For the vast majority of people, it is obvious that there is no “War On Christmas” Â It is a topic that has been beaten to death every since Bill O’Reilly started the modern day version of this “crisis” back in 2004. Â But the rhetoric and hyperbole is now being driven up to levels where the level of discourse on the subject is just plain out of control.
First let us cover a little history to get some perspective on just how out of control this has become. Â Let us start with the fact that as far as I can tell, there are no more (and in fairness no fewer) people out there that are actually “offended” by Christmas. Â The problem as I mentioned was that in 2004, Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly was “offended” by the fact that some stores uttered the phrase “Happy Holidays,” as if this was the first time this phrase was ever used. Â While people may stick with “Christmas Cards” considering the people they knew they were sending the cards to celebrated Christmas, it is and was never an issue. Â For businesses, the more generic “Happy Holidays” has frequently been used since in that sort of setting where you don’t necessarily know what the person celebrates, it is a much safer way to be inclusive while spreading good will. Â But Bill found this “offensive” and claimed that it was the businesses that were waging war on Christmas. Â No such uttereance had come forth, there was no basis for this belief, but the idea was born (or reborn, as this is not the first time in history this debate has occured, I remember back in the 70’s similar complaints about the use of “Xmas”).
So, we have continued forth, year after year, with these “Christian Warriors” seeking out things to show “proof” of this war. Â While I may not agree with their conclusions, I can at least give credit in the earlier years that they would seek out something tangible. Â Clerks saying “Happy Holiday” or having things like “Holiday Trees” or calling it a “Winter Break” instead of “Christmas break.” Â They may have been (and continue do so) acting like a bunch of spoiled brats that have always gotten their way, and were mad when someone else was given equal treatment, because they thought they were special and better than everyone else. Â But as twisted as the logic may have been, they had something to offer as a reason for their view.
Fast forward to this year, and the landscape has changed. Â This year the “controveries” (so far) center around Starbucks and their Red Cup, and the new Santa display at Simon Malls. Â First Starbucks. Â The reality is that they still sell a “Christmas Blend” coffee, there has NEVER been a reference to “Jesus” or “Christmas” directly. Â Rather it has been adorned with ornaments, snowmen, snow flakes and other more generic items. Â And yet, this year, because these symbols aren’t on the cup, some preacher has decided, “Starbucks hates Christmas” which is silly enough, but then they go on as further proof of their claimed “Christian cleansing” that “employees are banned from saying Merry Christmas” Â Only problem is, that is not true at all. Â They simply made it up, and used it as “proof.”
The situation at Simon Malls is stunning in its similarities. Â The truth, they decided to try something different and created “Glacier displays” for the pictures with Santa (a man, who is purported to have a workshop at the north pole, where Ice Glaciers are present, and Pine Trees are not). Â Now whether this was a good idea or not is a matter or taste and/or preference. Â You can find it ugly (many people I know feel this way), and I don’t find it particularly pleasing to look at, both as a set piece in the mall or a background for the picture. Â Fair enough. Â But the made up claim was that “they changed it because people were “offended” by traditional holiday displays.” Â Again, they simply made something up, and that was “proof”
I have even seen some try to lay the blame (despite this starting in 2004) of “all these people being “offended” at the feet of the President. Â That’s right, the President is making people be offended by Christmas.
How can you have an intelligent conversation when one side will just continue to dial up the hyperbole (Starbucks *HATES* Christmas), and lacking any real substance will just make things up to justify their continued outrage? Â Where in the Bible does it say, “and on earth peace, good will toward men… as long as they do and believe exactly as I see fit?” Â When did we reach a place where facts take a back seat to a made up story?
We don’t have to always reach for the top shelf in descriptions. Â Not everything needs to be an extreme. Â Is there some reason we can no longer have a difference of opinion without rage and anger? Â I’m too old and have seen too much to dream of an ideal like, “can’t we all get along” as that will almost certainly never be the case, but can’t we “agree to disagree” and be civil about it? Â Is that now too much to ask?