War Against Christmas 2009: A Jewish Perspective

WAR
AGAINST CHRISTMAS COMPETITION 2009:
[
blog]
[I]
[2]
[3] [4]
[5] – See also: War Against Christmas





2008
,


2007
,


2006
,

2005
,

2004
,

2003
,

2002
,

2001
,

2000
,

1999



Peggy Epstein with friend

I live in a very quaint downtown
area where

colonial era
townhouses line the street.

Last weekend`s blizzard
transformed it into a
veritable

winter wonderland,
with the normally busy street
empty enough for my neighbors to walk or cross-country
ski to the few restaurants, bars, and movie theatre that
were still open.

With the
corporate chains and the city government and shut
down, one would think that the

War on Christmas
would take a snow day. But, sadly,
my

brainwashed
neighbors kept waging it.

As I walked
Peggy, my four month-old puppy, down through the snow,
she spotted another dog with a few college students. As
they sniffed each other, we exchanged the usual
pleasantries about the breed and age of our dogs.

As we
parted, one of the students wished me a Merry Christmas.
Before I could respond, one his friends quickly chided
“Don`t say
Merry
Christmas
, say

Happy Holidays
!”

Not eager to
get in a political argument, I said
“Merry Christmas
is fine”
and began to walk away. Then the

Grinch
scolded his friend: “What
if he wasn`t Christian, you would have

offended
him.”

At this
point, I could not help but turn around and briefly
explain that I was Jewish,

but that I was not offended
by someone

wishing me Merry Christmas.

He asked
why. I replied this is still a majority Christian nation
and I respect that. Without missing a beat, he corrected
me: “America is
not a

Christian nation
, it`s a diverse nation!”

With the
snow still floating down, I was not willing to suffer
frostbite to deprogram him. So I parted by asking:
“If you think
that

diversity is so great,
why does it make you

censor yourself from
uttering the most harmless

niceties
?”

My Scrooge
neighbor was most likely an emasculated

Christian
But many of my fellow Jews certainly do
help wage the
War
Against Christmas

When I was a
freshman in high school a dozen years ago, my Hebrew
confirmation class went to a larger day-long seminar of
sorts with several other confirmation classes from
reform and conservative synagogues.

One exercise
put on by another congregation had a Jewish girl wearing
a blonde wig and fake southern accent play an
unenlightened high school choir director trying to make
her students sing

Silent Night
. She kept insisting that only these
songs were truly holy enough. My fellow students were
given tips on how to complain that this was a violation
of the First Amendment. We then taught her
Hanukkah songs
.

Although I
had not become politically aware at that time, I
distinctly remember being disgusted by the whole
exercise.

Back then,
the idea of attacking


Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
had not been
developed—which shows just how far the Scrooges have
advanced in the War Against Christmas.

American Jewish antipathy towards Christmas is a
relatively new phenomenon. As Steve Sailer

has pointed out
, Jews wrote

many of the most celebrated Christmas songs
, such as
Silver Bells,


White Christmas
, and


Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
.

Similarly, the elevation of

Hanukkah
as a major Jewish holiday is an equally
recent phenomenon. My grandmother told me that the idea
of celebrating Hanukkah was completely absent from the
Jewish community during the 1940s and 1950s. She gave
presents to my father at Christmas in part because
didn`t want him to believe that Santa Claus was
anti-Semitic.

My guess is
that the original elevation of Hanukkah was a ploy to
get the increasingly affluent Jewish population to
purchase gifts, rather than an attempt to undermine the
importance of Christmas. But demanding that this minor
holiday now be treated as equal to Christmas clearly is
such an attempt.

I believe
that Jews should celebrate and contribute to the secular
aspects of Christmas, and not interfere with Christian
celebration of its religious parts. 

And this is
not because of our supposedly joint Judeo-Christian
heritage is under attack from
“secularists”.
I once heard a prominent

neocon
argue that Jews, as well as Muslims and
Hindus, needed to unite against these
“secularists”
who were collectively engaged in a war against
Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, and Diwali. But of course
the elevation of the latter three is a major part of the
War On Christmas and America`s Christian identity—not on
a generic “people of faith”.

At an
Indiana public school`s
“Holiday Show”,
second grade students were

to sing “Allah is
God”
, though no other religions were mentioned.
Fortunately, nationwide protest removed the offending
line. But it did not turn it back into a Christmas show.

When Rep. Steve King introduced a resolution to
recognize the importance of Christmas, nine Democratic
Representatives actually

voted against it
. (The nine:

Woolsey, Lynn [D]
];

Lee, Barbara [D]
];

Stark, Fortney [D]
];

DeGette, Diana [D]
];

Hastings, Alcee [D]
];

Ackerman, Gary [D]
];

Clarke, Yvette [D]
];

Scott, Robert [D]
];

McDermott, James [D]
)

However,
resolutions to recognize the importance of Ramadan and
Diwali were

unanimously passed.

Jews should
not defend Christmas because Hanukkah and Judaism will
be the next target of 

“secularists”
but because America`s secular and
shared national identity was strongly influenced by its
Christian—mainly

Protestant
—heritage. This heritage created a culture
that Americans of all faiths can and have benefit from
and take part in.

What about
the religious aspects of Christmas? While I have no
desire to attend

Christmas Mass,
I recognize the secular aspects of
Christmas that I enjoy are dependent upon the spiritual
origins of Christmas. I can enjoy listening to religious
Christmas songs
Silent Night
or

Joy
to the World
just as I can appreciate


Ode to Joy
or

Da Vinci`s Last Supper
without worrying that a

pogrom
is on its way.

Perhaps
more importantly, I do not believe that a small minority
of the population should feel entitled to completely
undermine the institutions of the majority because it
somehow doesn`t feel
“included”.

This is the
same argument that is used against other beloved symbols
of America, beginning with the

Confederate Flag
and
heroes
and continuing on to

Columbus
and

Washington
.

The War
against Christmas is just one front in the War against
America and

against the West
—which Jews have a vital interest in
defending.


Marcus Epstein [send
him mail
] writes from Alexandria, VA.