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Opinion: ‘War on Christmas’ is unfounded, ignorant

Kevin Griffin

Kevin GriffinThough Christmas is thought of as a time of peace and camaraderie, certain, typically conservative, Christian organizations continue to insist that there is a “War on Christmas.”

This supposed “War on Christmas” is often touted by organizations such as Fox News and the American Family Association as consisting of secular social influences expurgating the traditional idea of Christmas.

This assertion is incorrect on both counts. It assumes not only a false concept of traditional Christmas, but also a puerile, wrong-headed notion of a secular assault on the holiday.

At many points in Christian history, the Christmas holiday has proven to be a contentious subject. Going back to the early days of our own country, the Puritans forbade Christmas celebration for a number of years because of associations the holiday had with the Anglican Church.

Other controversies over the holiday’s pagan elements and differing denominational interpretation of Christianity have made the holiday far from non-controversial.

There goes the traditional idea of Christmas. But what of the claim that Christmas as a Christian holiday is being undermined?
It is here that the “Christmas warriors” showcase their most off-putting trait: a childish sense of entitlement over the culture of this country.

Look at the primary evidence they bring out to support their claims: anecdotes of retailers omitting Christmas messages from sales campaigns, and atheist and civil liberties groups challenging public religious monuments or activity in schools.

The argument against retailers is odd. The replacement of “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” is a result of the capitalism that many of these conservatives advocate.

To gain customers, companies try to be inclusive; that’s how the system functions.

More problematic is the religious point. As an atheist and civil libertarian, I believe such displays are acceptable so long as they are privately funded and allow participation from all groups.

Often time, they are not willing to abide by these conditions. Some religious displays have appeared with government subsidy, and uproars are raised when other groups bid for inclusiveness.

This all boils down to dissatisfaction on the part of these “Christmas warriors.” The country is changing in ways many Christian conservatives oppose. They seem to resent the fact that they cannot have dominance in our culture.

No one has that right, especially those as demonstrably ignorant as the people who pursue this tactic every year.

Christmas as a holiday is doing fine, surveys in the last few years show the majority of the country celebrates Christmas.

However, the same cannot be said for the “Christmas warriors,” whose pathetic whining is receiving much of the derision it deserves.

 

Griffin, a freshman journalism major from Madison, is the opinion editor.

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