‘War on Christmas’ Watch

Drive down almost any street in America and you can see it’s that time of year again. Christmas trees strapped to cars or in the back of pickup trucks headed home. Glittering string-lights stretched across eaves and wrapped around shrubs. Colorful holiday displays in front yards. Church signs with messages of peace and the holy birth.

It should be clear to most people that Christmas is thriving in America today — unless your post box or e-mail account has been filled with paranoid messages from religious-right groups. This is prime fundraising season for the religious right, and the phony “War on Christmas” in America is a big moneymaker for those seeking to frighten people about a supposed anti-Christian conspiracy by “secular humanists,” atheists and assorted other demons.

An e-mail from the far-right group In God We Trust today illustrates our point:

The national advocacy group In God We Trust today condemned efforts of national atheist organizations and left-wing legal groups aimed at terrorizing Americans into not celebrating Christmas.

“Americans have become accustomed to the whining and calls for censorship of anti-religion activists during the Christmas season,” says In God We Trust’s Chairman Bishop Council Nedd. “However, this year opponents of the holiday are escalating their ‘War on Christmas’ to a whole new level. Their goal is harass, mock and scare people into censoring themselves and hiding their Christmas celebrations.”

“Americans are being terrorized into banishing Christmas from public life,” Nedd warns. “The hate and venom spewing from some of these anti-religious groups is so great that some jurisdictions are tearing down even secular Christmas displays as fast as they can.”

“Americans are being terrorized”?  We wonder if that language is intended to conjure up visions of Osama Bin Laden racing across lawns in the middle of the night to kidnap the baby Jesus from manger displays and puncture Santa balloons. In any case, it’s not just a deeply cynical ploy. It’s also a disgusting metaphor in a country fighting a real war with real casualties.

But there is money to raise — lots of it, according to the folks at Right Wing Watch from People for the American Way. Right Wing Watch notes that one far-right group is peddling buttons proclaiming “It’s OK, Wish Me a Merry Christmas.” You can get 10 buttons for $25 — such a deal.

As we noted in September, the fundraising potential for an anti-“War on Christmas” campaign hasn’t escaped the attention of far-right groups in Texas. Those groups have even suggested that curriculum writers are promoting such a “war” in this state’s social studies classrooms. (That surely came as a surprise to the Christians serving on those curriculum writing teams.)

Of course, the “War on Christmas” claims surrounding the social studies curriculum were based on silly exaggerations bordering on outright lies. But smearing the teachers and academics on the curriculum teams to advance a political agenda — and raise money — was more important to them. That kind of cynicism is a far bigger threat to the spirit of Christmas than any imagined “war” on the holiday.

TFN will keep an eye on groups using “War on Christmas” lies to shake down frightened people for money. In the meantime, I have string-lights to untangle and a Christmas tree to decorate.

10 thoughts on “‘War on Christmas’ Watch

  1. I have not seen any evidence of a war on Christmas in my town. We leave our ceramic Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and a couple of animals out all year in our home. Recently, our 8-year-old son was playing a little too rough in the house and accidentally knocked over the donkey, breaking one of its ears off. Maybe that counts as a musket skirmish in the “War on Christmas.” I can see the headlines now: “War on Christmas: Juvenile Delinquent Assaults Holy Donkey.”

    The “War on Christmas” concept must have been developed by paranoid fruitcakes. Oh sure, there may be several real grinches out there somewhere. A few people think the Earth is flat too. Christmas is here to stay.

  2. Charles, I have to agree with you. I wish that they would provide examples of all the “escalation”, “censoring”, and “venom spewing” that they describe. I wish that when people read something like this that they had enough of a BS detector to question the basis for such a claim. Show me the evidence before you ask me to donate! I would bet that if there is any “evidence”, it is based on acts of inclusion (i.e. recognizing that lots of people don’t believe in Jesus) rather than actual attacks on Christianity. Frustrating.

  3. War on christmas? I went to Whataburger last night and on the drive through intercom they had Merry Christmas. I was so outraged(sarcasm) that I filled out the website survey that was requested on my receipt telling them that they have offended this atheist because some private business didn’t say Happy Holidays. I noted it was satire in my online survey. The reason for the season=Sol Invictus. [email protected]

  4. I couldn’t give two cents if someone greeted me with ‘Merry Christmas’ or the Takbir. It’s when I start seeing either greeting everywhere that I presume a favoritism toward one and not the other. We are a nation of diversity, let’s keep Holy Days holidays, and keep your religions off the streets of freedom and capitalism.

  5. Once again, we’re back to the psychopathology of people who are harboring doubts about their religious beliefs, and project the threat to their faith on those who don’t agree with them politically. They are then exploited by hustlers who can get to them through the internet, just as they’re exploited by the hustlers we call ” televangelists”. It’s an American tradition.

    I long for an old-time, innocent, beautiful Christmas like it was when my family was too poor to get caught up in the materialism and commercialism and exploitation. We had as much fun looking at the magical displays in the Sears catalog as we did with most of the actual toys we ever bought. (Books, board games, jig-saw puzzles and sports equipment were the best investments) We mostly got socks and underwear and our stockings were filled with oranges, apples and mixed nuts. (unshelled)
    We were filled with the spirit of ” Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”
    I would ask these people, “Now,who’s waging a ‘war on Christmas’?”

  6. Just another small chapter in the disturbing stream of propaganda from the pot stirring RR. Christmas celebrations, even though symbolic and not entirely factually based, are of long standing,revered, and will likely withstand any “war” directed agaisnt it. To be sure gospel writer,Matthew, used a very fertile imagination to create a vivid, award worthy novella complete with a pregnant virgin giving birth in a barn far from her city of residence, with animals and shepherds as witmesses and the cuckold husband available to welcome kings from afar bearing gifts. They must have left on their camels weeks before to find the barn and worship its new inhabitant, guided by a star pulled out of orbit from its position at least 4 light years away just to mark the spot. Strangely the citizens of Bethleham did not react to all this big production; perhaps they knew that the real month was May and the town was Nazareth and the rest was Matthew being deMille. At any rate regardless of the facts the most influencial man of the past 2000 years was born in that time frame and after 30 years of obscurity emerged to have a memorable effect on his and every other generation since.The part of his birthday we celebrate most enthusiasticly is giving and receiving gifts and this could be justified as part of the emergency stimulus plan

  7. To JohnC: This bunch considers itself too good to be expected to having to give examples of a war. Production of evidence is not necessary for them. After all, GAWD is with them, and that’s all that matters. They can lie, cheat, steal, misrepresent – do whatever they feel they need to do. GAWD is with them.

    I’ve been hearing Christmas music on my radio every morning since Thanksgiving. I wake up to it. The stores are awash in Christmas gifts, Christmas decor, and Christmas music. Signs actually use the word ‘Christmas.’ Where is the battleground for this war? How many casualties have there been? Is there a call for reinforcements – such as 30,000 more? Any talk of a draft or required national service to counter the enemy? Are we going to get deeper in debt to China in order to wage this war?

  8. “The reason for the season=Sol Invictus.”

    Actually, TXatheist, you heretic, the reason is Earth’s axial tilt.

    — another TX atheist

  9. Y’know, there’s a good point in the comment above.

    Either you believe in God Almighty … or you think maybe God isn’t Almighty, or else you’re a little afraid your faith’s not stout enough. This is why you should not try to base a religion on fear, folks. Scared people don’t think straight.

    This is why I lean heavily toward the notion that God is Love, and what you’re supposed to do is Love God with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Now, if you’ve got low (or no) self-esteem, it’s gonna be tough to love your neighbor, right?

    So you wax all self-righteous and fluffed-up about who’s your neighbor, and who’s not, and hey presto: now it’s not about God at all. It’s about fear, and loathing, and smallmindedness.