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What war on Christmas?

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Chris OConnor

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What war on Christmas?

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What War On Christmas?By: Emily GroffAs the cold wind and snow blows winter into Connecticut, another seasonal phenomenon is equally ubiquitous: Christmas. This year, however, a bitter debate has taken its place among the decorated evergreens and colorful lights. Apparently, there is a war on Christmas.Fox News and conservative radio claim "secular humanists" are persecuting Christians and trying to ban Christmas. According to Fox anchors like Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson, acknowledging the panoply of religions in America by saying "Season's Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas" is an attack on Christianity. Pat Buchanan even claimed, "What we are witnessing here are hate crimes against Christianity." In reality, Christmas is just as omnipresent as it ever was. As I noted before, Christmas decorations are everywhere. Ever since a series of developments raised the holiday's profile in the 19th century, Christmas celebrations have predominated the month of December. Indeed, 80 percent of Americans are Christian and 96 percent observe Christmas each year. So where does the idea of a war on Christmas come from? As a result of widespread confusion about the legality of Christmas decorations and the desire to embrace America's diversity, "some schools, in an overzealous attempt to promote inclusiveness, have taken silly steps like renaming their Christmas trees 'friendship trees,'" according to an article on Salon.com. Some towns stopped displaying the creche, or nativity scene, on public property and banned other public Christmas displays. Many stores and companies have replaced Christmas parties and sales with "holiday" events. Now certain radical conservatives complain Christmas is under attack and have urged their supporters to boycott offending stores like Target and Wal-Mart. The controversy over Christmas is a complex issue that involves the unique nature of Christmas in America. First, while many holiday symbols like evergreen trees, mistletoe, Santa Claus and his reindeer are solely associated with Christmas, they have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. The Supreme Court has deemed these decorations secular and legal to display on public property. Even the creche is legal if it is balanced with symbols of other religions such as Hanukkah menorahs and Kwanzaa candles. The government recognizes Christmas as a cultural phenomenon, according to Supreme Court documents. Schools, town squares and police stations can all display their Christmas decorations as long as they represent different religions equally to avoid favoring a single belief system, in accordance with the Establishment clause of the Constitution.Not only is there nothing wrong with public displays of holiday cheer, there is also nothing wrong with replacing the word Christmas with vaguer adjectives like "holiday," "winter" or "season" in certain contexts. For example, "Happy Holidays" is an excellent greeting. In using it, the speaker understands that Americans may celebrate Christmas, but they may recognize Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the Solstice instead. "Season's Greetings" is equally satisfactory. On the other hand, calling the Capitol Christmas Tree a holiday tree, as it was dubbed during the 1990s, is silly. The only other holiday I have heard of that celebrates trees is Arbor Day, but that involves planting them not cutting them down. An evergreen decked in lights and ornaments symbolizes one thing: Christmas. Calling it different names doesn't disguise its nature and besides, the Supreme Court already ruled the Christmas tree is a secular decoration. Generally, I chafe at any mixture of church and state. However, in this debate, I agree with the Supreme Court. Pine trees, candy canes and the colors red and green are secular symbols of Christmas. There is nothing wrong with displaying them, especially when the display includes representations of other winter holidays. Yes, originally Christmas commemorated the birth of Jesus, the leader of Christianity. However, the holiday means many different things to Americans today. To me, Christmas is a joyous holiday celebrating family, tradition, peace and goodwill toward others. It's the one time of the year when you can wish for peace on Earth without being laughed at. People actually think about those less fortunate than they are and help them by donating time or money. In addition, the bright decorations and holiday cheer offer a lovely respite from the frozen ground, gray sky and bitter wind.The whole idea of a war on Christmas and boycotting business who are only trying to be inclusive puts a damper on a festive season. The vast majority of Americans celebrate Christmas and the holiday has become cultural as well as religious. However, people also celebrate other holidays during December that should be recognized too. Holiday decorations should display the variety of beliefs Americans hold. Schoolchildren can learn about Christmas, but they should learn about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and pagan celebrations too. To claim that not recognizing Christmas to the exclusion of other holidays equals religious persecution is absurd. Christmas is not at risk of disappearing and if we ignore the many holidays we celebrate, December would be a much drearier month and we would be denying our cultural heritage.
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Re: What war on Christmas?

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A war on Christmas? Eh, likely not. Although, I do think it's silly that some people have decided to re-record Christmas songs with lyrics edited to avoid overt reference to Christian themes.
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Quote:Although, I do think it's silly that some people have decided to re-record Christmas songs with lyrics edited to avoid overt reference to Christian themes. I agree...that is just being ignorant...although I DID come up with a version of "Jingles Bells" where I switch "Bells" with "my Balls".I like that one.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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completely agree with that article. the extreme conservatives continue to alienate people due to their view points instead of trying to pic ktheir battles on things most people agree wit. it baffles me why they continue to shot their own cause in the foot, but it's fine by me!!!i also agree that saying 'holiday tree' is silly. but how can you possibly take fault wih 'happy holidays'???
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For that matter, why don't we use "Happy Holidays" during other times of the year? Surely December isn't the only time of year when multiple holidays in multiple traditions overlap.
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Re: What war on Christmas?

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True Mad. I pretty much have no use for most holidays...aside from the days off.But is not December where most of the important holidays coagulate? Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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It's where the longest holidays tend to "coagulate". It also happens to be the end of the calendar year, and I think a large part of the festival season is probably associated with the quasi-religious observance of the new year. That's probably why we tend to think of it as the central holiday season.
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As I see it, the tragedy that besets Christmas has nothing to do with folks choosing to say "Happy Holidays", but in American Christians embracing an Imperial culture and economy.The great irony involves how a story about a peasant family in occupied territory, refugees in search of shelter, powerless and frightened for their lives...basically nothings and nobodies in the Imperial scheme of things...how this story of promise and hope for a transformed world where wealth, status, prestige and military dominance no longer serve as symbols of success...how the frenzied compulsion to purchase and consume in a Nation of overindulgent opulence, financing the largest military in world history, hijacks this ancient story about the infant Prince of Peace: this is the war against Christmas.
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Re: What war on Christmas?

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Christmas brings people together and for this reason I love it. Nobody is forcing anyone to buy expensive gifts for family and friends. Simply get together and have a nice meal and tell each other you love them. Some of you don't like considering or mandating "getting together and loving one another" a holiday. I don't know what to say to you guys other than I wish you could enjoy the holiday a bit more. Do you actually spend every single day of the year with your loved ones? Do you dine and sing and dance (that was for you Dissident ) every day? Of course not. Christmas, to me, is a time to put other things on hold and to stop and smell the egg nog. wtf did I just say?You should get my point. Christmas is a special time of year for GIVING to others, no matter what the gift. Don't have much money? Watch a movie together and watch some Christmas specials on TV. Forget the gifts. But Christmas doesn't suck just because some people cannot afford to give material items.
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i heard an interesting point (i think on the radio) in which someone mentioned how the idea of a christmas tree is already distorting tradition, rather that it should be a pagan tree or what not.i am all for calling the silly thing a christmas tree. i don't think many people, especially in the selular/humanist divions of thought care, which really makes the extreme religious right look kinda silly. seems like the people pushing for plualistic names are believers wanting to be inclusive to all. the religious right could take a lesson to irove their cause.regarding the whole giving thing, that is a well and good but it seems odd that so many of us limit our giving based on the calendar. calls for giving are always around the same times of the year: xmas, thanksgiving, natural disasters, etc. what makes xmas so special in terms of giviong and why don't people give more often independant of dates?the cynical among us might suggest that it's a good thing we have days like xmas, thanksgiving, bdays, and sadly disasters or most people might never have a reason to give anything?
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