Rick Perry is absolutely disgusting. Last week he released a campaign ad in which he claims that President Obama is waging a war against Christmas and that gays can serve in the military but children cannot celebrate Christmas in their schools.
Well, I just went to a Christmas (not Holiday) program at my granddaughter’s public elementary school and the program was based on the Dr. Seuss classic, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, not The Grinch Who Stole the Holidays. I also remember well the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree this year and each year Mr. Obama and his family has lived in the nation’s home.
For the first time I ventured into the marketplace this past “Black Friday.” The stores were packed with shoppers and sales persons trying to meet their needs. Everywhere I looked and listened I saw and heard the word Christmas. There were Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays banners everywhere. The air was filled with smiling, albeit tired, voices wishing customers a Merry Christmas. That’s the way it’s been as long as I’ve been living.
Certainly there are some who are offended by the degree of attention a fundamentally religious occasion is given in a democratic system that is supposed to exercise a strong degree of separation between church and state. And supposedly some major retail chains caved to those people and made it policy that the word Holiday be used as a substitute for Christmas. I’m not certain such ever happened but even if it did, it didn’t take. Stores everywhere are freely and openly using the “C” word this season. But, that doesn’t mean the crazies on the right are going to pass up a chance to mislead the populace for ideological gain.
This whole “war against Christmas” sham is just that, a sham. Conjured up by the ideological right to scare the vulnerable into blindly extending their electoral support to ultra-extreme conservative politicians and policy. It’s been said the whole idea of a war on Christmas is the product of Fox News Channel. Whether it is or not, Fox doesn’t hesitate to join in and stoke the fires with its own brand of yule logs. If Fox didn’t start it Fox certainly took ownership of it. Announcing the war’s resumption has become an annual tradition for O’Reilly’s, The Factor.
The nation’s most popular cable news channel, Fox, recently took umbrage at the Governor of Rhode Island inviting people to the lighting of that state’s Holiday Tree, not Christmas Tree. They falsely claimed that earlier Republican governors had lit the Christmas Tree when in fact, for at least nine of the past Christmases the official invitation used the word Holiday and not Christmas. Naturally people are not going to check the accuracy of such statements and are going to walk away from their TVs believing the nation and its God are under attack.
At best it is ignorance and at worse, insanity. The best I can suggest is that those of you who feel your religion is under attack consider the real enemy. It isn’t some liberal Grinch who threatens your sacred season, it’s the commercialization of Christmas that has diluted its meaning for generations. If you truly want to put Christ back into Christmas, stop participating in the commercial debauchery that occurs each year between Thanksgiving and the 25th of December. There is no war to end Christmas. Who is going to profit from the death of Christmas?
There is no law preventing people of the Christian faith from displaying the religious symbols of their season on private property. There are plenty of Christian churches fronting major streets to place nativity scenes. Christian farmers are not prevented from fixing the Star of David high atop their grain elevators for all to see. The sidewalks are public and there is no outcry against carolers walking those sidewalks while singing the songs of the season. As I drive around the surrounding communities and rural areas this time of year I see no lessening of Christmas decorations both religious and secular.
This past weekend my wife and I were in Cincinnati. In downtown Cincinnati Fountain Square was alive with people engaging in Christmas activities and doing things together as families. Groups of parents and their children were taking buggy rides through the streets of the city with both buggies and horses blazed with holiday tensile. Each winter an ice skating rink is installed on the square and there were large numbers of families sharing the moment of being together on the ice.
Contrasting this were the hordes of parents, without their children, filling the parking lots of Eastgate Mall where we stopped on our way home. Christmas is a religious season but it is also a season about family. Personally, I think both would be better served if those parking lots were empty and the ice arenas, museums, hiking and biking trails, etc. were filled with families having a moment to work on strengthening the bonds the hold them together.
As often happens, America’s most trusted newscaster, John Stewart, has shed light on the reality of this so-called war. I suggest you take a look at this video from his December 6th The Daily Show broadcast. It may give you a new perspective on what your fair and balanced friends at Fox are up to.
Oh, and about that other war, the real one in Afghanistan, how about spending less time worrying about a non-existent war on Christmas and place some pressure on the politicians to get America’s kids out of the hell hole they’re in and home in time for next Christmas.
Footnote: If you are in the malls and shopping areas and there is a Salvation Army volunteer ringing their joyful bell, drop some green stuff in the red kettle. That’s a traditional part of Christmas as well and nobody is at war with the good work, in God’s name, the Salvation Army does.