So we’re not even out of November, Thanksgiving hasn’t even come and gone yet, and already the fake “victims” of the evangelical, conservative “Christian” right are ramping up their annual pity party known as “The War on Christmas.” Years ago when this was becoming a thing on Fox News and conservative talk radio, it seemed like the kind of bad joke that no one would be stupid enough to go along with. Now it’s an annual movement filled with piously self-righteous people declaring their faith under attack while it is in fact them attacking anyone and everyone else who won’t worship as they do.
You know, it is almost still funny to watch the spectacle of the hyped up persecution complex on display. We’re in a country where Christmas gets its own official holiday, businesses close for the day, people get the day off work with pay, Christmas decorations hit the store shelves before Halloween is over, radio stations start playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and television networks air Christmas specials starting more than 30 days before Christmas. When you go anywhere in December, to any public place you’d care to think of, you’re surrounded by Christmas decorations and signs. But there’s actually become a movement in America filled with people who seem to want to declare that if you don’t use the greeting they demand you use, if you don’t acknowledge their faith’s holiday and only their faith’s holiday for an entire month, you are victimizing and persecuting them and attacking Christmas, Christianity, and Jesus.
It’s an amazing bit of self deception to behold, especially when they rewrite history to do it.
I’m already seeing the memes on social media declaring that it’s “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays” this time of year because that’s the way it always used to be. No it wasn’t always the way it used to be. You can find examples of “Happy Holidays” being an accepted and regularly used seasonal greeting this time of year in old newspapers, literature, and cards going back decades and centuries. One of the classic Christmas songs used that greeting as its primary chorus. Even better, it was made for a classic Christmas movie strangely given the name “Holiday Inn” rather than “Christmas Inn” despite both being made back in the day when we’re told it was always “Merry Christmas” by the modern victim brigade.
But the reason this laughable bit of fake victimhood and self-deception fails to continue to amuse at this point is the frankly rather petty and vulgar attitudes behind it. While claiming victimhood and declaring a holiday under assault, the truth is these people are the ones doing the attacking and displaying an incredible level of intolerance.
Just keeping with the Jewish and Christian faiths and not counting, as some do, Thanksgiving as the start of the Holiday Season, the Holiday Season that most people refer to has three major holidays in it. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah takes place in this time period. The Christian holiday of Christmas obviously falls in there. You also have the nonreligious holiday around New Year’s Day. If you want to stick an extra two in there, some mainstream Christians and Catholics also still observe St. John’s Day and the Masonic Feast on December 27th and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.
“Merry Christmas” doesn’t cover Hanukkah. “Merry Christmas” doesn’t cover St. John’s Day. Merry Christmas” doesn’t cover the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. “Merry Christmas” doesn’t cover New Year’s Day. “
For that matter, “Merry Christmas” doesn’t cover a full range of holidays that take place this time of year that are observed by other Americans who have lived in this country, contributed to this country, for generations. Yule, Sinterklass Eve and Day, Dhanu Yatra, Mawlid Un Nabi, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, and Ziemassvētki, are just some of them.
Ziemassvētki is the really fun one in that list. I’ve had “Christians” respond to being told about Ziemassvētki by pronouncing that some “foreign” holiday from some “heathen” religion getting its own recognition in any way is the type of “liberal multiculturalism” that’s destroying our country and our culture. Ziemassvētki is a Christian holiday. It’s the day (based on the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar) on which Orthodox Christian churches and their members celebrate the birth of Christ. It may fall on a different day because of the different calendar and it may have a different name, but it’s still Christian in its origins.
Beyond that, in a very real way it even makes more sense to say “Happy Holidays” through most of the Holiday Season. It’s as weird to say “Merry Christmas” to someone three weeks before Christmas as it would be to wish someone a Happy 4th of July on June 15th. It also makes more sense as a salutation when in mixed company or out and about where you know there are people who likely don’t worship as you do. It’s a simple concept called having good manners.
America is a nation of immigrants. We became a country that, for time at least, welcomed people from all over the world. Despite the talking points of the extreme right in this country, surrendering religious beliefs and the observations of religious holidays that are not Christian in origin was never a part of the deal with coming here. At this point, the American population is full of people who were born here, some with multiple generations of family from here, who do not practice Christianity or actively celebrate Christmas. But they do have holidays of their own, and some of those holidays fall in December.
If you’re in your house with your family or in your Church with your fellow congregation members, you know who you’re talking to at all times. You’re not dealing with the larger population out in the public square. However, other people are out and about and dealing with other people of other faiths in the public square.
Businesses are also dealing with everyone else out there in the public square. When a store, a radio station, a television station, or some other public institution recognizes that it has customers, an audience, or a group of people that use their services who are following varying and different faiths by attempting to be polite to everyone who supports them throughout the rest of the year with saying “Happy Holidays” this time of year; that’s not an attack on Christianity, Christmas, Jesus, or you. It’s simply an acknowledgement that you’re not the only people that exist or matter, your faith is not the only faith that exists or matters, and that they’re being polite to all those other people who also patronize and support them throughout the year as well as being polite to you. It truly takes a twisted, petty, and childish mindset for someone to see someone being polite to others by acknowledging them and twist that to claim it’s an attack on them.
But many are damned and determined to pretend it’s an attack on them, their faith, and their holiday. Some settle for just posting an endless parade of memes devoid of intelligence and, as with the “It was always Merry Christmas before!” memes, bearing no relation to reality or history. Others get even more militant; often spurred on by the hate being spewed out by conservative radio pundits and various figures on Fox News. Some clamor for punishing those who will not exclusively recognize their faith and their faith alone, calling for boycotts of businesses or institutions that have the audacity to recognize and be polite to all of their customers and not just the Christian ones.
That’s the aspect that bothers me the most. I was raised Christian. I still observe most Christian holidays. It’s still the faith I identify with. So it bothers me watching people take Christianity in general and a day that’s supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ specifically and use both of them as a petty, hateful bludgeon against others. That’s really all that this movement is. It’s people twisting themselves and their religion and making both ugly.
“Happy Holidays” is a greeting that includes Christmas by the very nature of the inclusiveness of the greeting. It was also a greeting that was widely used and accepted in this country for well over one hundred years before petty, despicable people started ginning up hate for ratings and personal gain by pretending that it was now somehow an insult and an attack on Jesus and his followers. The people using it as a greeting are doing nothing wrong. They’re not attacking anyone, they’re not slighting anyone, they’re not trying to be offensive, and, frankly, they’re not at all being offensive in any way at all.
What is offensive this time of year are the people perverting Christianity and the very ideas that Jesus espoused to his original followers by demanding- sometimes with threats of financial damage -that they and they alone can and will be acknowledged this time of year. What’s offensive is watching people be hateful, intolerant, bigoted, and selfish and doing so in the name of Jesus. What’s offensive is watching people claim persecution and victimization while striving to attack, marginalize, and ultimately ignore the beliefs of others; assigning only their own beliefs any value while treating others as though their beliefs were worthless and beneath polite recognition.
What’s also offensive if the lying done by those who spew this garbage. Challenge them on it, even politely, and some of them will lie about it. They’ll tell you that they really don’t care at all if people say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” this time of year. Of course, for people that don’t care, they spend a lot of damn time complaining about it, claiming persecution and victim status, and posting obnoxious memes all over social media. They shift quickly into persecution mode and try to explain that, really, it doesn’t matter; they’re just against everyone being forced to say “Happy Holidays” or the banishment of “Merry Christmas” from the public square. None of that’s actually happening, and they only use that line when they have to explain their fake victimhood status. But, you know, the best way to celebrate the birth of Jesus is to lie in his name while acting bigoted, intolerant, and using Christianity like a bludgeon.
Here are the simple facts.
There is no war on Christmas.
You are not being excluded from the season, persecuted, or victimized by people saying “Happy Holidays.”
What you are doing is being selfish, petty, small, offensive, narrow-minded children who are insulting the very religion and the very religious figure you claim to be defending.