Further Readings

AN OPEN LETTER TO “WAR ON CHRISTMAS” CONSPIRACY THEORISTS

JANUARY 2011

The week after Thanksgiving, a few things reliably happen. Christmas music fills the radio; Christmas specials fill the TV; Christmas ads fill the newspaper; Christmas decorations light-up the neighborhood. And in recent years, amidst all the red and green, a few voices reliably complain that there is a “War on Christmas”.

Best I can tell, “War on Christmas” complaints are spawned from a handful of local controversies in which a school board bans the singing of a Christmas song in the elementary school, or a city council resolves to remove a manger from city hall’s front lawn. Then news-ish talk shows on cable TV (most famously Bill O’Reilly, but others too) point to these oddball controversies as proof that there is a “War on Christmas.” The charge is leveled loudly and often enough to achieve parity with fact. So now we have a War on Christmas.

Non-Christians, including yours truly, are mostly ambivalent to the small-town controversies about the Christmas carol and the manger. We don’t cheer when the manger is pulled down, and we don’t care whether or not our kids sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in school. These things are small potatoes, and we understand that the majority culture is entitled to set the cultural agenda. We even patronize favorite pieces of Christmas culture: We stroll through Christmas light shows and happily watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, again and again.

The U.S. is now and has always been a Christian nation. All non-Christian religions put together claim less than 10% of Americans; another 10% or so are atheist or ‘no preference’. That means that over 80% of Americans are Christian. Even nominal Christians who rarely attend church still love Christmas. The huge majority of non-Christian Americans—whether Muslim, Jew, atheist, or whatever else—understand this. We don’t make waves.

With this in mind, let’s return to the “War on Christmas”. War, by its very definition, means an organized attack by one group against another. I challenge anyone to find an organized movement to subvert the annual Christmas tsunami. Even the ACLU, the boogeyman of many a “War on Christmas” yarn, has defended the right of Christians to celebrate Christmas a half dozen times since 1999.

If there has been a War on Christmas, it is the lamest offensive in the history of warfare. But don’t trust the word of this secular humanist, do the research yourself. Examine the TV Guide for the month of December and count the number of Christmas-related programs. On broadcast TV alone you will find dozens, and you will find hundreds more if you include cable TV. Count the number of radio stations on your dial that are playing Christmas music. Then examine the number of real cases in which Christmas symbols, carols, books, etc., were defiled or removed from a public setting. You will find only a handful of local provocations, half of which were reversed in short order because of local outcry.

This is no War on Christmas. There are only conspiracy-theorists with megaphones.