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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

The War on Christmas

Well, the Holiday Season is finally over. The only thing left to do is figure out where to spend those gift cards and seeing if you can get cash or only store credit for that ugly orange sweater Old Aunt Mabel gave you. So, did you survive the war on Christmas?

Every year I hear about this supposed war on Christmas. Bill O'Reilly drones on about how there's a cultural war on the free expression of faith with retail chains stifling their employees by making them say "Happy Holidays" and the local Pagans burning the Nativity scene in the middle of the local church's lobby.

Here's the thing: we've supposedly been embroiled in this war for quite a while, and yet I've never seen a single casualty. Did we lose Christmas somewhere in there without my noticing? Sure, the slew of clerks I deal with on any given day have said their fair share of "Happy Holidays," but I got plenty of "Merry Christmas" too. There were plenty of window signs declaring the coming of Christmas. Some were more religious, some were more secular. I saw the odd "Remember the Reason for the Season" sign as well. It sure looked like it was Christmas time.

See, what gets me is that there are those Christians among us, mostly from the right side of the aisle, that need a war on Christmas. Without a war on Christmas, there's no issue. If the nativity scene is forbidden from government grounds, it can't be the left making a reasonable request to keep the government truly religiously neutral, it has to be a war against religion. And no attack on religion be more obscene than an attack on Christmas. I mean, we all love Christmas. Caroling, presents, wassailing, It's a Wonderful Life, egg and other forms of nog... What kind of monster would ever want to stifle Christmas?

So, here's a hypothetical. We have our subject: male Jew, mid-thirties, liberal-progressive. (Any similarity to the author is purely coincidence.)

If our subject asks that his tax dollars not be spent on an expression of religion, especially one that contradicts his own, people might have to listen to him. It's a reasonable request and he's got the First Amendment backing him up.

...but, if we call our subject's request a war on traditional American culture, we have something entirely different. Now we can paint our subject as unpatriotic or odd, or worse, hating Christmas and all those Christmas specials we love on TV.

Somewhere along the way, a lot of Americans started believing that they were victims if they were forced to live in a world where they had to consider the rights of those around them. Somewhere along the way it became okay for the Christian Right in this country to live in a country where Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagan, agnostics, and atheists were allowed to be marginalized. This is what 20+ years of allowing the right to define political correctness and the equality movement has brought us. They started ridiculing our drive for equal access and for thinking about our words before we say them, and we let them. They made ignorance a virtue and exclusion a family value.

There should, indeed, be a culture war going on in this country — but not in defense of Christmas. Our priority should instead be to fight backwards, exclusive ignorance at every turn. Liberal-progressives should be duty bound to attack the proprietors of the "War on Christmas" with a "War on Ignorance."

Think of it: Bill O'Reilly forced to use logic. Limbaugh scrambling to protect himself from reason! A War on Ignorance could even force the real victims of the War on Christmas — everyday Americans that have bought into this false charge — to evaluate their political options with reason, rather than fear of change and of the other. That would be a much more useful Christmas gift than Aunt Mabel's sweater.

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