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War Against Christmas 2008: A Report
The War Against Christmas continues to rage in 2008, in ways that have become all too familiar. Driving home the point that the War Against Christmas has nothing to do with the First Amendment, the London Daily Telegraph reported in March that the city council in Oxford—in England, a land with no First Amendment and with an established church—decided that "the events in the city would be renamed 'Winter Light Festival' to make them more inclusive." [Christmas banned in Oxford by council-owned charity, By Richard Savill, November 2, 2008]
Closer to home, the Fort Myers News-Press reported in November that Florida Gulf Coast University banned all Christmas decorations from common spaces in the university because, in the words of university president Wilson Bradshaw, [email him] "Public institutions often struggle with how best to observe the season in ways that honor and respect all traditions." [Ho, ho, nope! FGCU to limit holiday décor | 'Political correctness' cited as reason, by Dave Breitenstein November 25, 2008] (Bradshaw has surrendered, PDF, citing an "overwhelmingly negative response."]
On December 5, the Charlotte Observer reported that Sarah Michalak,[send her mail], the associate provost for university libraries at the University of North Carolina, decided to remove the Christmas trees from university libraries because "We strive in our collection to have a wide variety of ideas. It doesn't seem right to celebrate one particular set of customs." [UNC libraries to forgo Christmas trees, By Eric Ferreri]
But VDARE.COM readers already know that, when it comes to Christmas, "inclusion" means the exclusion of Christian symbols, no matter how popular or beloved.
And driving home the malice that animates much of the War Against Christmas, a group of atheists marred a Christmas display in the state house in Washington State by putting up a placard proclaiming not "Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men," but "At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."[Atheist billboard in Capitol stirs a storm, AP, December 4, 2008]
Fortunately, there are encouraging signs that Americans are increasingly fed up with such nonsense. Colleagues at work have been showing me Christmas cards they have received from professional acquaintances actually wishing them "Merry Christmas", a friend described to me the exuberant Christmas caroling his Ohio town sponsors on public grounds, and another friend told me how he and his wife were pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a "Merry Christmas" at each shop they visited at a local Cleveland mall.
After receiving complaints about its "Twelve Days of Holiday" promotion, Amazon.com changed it to a "Twelve Days of Christmas" promotion. MSNBC.com reported on December 4 that retailers are beginning to once again name the holiday to which they owe their good fortune:
"Wal-Mart, Kohl's, and Target all recently brought back or bumped up their Christmas-friendly language. The word 'Christmas' can be seen throughout the Web sites of all three retail chains, either in marketing themes or product descriptions."
And the online poll accompanying the story showed that 76% of the 188,000 respondents preferred "Merry Christmas," while only 7.5% preferred "Happy Holidays."
I realize that this is not a scientific poll. But the results are still striking since the story appeared not on a conservative website, but at the website of the network of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Rachel Maddow.
Another indication of progress is Max Blumenthal's attack on VDARE.COM's's role in first drawing attention to the War Against Christmas. Blumenthal even attacks me, claiming that "Brimelow's writers [including me] dared to name the true anti-Christian Grinch: Jews." [See the slightly altered version at The Daily Beast, and the original, preserved and annotated, on VDARE.com. ]
Unfortunately for Blumenthal, his one paragraph referring to me is filled with errors. The piece of mine he cites actually repeatedly refers to "multiculturalists," not Jews, as waging War Against Christmas. He claims I was "[t]he winner of Brimelow's 2001 War on Christmas competition," which was actually won by Fred Fries. Blumenthal claims I termed Hanukkah a "faux-holiday," whereas I actually wrote that "Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and all the rest are presented as faux-Christmases." Blumenthal asserts that I called Hanukkah the "Jewish Kwanzaa", neglecting to mention that I was quoting Frederic Schwarz, who described Hanukkah as the "Jewish Kwanzaa" in an article in the December 2000 issue of American Heritage Magazine in which he also discussed Hanukkah's theological insignificance and wrote that its current incarnation is "an invented cultural celebration."
Blumenthal claims that I "insisted that those behind the assault on Christmas 'evidently prefer' Hanukkah."
What I actually wrote was that "The malice of the multiculturalists is revealed in the way they present the alternative holidays they so evidently prefer," with those "alternative holidays" being "Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and all the rest" of the holidays mentioned earlier in the article—"Bodhi Day, Diwali, Ramadan, the winter solstice."
So much for Blumenthal's reading skills.
Despite Blumenthal's feigned outrage, it is clear that the public elevation of holidays in temporal proximity to Christmas is intended to downgrade the celebration of Christmas. Indeed, the London Daily Mail reported on November 1, 2007 that a leading Labour think tank was advocating that Christmas be "downgraded" as part of an "urgent and upfront campaign" to promote a "multicultural understanding of Britishness." [Christmas should be 'downgraded' to help race relations says Labour think tank, By James Chapman]
The way this was to be accomplished was by promoting other holidays at the expense of Christmas—exactly as I noted in my 2007 War Against Christmas piece for VDARE.com.
More importantly, Blumenthal cannot wish away the burgeoning opposition to the War against Christmas by blaming the controversy on VDARE.COM or by making dishonest attacks on writers of whom he disapproves.
Americans simply realize that there are people who would like to see the public celebration of Christmas disappear. They are starting to fight back.
And Americans appalled by the assault on Christmas cannot let such attacks as Blumenthal's deter them. As I wrote in my recent article on "How to Win the War Against Christmas" in Chronicles,
"If the War Against Christmas is to be won, it will be by remembering who we are and how we got here, and by summoning the courage to defend the great legacy bequeathed us by those who went before."