War on Christmas

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It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind.
H.P. Lovecraft[1]
There is actually a War on Christmas. But Christmas started it, with it's[sic] unparalleled aggression against the Thanksgiving Holiday, and now Christmas has seized much Lebensraum in November, and are[sic] pushing into October. The rest of us seek to repel these invaders, and push them back to the status quo ante bellum Black Friday border.
—A random moonbat
What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!


Icon war2.svg
Don't believe us?
The liberal plot to ban the sacred holiday is worse than you think!

The so-called "War on Christmas" is a (primarily American) right-wing demagogic neologism referring to secular attempts to keep the December solstice holiday shopping season culturally inclusive. It is famously fought every year by none other than Bill O'Reilly.


[edit] Origins

It's little known, even among those who promote this idea, that it actually started out as a conspiracy theory promulgated by the John Birch Society. In 1959, they released a pamphlet called "There Goes Christmas," in which they claimed that there was a new communist plot to "take the Christ out of Christmas" by replacing Christmas decorations with United Nations iconography. The Society claimed this was part of a larger push to stamp out religion altogether and cede US sovereignty to the UN. They urged their members to boycott any stores with "inappropriate decorations."[1]

The JBS itself had developed the idea of a War on Christmas from inter-war anti-Semitic publications, particularly from Henry Ford's The International Jew. As part of a supposed move to take over the world it claimed that Jews were launching a "war on Christianity," with one paper lamenting, "Last Christmas most people had a hard time finding Christmas cards that indicated in any way that Christmas commemorated Someone's Birth." This was (of course) seen as a plot by Jewish conspirators who "consider any public expression of Christian character as being derogatory to his religion."[2] Sound familiar?

[edit] More recently

It is a seasonal favorite talking point of 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.[3] Did anyone mention hypocrisy?

The fact that "Happy Holidays" refers to over a dozen holidays (see below) never seems to have any real effect on the demagoguery; neither does the idea that Christmas itself was first made by blatantly ripping off a pagan holiday (let's hear it for the War on Yule!) or that puritanical types have made a few wars against Christmas themselves (see below). So, the Religious Right keeps yammering about it and secularists keep making jokes about going along with it.[4] As the years go by, the semi-ironic "Merry Christmas" greeting is gaining ground. People who might be non-religious or secular made wingnuts take pains to wish others a Merry Christmas, at least on the day itself.

Despite the best efforts of the sinister anti-Christmas warriors, the proportion of American Christians who feel a religious meaning in Christmas is increasing,[5] though religious belief is generally declining in the US.

[edit] So what's a war without war profiteers?

The American Family Association (AFA) issues a yearly list of nationwide retail outlets often owned by huge, multination corporations companies that they say are "for," "marginal on," or "against" Christmas. Supposedly the "for Christmas" companies use the word "Christmas" instead of "Xmas" (which is highly amusing, since the "X" in "Xmas" is not a placeholder to "cross out" Christ, but the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter of "Christ" in Greek; it's an abbreviation invented by Christians and used for centuries) or "Holiday" in their advertising, while the "against Christmas" companies do not.[6][7] Of course, the AFA doesn't seem to notice that many of the companies on the "for Christmas" list often substitute "Holiday" for "Christmas" in their ads, or minimize the number of references to the holidays altogether. This has led to speculation by godless, gay, pinko-commies critics that maybe the AFA receives compensation for inclusion on the "for Christmas" list, a claim that the AFA denies.[8]

[edit] They've messed our economy

In 2008, the ante was raised as a columnist has blamed the entire economic crisis on the War on Christmas. In true Wall Street Journal op-ed style, Daniel Henninger said that the push against Christmas is leading us to a "Mad Max" type environment.[9]

[edit] The War in politics

In 2007, even some of the Presidential candidates took up the war, with Mike Huckabee claiming that it might be "controversial," but he was going to wish the gathered Iowa Republicans a "Merry Christmas."[10] Oh noes!!!

[edit] "Happy Holidays" may also refer to...

One fine sentiment.
  • Alban Arthuan
  • Boxing Day
  • Chrimbus
  • Chrismukkah
  • Decemberween
  • Dongzhi Festival
  • Eid al-Adha (Islamic New Year)[11]
  • Festivus
  • Hanukkah
  • Hogswatch
  • Holiday (Pastafarianism)
  • Inti Raymi
  • Kwanzaa
  • Lenaea
  • The Long Night
  • Merlinpeen
  • Newtonmas
  • New Year's Eve
  • New Year's Day (also celebrated on the first of April, by fools)
  • The Primary Gifting Period[12]
  • Ramadan[13]
  • Saturnalia
  • Second Rite of Belial
  • Solstice (winter in the northern hemisphere, summer in the southern)
  • Thanksgiving (in some places)
  • Winter-een-mas
  • Wintervaltide
  • Xmas
  • Yaldā
  • Yule (or Juul)

[edit] Weapons used in the war

War on seasonal houseplants!
  • Debauchery
  • Holly
  • Ivy
  • Mistletoe
  • Mummery
  • Yule logs
  • Gift exchanges
  • Decorated evergreen trees
  • Magical reindeer
  • Alcohol
  • Plastic, life-size Santas
  • Flesh and blood, alcoholic Santas
  • Strings of colored lights
  • Wreaths
  • Food, often in extraordinarily large quantities

[edit] Actual wars on Christmas

In a twist that breaks an irony meter or two, the only times that a war has actually been declared on Christmas, the fundamentalist types were the ones warring against it.

  • In England, the Puritan government of Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas celebrations. This led to pro-Christmas rioting in several cities, in which rioters defied Cromwell by decking the halls with boughs of holly.[14]
  • In Massachusetts, Christmas was completely banned for 22 years, from 1659 until 1681, only being legalized again when King James II appointed an Anglican governor to the colony who could rule by decree. Christmas did not become popular there until the 1850s.
  • George Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware took place on the night of December 25, 1776, with the hope of catching the Hessian soldiers garrisoned in Trenton off guard in the morning as they were still in bed nursing hangovers. Presumably the Continental forces weren't celebrating Christmas as they were busy loading boats. After the Revolutionary War, celebrating Christmas fell out of style in the US as "too British."[15]
  • Observation of Christmas in the British Isles was in decline during the latter eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Christmas had fallen under a cloud of official public disfavor as a result of the Industrial Revolution, along with most other festivals that had the potential to encourage public gatherings of the lower classes for alcohol-fueled revelry. The factory owning classes found this threatening. It took Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol to revive the holiday, which as the story suggests was being increasingly neglected by the capitalist class; and it did so by promoting a new style of family-centered observance rather than by public gatherings.[16]
  • Some fundamentalist groups today reject the celebration of Christmas as a holiday of pagan origin. The Jehovah's Witnesses and Herbert W. Armstrong are well known for this. Less well-known, Jack Chick states that Christians are not supposed to celebrate Christ's birth in at least one of his comic books, and believes that teaching children about Santa Claus will lead to them rejecting Christ once they realize Santa is a fairy tale[17]. Some fundamentalist groups like Independent Baptists and Pentecostals while not rejecting the celebration of Christmas, tend to de-emphasize the holiday relative to mainline churches. Christian fundamentalists have also been known to picket Santa Claus in malls, or even to point out that Santa is an anagram of Satan.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. How the Secular Humanist Grinch Didn't Steal Christmas, Salon
  2. The International Jew: Jewish Activities in the United States, Vol. 2 (Dearborn, MI: Dearborn Publishing Co., 1921)
  3. http://mediamatters.org/items/200511300006
  4. When, in fact, most secularists really don't mind "Merry Christmas"; as a general rule it's mostly just a few butthurt egotists who complain every year.
  5. http://www.gallup.com/poll/145367/Christmas-Strongly-Religious-Half-Celebrate.aspx
  6. Joe.My.God. Blogspot page on the 2009 list
  7. Disinformation website (disinfo.com) page on the AFA's 2011 list, with commentary. (Notice whose online store tops the "for Christmas" list.)
  8. Near the end of this YouTube video, AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer denies to Thom Hartmann that corporations pay to get on the "for Christmas" list. However, the best part of the video comes at the very end when Hartmann calls Fischer a "blasphemer" for his right-wing take on the Parable of the Talents.
  9. "Wonder Land: Mad Max and the Meltdown" November 20, 2008
  10. The Weekly Standard: A Merry Christmas for Huckabee December 21, 2007
  11. Eid al-Adha has coincided with Christmastime, though since Islamic holidays are on a lunar calendar its date progresses backwards through the Gregorian calendar. It fell on October 15, 2013 and is calculated to take place on October 4, 2014.
  12. This is UK retailer-speak for the period ending closing time on 24 December, starting at an indeterminate point in time which seems to be getting earlier with each successive year. This year (2012), it appeared to start mid-September. You can identify when a store is in "PGP layout" by referring to the "Seasonal" aisle. PGP layout begins when the store's Seasonal section makes the first of two switches to Christmas paraphernalia - the second switch is a return to Christmas goods after Halloween. Until Bill Bailey popularised the term, it was considered jargon, but is now proof positive of "Political correctness gone mad!!!!" with four exclamation marks and everything.
  13. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has fallen during the same time of year as Christmas but, like Eid al-Adha, its date progresses backwards through the Gregorian calendar. In 2013, it began on July 10 and lasted until August 7. In 2014, it is expected to start on June 28, depending on the sighting of the new moon, and to last until July 27.
  14. "Lords of Misrule: The Puritan War on Christmas"
  15. Andrews, Peter (1975). Christmas in Colonial and Early America. USA: World Book Encyclopedia, Inc. ISBN 7-166-2001-4.
  16. Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (Oxford, 1996)
  17. https://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1033/1033_01.asp
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