COLUMN: War on Christmas is a fallacy
From the Book of Paul
Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 00:12
It’s that time again — the “most wonderful time of the year.” And along with the carols, the lights and the frosty chill flowing through the winter air, a plague has been released upon the world and, most importantly, we kind, warmhearted folks here in the United States — better known as God’s country.
Yes, this “War on Christmas” — affectionately deemed “World War C” by Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show” — is alive and well, at least to the pundits and personalities at Fox News and a large part of their conservative audience. Bill O’Reilly, the big ol’ Papa Bear of the network who hosts the ever-popular “The O’Reilly Factor,” has recently taken issue with New York department store Macy’s.
Yes, the same department store that brings the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — a procession that ushers in the holiday season with a cavalcade of elves, carolers and a gigantic green sleigh led by reindeer and serves as a glistening, snow-covered wonderland where that jolly old soul Santa Claus seems to reside for several weeks — is being questioned for its decisions reflecting political correctness and widespread acceptance this season. On his Monday show, O’Reilly pointedly observed — in his own yuletide tradition of singling out targets he characterizes as dissolvers of the Christmas spirit — that Macy’s has recently distributed advertisements for its “Santa Land” that invites children to submit a “holiday wish list” to St. Nicholas himself.
“So here’s my question to Macy’s,” O’Reilly sneered. “What holiday is Santa celebrating? The winter solstice? The birthday of a reindeer?”
O’Reilly is adamant that Christmas is being pushed out with phrases such as “happy holidays.” The Christians, he feels, are having to tread lightly just to please those lesser populations of peoples who hold true to other beliefs.
The fact that O’Reilly somehow misconstrues Macy’s holiday gesture as something alienating those who proudly practice Christmas is, simply put, absurd. Not only is the storefront strung in an amount of multicolored tinsel that could be misconstrued as the remainders of a 45-foot-tall fashionista mummy that unraveled shortly after Halloween, it’s emblazoned with a sign consisting of enough lights to cause New York City’s power to cut out randomly. Surely it can be seen from space, and what does it spell out? “Believe” — a nod to children everywhere who hold Santa in their heart the whole year through.
Sarah Palin — a Fox contributor who I blame Tina Fey for immortalizing and, unfortunately, making indefinitely relevant — has been making the rounds on the talk show circuit to promote her latest book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.” She is marketing it as a godsend for those who feel Christian values are being forced out of the country. But at the same time, Palin has gone on record saying she loves and approves of the capitalistic approach and ubiquitous marketing of Christmas.
These two pundits — and many more across the conservative spectrum — have unsurprisingly narrowed their views of “traditional Christian values” to a fat man who shimmies down chimneys one night a year, speak about “merry Christmas” vs. “happy holidays,” a competitive drive to see who can show off the most ornaments and fake snow and the monetary capitalism of buy-and-sell economics. The true spirit of the season — peace on earth, good will toward all — has notably taken a back seat to this tinsel-speak, replaced by artificial hurt and efforts to stir up resentment.
Perhaps they, and many of us, have forgotten the man who the holiday is named after and his humbling kindness and guiding words that promoted acceptance and love of everyone, regardless of their backgrounds.