War Against Christmas Competition 2002 [III]: News From the Front

I] [II]

12/23/02 – Christmas Meditation 2002: Christ, The “Other”, And
Counterfeit Citizens, by J.P. Zmirak

Also see: War Against
Christmas 2001

It has been over a year

Chronicles Magazine
published my essay “Happy Holidays? Bah!
Humbug!” and VDARE.COM

used it
to announce its 2001 War Against Christmas
Competition. I am still receiving mail, and I thought
I`d use the

2002 Competition
to give VDARE.COM`s readers an idea
of how the War Against Christmas is going.

Some of the critical
letters have been especially illuminating – though not
always in the way their authors intended.

One correspondent informed
me that “Actually, December 25th is the birthday of

” and that “December 25th is
.” Although profoundly silly, this line of
argument is surprisingly common, as aspiring
deconstructionists routinely claim that Christmas is
“really” a celebration of the winter solstice. Of
course, none of the ever growing number of faux
Christmases now being fostered by the multiculturalists

, Hanukkah,

, Diwali, Bodhi Day, the Birth of

Guru Gobind Singh

, Chinese New Year, and the rest – is ever
subjected to this sort of critical analysis. (This list
of holidays can be found at the description of Bodhi Day


It is probably true that

December 25th
was chosen as the date to commemorate
Christ`s birth to coincide with (and supplant) the pagan
festival of Natalis Invicti. But the holiday that has
been the major festival in the West for centuries is

, not some extinct

celebration. Over centuries, Christmas has
become an integral part of our culture, incorporating
and transforming some pre-Christian customs and
inspiring a wealth of new ones. The end result was a
reflection of the genius of Western culture and a
splendid, multifaceted celebration.

Christmas has inspired
beauty wherever it has been observed. The treasury of

Christmas music,
for example, is unmatched by that
of any other holiday. It is the result of both famous
composers and inspired folk artists working in every
corner of Christendom. The lesson to be learned from the
defunct pagan festivals that preceded Christmas is not
that Christmas ought to be abolished, but that we risk
losing Christmas if we allow the multiculturalists to
replace Christmas with “holiday.”

Another correspondent told
me that he had come across my essay while looking for an
“inclusive holiday e-card.” Unsurprisingly, he was
shocked by what he found, telling me that [t]he
position you had in the article seems to be in line with
the thinking behind the

He also offered an
instructive history lesson, making the obligatory
reference to America`s dark past when “most slaves
[were] converted to Protestantism,”most

American Indians
and when
“Americans chose
[marginalization and isolation]

passed restrictive immigration laws,
cheerfully noting that “by the 1960s, the U.S.
changed course and chose recognition and inclusion.”

And that`s not all: “what`s more, we opened the
borders to allow

Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, pagans, and people from
around the world
to join our society.”
of this change in direction, we “would not allow
Christianity to dominate the public arena”
and we
now have a “free society, one that is ever-changing

, not static or oppressive.”

It may come as news to the
multiculturalists, but America began in

, not

. For most of our history, Americans have
enjoyed a spirited public celebration of Christmas,
because there is no contradiction between Christmas and
American ideals. And I was inspired to write my essay
not by the Iranian Revolution, but by memories of the
Christmases I experienced growing up in America.

There was nothing
un-American about the effusive public celebrations of
Christmas I recalled – unless kindness, generosity, and
joy have suddenly fallen out of favor.

Nor were the celebrations of
Christmas I remembered “static or oppressive.” I
think they are well represented by

“A Charlie Brown Christmas,
” the wonderful
program that premiered the year after I was born and has
continued to be popular ever since. Its popularity
remains, even though it mentions no holiday other than
Christmas, centers around the production of a religious
Christmas play in a public school, features
Linus quoting from St. Luke`s Gospel,
and ends with
the Peanuts singing a

religious Christmas carol.
The show remains popular
because it is rooted in the real celebration of a real
holiday, not the contrived celebration of a politically
correct alternative. And because it embodies, not just
Charles Schulz`s genius, but also the spirit we all
associate with Christmas. Only an imagination twisted by
ideology could look at such a program, and the
celebrations of Christmas it recalled, and see
“oppression.” (Indeed, one of the biggest fans I know of
A Charlie Brown Christmas” is Jewish.)

The most measured of my
critical correspondents was a Buddhist chaplain. He may
have noticed the essay because it mentioned Bodhi Day,
the day of the Buddha`s enlightenment, generally
observed in early December and now being promoted as a
faux Christmas by some multiculturalists.

The way I learned of Bodhi
Day is a perfect example of how the War against
Christmas is being waged. A friend of mine works as an
engineer for NASA. The NASA facility he works at
traditionally played Christmas music over the PA system,
a custom enjoyed by my friend and most of his
co-workers. Then, one day, the music stopped. Shortly
thereafter, NASA sent out a memo informing its employees
of Bodhi Day and asking them to be sensitive toward it.

This is the War against
Christmas in a nutshell: the suppression of a tradition
enjoyed by the majority and the elevation of a holiday
virtually no one had ever heard of before.

To his credit, my Buddhist
correspondent did not complain that Bodhi Day was being
given short shrift. He informed me that “I don`t
celebrate Christmas, unless you count the exchanging of
presents with friends and family, which is more of a
cultural tradition in America than a religious one.”

And he defended the displacement of “Merry Christmas” by
“Happy Holidays:” “As the employees in retail stores,
etc. have no way of knowing what religion (if any) their
customers adhere to, they are using a phrase that is
neutral, so that they can wish a generic season of
happiness to all, regardless of religion.”

Actually, employees in
retail stores do have a pretty good way of determining
what holiday is being celebrated by the customers who
mysteriously arrive after every Thanksgiving to buy
presents. Since the overwhelming majority of Americans
celebrate Christmas, and an even higher percentage of
those flocking to the malls after Thanksgiving are doing
so to buy Christmas presents, a retail employee can rely
on probability to conclude that most of his customers
would appreciate being wished a Merry Christmas.

Indeed, it seems churlish
that the retailers of America, whose well-being depends
in large measure on Christmas, are increasingly afraid
to even mention the holiday to which they owe their good

Of course, there are some
non-Christians, like the Buddhist chaplain, who have
decided to exchange gifts during the Christmas season.
But persons deciding to adopt Christmas customs can
hardly complain about others concluding that they
celebrate Christmas.

And I do not understand why
wishing a stranger “Merry Christmas” is now considered
singularly offensive – so offensive that the phrase is
heard less often these days in public than the profanity
that has come to characterize much of our entertainment
and conversation. (Indeed, in my experience, television
stations generally have announcements wishing their
viewers “Happy Hanukkah” and “Happy Kwanzaa” but
offering only a bland “Happy Holidays” to their
Christian viewers, even on December 25th.) Anyone
wishing a stranger “Merry Christmas” is not only acting
on the statistically well-justified assumption that the
other person does celebrate Christmas, but is also
offering the greeting as an expression of good will.

It`s absurd that “Merry
Christmas” is disappearing from our public vocabulary to
accommodate the tiny minority of Americans who not only
do not celebrate Christmas but are

by others who do. Most non-Christians are
not multiculturalist


understand this.

All the news on the
Christmas front is not bad. I have continued to receive
many favorable comments on my essay. A Catholic parish
in Pennsylvania distributed a copy of the essay as part
of its Advent package, and several parishioners wrote to
express their gratitude. Another correspondent wrote
that “even though it seems a daunting task, I don`t
intend to give up Christmas without a fight.”
there are signs that more people are beginning to join
this fight. I have noticed

more columnists
bemoaning the assault on Christmas,
and even articles

carrying the bad news
that The Gap discourages its
employees from mentioning Christmas question the dubious
thinking behind such pronouncements.
The Gap has retracted

More or less.
Some New York Catholics have

filed suit
against the New York City schools, which
allow the display of menorahs and the Muslim star and
crescent but forbid nativity scenes.

I remain confident that the great majority of
Americans resent the assault on Christmas.

And as long as these Americans can be coaxed out of
silence to fight for our traditions, this is one assault
we can repulse.

Tom Piatak
writes from
Cleveland, Ohio

December 17, 2002