[lit-ideas] The Great Christmas Panic of '06
They're at it again. The Christian wingnuts are terrorizing their flocks by telling them
that the homo-liberal-tree-hugger conspiracy is going to secretly pass a UN law to make it
illegal to say "Merry Christmas". They did this last Christmas (also known as "The Great
Christmas Panic of '05"). And it worked: terrified Christians around the country poured
millions of dollars into Pat Robertson's bank account to stop the attack on the Little Baby
- From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: "Lit-Ideas" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 17:46:48 -0800
This year, Roberton says he has 600 lawyers standing by, ready to prevent any attempt to ban
Of course, those lawyers are expensive, so folks, send in your money.
From today's New York Times:
Fox News' John Gibson declares in his new book "The War on Christmas" that there is a
"liberal plot" to destroy Christmas, led by "professional atheists" and "Christian haters."
...When the American Family Association launched its boycott of Target stores, which it has
recently dropped, it published a statement on its Web site denouncing "Target's
anti-Christmas stance" based on the department store's alleged unwillingness to use the
phrase "Merry Christmas" in its advertising.
...Religious conservatives are using Christmas for a political purpose: as a cudgel to push
the prayers and displays of their own form of Christianity into public spaces, including
public schools, and to make America more like a theocracy.
...Department stores have been using phrases like "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings"
because they want to make themselves appealing to as many customers as possible - including
the nearly one-quarter of Americans who do not call themselves Christians - not because they
hate Christmas. Governments walk a careful line regarding holidays because they don't want
to fall afoul of the First Amendment, and because they want to make all of their
constituents feel included in holiday celebrations.
...Mr. O'Reilly collected small incidents around the country in which communities tried to
be inclusive - such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to call the tree that he
lit in Rockefeller Center a "holiday tree" rather than a "Christmas tree" and Federated
Department Stores's increasing use of "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" in its
stores, which include Macy's and Bloomingdale's.
...The American Family Association released a bulletin asking its members to contact Target,
Sears, Lowe's, Office Max, Kmart, Staples, Home Depot and Kohl's and "let them know you are
offended by their anti-Christian and anti-Christmas bias."
...Mr. Gibson has jumped in with his new book, which - by his own account - "unveils the
coordinated work of American Civil Liberties Union lawyers, professional atheists, and
Christian haters who have taken the war on Christmas to your front door."
...The American Family Association reports on its Web site that "Target refuses to use the
word 'Christmas' in any of their corporate advertising," and that it produced a 36-page ad
insert that used the phrase "holiday" 31 times.
...Wal-Mart, for example, gave in this year on a very minor point, changing the way the
search engine on Walmart.com treats the word "Christmas," but made clear that it would not
change its policy of having employees say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas."
...For the most part, Mr. Gibson's book is a dull recitation of run-of-the-mill examples of
government officials trying to live up to the Supreme Court's decisions on the First
Amendment's establishment clause precedents.
...It is impossible to know whose account is true, but even if the school's account is
correct, it does not seem unreasonable for Ms. Cohen to be disturbed that her
kindergarten-aged daughter's principal is calling in a pastor from his church to dress up as
Santa and talk about Jesus.
...The New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - the same company that
owns Fox News - recently put a story on its front page under the headline "Treeson" about a
Jewish town supervisor from Long Island who tried to keep Christian prayers out of a
government-sponsored tree-lighting ceremony.
...There is a simple explanation for the increasing use of phrases like "Happy Holidays" -
but it is not one that the Christmas "defenders" want to talk about.
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