 2008 at 12:46 PM

What truly offends me is “Happy Honda Days.” I realize that it is an attempt at cleverness, but they annoy the heck out of me with that cuteness. I doubt I will ever buy a Honda during the CHRISTMAS Season.

TimothyJ on December 23, 2008 at 12:59 PM

I bought some buttons from AFA.net that say “It’s Okay to say Merry Christmas.” I’ve had nothing but compliments from salespeople.

Mojave Mark on December 23, 2008 at 1:00 PM

I don’t see the problem with this businesses using Happy Holidays… there are infact TWO major religious holidays that occur around this time of year, plus New Years. There’s also Kwanzaa and Festivus (Happy Festivus, btw!).

Tom_Shipley on December 23, 2008 at 10:03 AM

Hey Tom, what is the other MAJOR holiday, besides Christmas, you are talking about? Because Hannukah is a minor holiday in Judaism. It’s a celebration of lights and commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabee in 165 BC. Our MAJOR holidays (Holy Days) are Passover, and Yom Kippur, neither of which occur in December. Hannukah as become somewhat secularized as Jews intergrate into American society and don’t want their kids to feel left out during the Christmas season, but to describe Hannukah as a MAJOR religious holiday is incorrect. Forgive me if you were refering to something else.

ihasurnominashun on December 23, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Oh, so I guess its ok to adopt Satanic customs just as long as you do it in Jesus name then?

Again…

…unless one worships a Christmas tree, there is nothing to be worried about.

Just like Christ changed the cross from a symbol of hate and oppression into a symbol of grace and love…

…Christians have transformed/redeemeds a pagan ritual into a symbol of love and peace.

BTW – if you’re going to go to these kinds of lengths in hating on Christmas trees, then I certainly hope you don’t celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th, go to church on Sundays or sing any hymn marked Old English Melody (these were English drinking tunes).

Religious_Zealot on December 23, 2008 at 1:04 PM

I do some volunteer work for a local school where I teach middle-school kids how to build and program small robots made with Lego. Typically, the competition season ends just before they let out for Christmas break, and as I wished the departing kids to “Have a great Christmas”, the school principal shot me a look of abject horror and then proceeded to explain to me how the school district frowns upon faculty use of the word “Christmas” to refer to the “Holiday” season.
.
I like the principal – he’s a good guy, so I gently reminded him that I am not a faculty member. The kids, of course, took no offense whatsoever – even though several are not Christian.

swash_plate on December 23, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Instead of marketing exclusively to Christians, stores offer a broader reason to buy consumer goods so that Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and others can feel encouraged to buy stuff at tremendous discounts. That’s just good business.

For those stores that insist on being politically correct (and it’s obvious at most establishments), I’d say to those who celebrate Christmas, boycott them and let those stores reap their profits from the non-Christmas holiday gift-buyers like Hanukka, Eid, Kwansa, or whatever someone decides to create next.

It’s “good business” to disparage the majority of people who buy gifts for Christmas? It would be good business to cater to the majority of your customers rather than a vocal minority.

iamsaved on December 23, 2008 at 1:20 PM

The picture for the story on the main page is a screencap from kohls.com. I worked there for several years while I was getting my teaching credential, and it does my heart good to see that they’ve got the guts to call a Christmas sale a Christmas sale ;)

salmonczar on December 23, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Hmm, I have another idea, how about instead we just call it an idolatry tree?

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM

You forgot to include the 5th verse:

Jer 10:5 “Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good.”

… which makes it clear that “the work of the hands of the workman” includes a lot more than cutting down a tree. This is not merely schlepping a tree into the house and putting enough juice through the limbs to keep every fireman in the free worlds busy for December, but actually fashioning a (little-g) god – an idol.

With all humility (WELL aware of my MANY shortcomings, and becoming aware of more each day), may I suggest you consider the implications of this verse: “But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. (Mat 12:7)
__________________________

You know, there times when I begin to understand what Ghandi meant when he said “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

RegularJoe on December 23, 2008 at 1:26 PM

A couple more thoughts:

“Stores” are not people with souls; they are business enterprises. They are not responsible for representing the wishes of their customers except to the degree that it is profitable. I GUAR-ON-TEE every big store chain is carefully surveying their customers to figure out who wants to hear what, and who will file suit in what court, and making the best BUSINESS decision. If you own stock in a company, isn’t that what you’d want them to do? Don’t they, in fact, have an obligation to do that?

In some cases, the customers are so overwhelmingly Christian that it takes no “courage” to say “Merry Christmas”. In other stores, saying “Merry Christmas” would likely offend enough people to be financially damaging.

Another observation: I think there are some Christians who believe that a lost person is going to hear “Merry Christmas” and suddenly come under conviction — and I suppose that’s conceivable. But isn’t it MORE likely that people who might otherwise be inclined to listen to the message of Christ will be put off by Christians huffily demanding that shopkeepers fall in line, “or else”?

Just like all the intra-Christian bickering in other recent threads, we Christians have forgotten how to turn the other cheek.

RegularJoe on December 23, 2008 at 1:36 PM

I work retail, and I have to say that the meaning and the spirit of CHRISTMAS is lost! This season really makes me sick and depressed. Having worked the season I feel dirty for doing that.

grapeknutz on December 23, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Again…

…unless one worships a Christmas tree, there is nothing to be worried about.

Just like Christ changed the cross from a symbol of hate and oppression into a symbol of grace and love…

Yeah, just like I said. You say its ok to adopt Satanic customs just as long as you do it to Jesus and not unto the same god as they did. Actually, you would be less guilty before God if you just went right ahead an worshiped false gods than if you try to mix righteousness with unrighteousness. God spews the lukewarm right out of his mouth. There is a difference if we learned something directly from the heathen and then adopt their spiritual ways than if there is something that we did on our own that was similar to what the heathen did. For instance, I’m not going to stop wearing pants just because the heathen wear pants.

BTW – if you’re going to go to these kinds of lengths in hating on Christmas trees, then I certainly hope you don’t celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th, go to church on Sundays or sing any hymn marked Old English Melody (these were English drinking tunes).Religious_Zealot on December 23, 2008 at 1:04 PM

What lengths am I going to exactly? The Bible says not to learn the way of the heathen and then specifically mentions the tree as an example. If God did not want you to put up trees in your house because it is pagan, then how much more clearly could he make it then that? As for your question regarding my celebrating Jesus’ birth, I celebrate the life and sacrifice of my Lord everyday. The Lord already gave us a way of remembering him, its called the Lord’s supper (This do in remembrance of me).

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 3:49 PM

What lengths am I going to exactly? The Bible says not to learn the way of the heathen and then specifically mentions the tree as an example.

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 3:49 PM

Except that the passage clearly is NOT about trees, but about idols!! A tree isn’t “like a scarecrow”. No one would have to tell anyone a tree “can’t walk” or “can’t talk”.

Just out of curiosity, do you eve have any cut flowers in your house? Yikes! Or do you ever have any wooden furniture? After all, it is a tree cut down by workmen. Oh, and paper: again, a tree cut down by workmen, out it goes!

I apologize for going a little overboard, but I really feel that your response to Christmas trees is absurd. Of course it’s a free country, and you can do as you like. You can call me names, for that matter, though name-calling (in my experience) does nothing but entrench people’s original thoughts. Of course, if you can come up with something from scripture that remotely supports your interpretation of the verse, I am certainly open to correction (in fact, it happened on this very site a week or so ago, when I was reminded that Jesus was, at times, harsh with even his followers).

Every denomination has its little weird quirks. I live with my Southern Baptist church’s paranoia about alcohol, because they otherwise seem to be very Biblical; but at least I recognize that paranoia for what it is. My guess is that your church — however fine it may well be in other ways — has given you this view of Christmas trees. Okay, there’s nothing Biblical about a Christmas tree, so it’s perfectly fine to go treeless to get along; but when you start correcting someone else’s behavior, I believe it’s important to be QUITE certain your foundation for that criticism is ROCK solid — and it’s difficult to see that as the case here.

RegularJoe on December 23, 2008 at 4:17 PM

Just out of curiosity, do you eve have any cut flowers in your house? Yikes! Or do you ever have any wooden furniture? After all, it is a tree cut down by workmen. Oh, and paper: again, a tree cut down by workmen, out it goes! I apologize for going a little overboard, but I really feel that your response to Christmas trees is absurd
RegularJoe on December 23, 2008 at 4:17 PM

Yeah your right, you are going overboard. Look, its not just the tree thats the problem. The problem is that every single thing about Christmas was taken directly from pagan sun worship. Easter is exactly the same thing, heck they even kept the same name for it. As far having wooden chairs, I go back to my earlier statement:

There is a difference if we learned something directly from the heathen and then adopt their spiritual ways than if there is something that we did on our own that was similar to what the heathen did. For instance, I’m not going to stop wearing pants just because the heathen wear pants.

If something was just similar by chance or wasn’t spiritually centered, then I wouldn’t tell a Christian to stop doing it just because the heathen did something similar. But the fact that pagan festivals and all the customs that went with them were adopted in their entirety by Christians is unacceptable. And I repeat that everything about Christmas customs, whether it be the date, the gift giving, the reeves, the mistletoes, santa claus, all of it was taken straight from pagan worship. How could you possibly turn a blind eye to all of that. How is that not mixing righteousness with unrighteousness. If adopting all their festivals and making them our own isn’t learning the way of the heathen, then what is? I came to these conclusions by reading my Bible, not from going to a church that taught so. Oh and BTW, I was the one who had the conversation with you the other week about Jesus only rebuking the Pharisees.

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 5:50 PM

If the world revolves around you, I guess so.

MadisonConservative on December 23, 2008 at 11:33 AM

If anyone wants to get upset about me telling them to have a nice month/Christmas/New Years, that’s their problem. I don’t think that’s being self-centered. It’s perfectly reasonable.

RightOFLeft on December 23, 2008 at 6:22 PM

I was the one who had the conversation with you the other week about Jesus only rebuking the Pharisees.

NeverLiberal on December 23, 2008 at 5:50 PM

You were right then. You’re entitled to your opinion, and certainly should abstain from Christmas if you really believe it’s wrong; but I don’t see any spiritual content in my Christmas tree, and (to the limited extent we’ve done the “Easter Bunny” thing) there’s been no spiritual content to that either.

I will celebrate both secular and Christian elements of Christmas, but no pagan ones. Sorry you’ll be missing that, but I respect your choice.

Everyone else, Merry Christmas or other celebration of your choice! I’m probably out o’ here ’til after the 25th.

RegularJoe on December 23, 2008 at 7:16 PM

I’m pasting a comment of mine from the Festivus thread.

The best I can estimate Eid ul-Fitr (Muslim Holiday celebrating the last day of Ramadan) will fall between Christmas and January 1 in 2027, or maybe 2028. If you are annoyed by atheists, get ready, the real trouble is coming.

There will be a real war on Christmas soon enough.

Pelayo on December 23, 2008 at 8:20 PM

The only thing dumber than being offended at someone wishing you a merry Christmas is being offended that someone doesn’t wish you a merry Christmas.

This evangelical Christian wholeheartedly agrees with that sentiment.

jgapinoy on December 23, 2008 at 8:42 PM

For myself, I’m not offended when someone wishes me “Happy Holidays,” although I always reply, “Merry Christmas.”

I do the same, and purposely, but kindly respond, “Thank you. Merry Christmas.”

apacalyps on December 24, 2008 at 12:20 AM

88% of Americans celebrate Christmas
37% of Americans are offended at Happy Holidays.
5% of Americans are offended at Merry Christmas.

Doing the math, what’s the best business decision.

adamsweb on December 24, 2008 at 10:48 PM