The War on Christmas

The War on Christmas alarmists seem a little more subdued than usual this year, or maybe I’m just getting my news from the wrong right sources.  Still, the issue baffles me.  I’m currently listening to a piece on “Go Tell It on the Mountain” on the evilly secular NPR, so things can’t be that bad, can they?

Actually, I want to address the alleged War on Christmas on a much more fundamental level than whether too many stores are saying “Happy Holidays.”  As I see it, there are two problems: One, why is this entirely a war of words and not of actions?  And two, when did every disagreement become a war?

In the first place, whether someone is an ally or an enemy in the War on Christmas is defined entirely based on whether they use the word Christmas, and perhaps on whether they have Christmas decorations and what sort they are.  This is a downright non-Christian attitude to be espoused by organizations like Focus on the Family (the link above).

Why are we judging businesses entirely based on what they say and not what they do?  After all, stores don’t use “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” for idealistic reasons: they adopt whatever term boosts sales the most.  A better metric would be to judge businesses based on their practices: whether they make charitable donations, whether they treat their employees fairly, and whether they have branches or suppliers in other countries that exploit looser regulations there.*

In fact, the boycotts and “buycotts” that conservatives use to punish and reward companies openly encourage the materialism of a holiday that has been reduced to a shopping spree.  Nothing could be less Christian and less related to the simplicity and humility of Christ’s birth than a holiday devoted to greed.

Second, the very name “the War on Christmas” indicates a disturbing attitude towards differing opinions.  Everyone who uses the term “Happy Holidays” (let alone mention a non-Christian holiday) is automatically considered a foot soldier in the secular Left’s campaign to stamp out Christianity.  There is no acknowledgment that someone might be unsure what term to use or not particularly care.  For that matter, why can’t someone just disagree without being an enemy?

The War on Christmas smacks of pride and privilege.  People who talk about it not only think that they are right, but think that their view is the only one that anyone should be allowed to hold, and people and businesses should be punished for believing anything else.  This is an outright anti-Christian attitude.  Moreover, since it makes everyone who doesn’t already agree with you think that you are both entitled and out of touch with reality, it’s unlikely to change even a single mind or heart.

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*I’m not under any illusions.  If Focus on the Family started evaluating all businesses based on their practices, it would be based on whether they give benefits to gay couples and how many degrees of separation connect them to something abortion-related.

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