Thursday, December 08, 2005

The War on Christmas

So far I have not commented on the supposed war on Christmas. The very idea that saying Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas constitutes an affront to anything is so clearly ridiculous that I didn't feel the need to actually comment to that effect. Fox News, and Bill O'Reilly in particular, seemed like the only ones promoting the idea, and their motives were so plainly opportunistic that I was inclined to just ignore the whole thing.

Then I read this disgusting column, from the lovely folks at Town Hall. Its author is Brad Prelutsky.

Whereas O'Reilly and company were content to lay this made-up war at the feet of the same godless, atheistic, religion-hating, liberal, securlarist, blah blah blahs who get blamed for everythng else, Prelutsky sees a new villain in the war on Christmas: Jews.

He writes:

That has changed, you may have noticed. And I blame my fellow Jews. When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian, agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists, and the ACLU, at the forefront.

Being Jewish, I should report, Christmas was never celebrated by my family. But what was there not to like about the holiday? To begin with, it provided a welcome two week break from school. The decorated trees were nice, the lights were beautiful, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a great movie, and some of the best Christmas songs were even written by Jews.

But the dirty little secret in America is that anti-Semitism is no longer a problem in society; it’s been replaced by a rampant anti-Christianity. For example, the hatred spewed towards George W. Bush has far less to do with his policies than it does with his religion. The Jews voice no concern when a Bill Clinton or a John Kerry makes a big production out of showing up at black Baptist churches or posing with Rev. Jesse Jackson because they understand that’s just politics. They only object to politicians attending church for religious reasons.

My fellow Jews, who often have the survival of Israel heading the list of their concerns when it comes to electing a president, only gave 26% of their vote to Bush, even though he is clearly the most pro-Israel president we’ve ever had in the Oval Office.

I feel no particular desire to reply to this, beyond pointing out that America has never had, and never will have, an anti-Israel President. I would further point out that supporting Israel and being a rubber stamp for the Sharon administration are two different things.

Prelutsky is not finished:

I happen to despise bullies and bigots. I hate them when they represent the majority, but no less when, like Jews in America, they represent an infinitesimal minority.

I am getting the idea that too many Jews won’t be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences.

Again, no comment.

For the record though, if I must have strangers braying at me as I leave a Target or a Wal-Mart, I prefer to be wished Happy Holidays.


At 4:35 PM, Blogger Craig Pennington said...

"I am getting the idea that too many Jews won’t be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences."

Man, that's just pathetic. How is it forcing a Christian to deny his faith for Babies-R-Us to not assume every customer celebrates Christmas? And comparison to the Spanish Inquisition is only slightly less absurd than comparison to Nazi Germany. Prelutsky is an idiot.

I also notice that Prelutsky's a humor columnist according to Town Hall. Was this supposed to be funny. It wasn't.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Prelutsky sees a new villain in the war on Christmas: Jews."

Particularly interesting is that he himself is a Jew saying all this, a fact which I emphasize in my own post on his article.

At 1:00 AM, Blogger Eugene said...

I want to agree with you that this guy is a nutcase or may be he had too much to drink. Even if you believe him for a second, that he is really standing up poor Christians that are being repressed during holidays, why pick on Jews?

My best guess is that he wants to come across as "I am for real, and I am telling it like it is!", while his real motive is to stir up religious haterated and may be make some money along the way.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Lord Runolfr said...

You know, I'm not a religious person (much to my parents' disappointment), but I really don't care whether someone wishes me Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hannukah, Cool Kwanzaa, Happy Yule, or any other sort of pleasant holiday message.

Wish me well for the holiday that you are celebrating, and it's all good. Just don't assume that your holiday is the only holiday (as you get with the "Jesus is the reason for the season" crowd).

At 8:41 AM, Blogger LiberPaul said...

As far as the ficticous war on xmas goes:

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Craig Pennington said...

``Wish me well for the holiday that you are celebrating, and it's all good. Just don't assume that your holiday is the only holiday (as you get with the "Jesus is the reason for the season" crowd).''

I have no real problem with people wishing me a happy whatever. I do have a problem with those who chide the "Happy Holidays" retailers and others for not making the assumption that every single one of their patrons is Christian. I don't respond "Happy Hanukah" when someone wishes me a "Merry Christmas" but these whiners get their panties in a bunch at being wished "Happy Holidays." They need to get the heck over themselves.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another false dichotomy from the Christian loonies, assuming that not explicity saying "Merry Christmas" is automatically anti-Christian.

No one is forbidding them from practicing their faith in their homes and churches - but I guess that's not good enough. If they're not free to push their crap down other people's throats they feel "persecuted."

And the comment about anti-Semitism not being a problem.... if there are many more like this jackass I'd say anti-Semitism is a very real problem. Hope I'm not being too hyperbolic here, but isn't this rhetoric just a LITTLE BIT remisiscent of Nazi propaganda?

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other thought....

Do these people who whine about the "war on Christmas" have a clue as to the Pagan origins of much modern Christmas symbolism? As usual, hardcore Christian loonies never think beyond the knee-jerk.

The wreaths, garlands, trumpets, the tree itself and even the date are all um, "borrowed" from Pagan traditions of some kind (Roman, Germanic, etc.). A good deal of these cherished, good ol' Christian "traditions" are actually of rather recent origin and were certainly not practiced by the early founders of the Colonies (Jamestown, etc.) It's rather amusing - Christians whining about being denied the right to celebrate their un-Christian traditions.

If a true "paradise" of Biblicial literalism were established, how many of these jerks would be thrown into the gulag for indulging in Pagan practices?

At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems rather obvious to me why the Republicans are embracing Christianity.
Without the strong religious ties, they might be viewed based on their actions instead of words.
Jesus championed the poor. The Republicans give huge tax breaks to the rich (and tiny ones to less well off people to diffuse criticism).
Jesus believed in peace. The Republican administration promoted war, based on lies. And, for greed of oil. Why else would they protect the Oil Ministry building during the invasion, and not the nuclear labs, and other weapon stockpiles?

What I object to is when Bush et al pursue politics in the name of religion, not the other way around as Prelutsky claims.
The Founding Fathers chose not to mix politics with religion. I trust their judgment over Bush's any day.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger David said...

Whenever someone complains about the treatment of Christmas, you all predictably get your teeth chattering about widespread Christian complaining over a war on Christmas.

I’m a very strong, conservative Christian, and I don’t even care about Christmas. The bible tells us to celebrate Jesus’ death, not his birth.

But still, I will complain every time I hear about a store dropping the word “Christmas” or a school not allowing any but the most secular “holiday” carols.

The complaint is not that Christianity is under attack, or that Christmas is under attack, the complaint is about political correctness run amok and the emerging “nanny state” where we all must be protected from all possible offenses to our fragile sensibilities.

I’m not offended by a “Happy Hanukah” or “Splendid Kwanzaa” or “Blessed Ramadan.” I am not offended if I go to a school function and am presented with music or poetry from those religions. I’m not offended by a Moslem telling me I’ll go to hell because I believe Mohammed was a false prophet. I’m not offended by atheists telling me I’m an idiot.

I think the strongest case for evolution is that we have evolved into a nation of the thinnest skinned people of all time.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Jason said...


Why is it political correctness run amok when a store uses a greeting that everyone can appreciate, as opposed to one meaningful only to Christians?

And it was not the “nanny state” who decided to do anything here. It was stores like Target and Wal-Mart recognizing that not all of their customers are Christians.

I would also suggest that things look very different when you hold minority religious views. When you can find people on television on almost a daily basis railing against atheists and secularists, or when you have columnists for prominent conservative web sites scapegoating Jews for an invented war on Christmas, being told “Merry Christmas” is one more slap in the face. A very small slap in the face, certainly, but it is one more reminder that you are in the minority.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the atheists that you encounter really think of you as stupid just because of your Christianity. No, I suspect that it's not your faith that they think is stupid but, more likely, the reason(s) that you give for your belief and/or the way in which you choose to express your Christianity.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

You know, the "War on Christmas" has been going on for a very long time.

I believe it was 1921 that Ford wrote a piece about how the Jews were trying to destroy Christmas.

Then, in the 50s, it was the Birchers declaring the Commies were trying to destroy Christmas.

Now it's the neocons and their pundits declaring that the athiests want to do it.

And their evidence that there's any such effort is as flimsy as ever - the ACLU doesn't want official recognition of one religion over others? O NOES.
Target says "Happy Holidays" to try to avoid offending non-Christians, as well as simply being more accurate? O NOES!

Honestly. Find me someone trying to ban yule trees, or colored lights, or eliminate Christmas as a school holiday.

Then I'll listen. Until then? Psh.

At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Happy Holidays" doesn't even have to be thought of as a replacement for "Merry Christmas" anyway-- When I was a kid I just took it to mean that it was merely bundling Christmas and the New Year into one greeting.

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Merry Chritmas is usually said with at least pleasant demeanor and intent. That spirit should be encouraged, and usually is, because a typical response is "Thank you" just as much as "Merry Christmas."
2) With so many meaty intrusions of religion into our lives, this shouldn't be the battle line. Prayers in Schools, Intelligent Design, Prayers our President wants to lead us in, swearing by (as apposed to at) the bible or the name of god. Those are worthy complaints. this "fight" is hardly worth the effort on either side.
3) It is just another straw man to be pummeled by Fox "News", but it can easily and painlessly be taken off the agenda of fights for separation of Church and (State) society.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Julie said...

The wonderful Mike Argento at the York Daily Record had this terrific take on the whole mess.

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If a true "paradise" of Biblicial literalism were established, how many of these jerks would be thrown into the gulag for indulging in Pagan practices?
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