In 1960, The War On Christmas Started In July
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 03:14:41 PM EST
According to Bill O'Reilly, the War On Christmas is once again in full swing, expressed in the decision of a Colorado town to use white Christmas lights and plain wreaths rather than colored lights and fancier ornaments. The situation seems dire, but history reveals another story. According to a December 9, 1960 article from a publication by Billy James Hargis' Christian Crusade, The War On Christmas used to begin as early as July. The trend seems clear. The War On Christmas, which judging by the noise of O'Reilly and comrades only gets going now by October or November, has become lazy and soft. [image, above: full article posted in extended story]
NOTE: As an historical point, the Puritans actually invented the War on Christmas by instituting a ban on the holiday during their short tenure in power in England; they considered Christmas to be immoral (or even diabolical) and "Popish". After being more or less hounded out of England, the Puritans then exported their War On Christmas to the New World in the form of a ban on the holiday, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that was eventually lifted in 1681.

According To Billy James Hargis' 1960 "Crusader" article [below], during the dark days of 1960 (soon to lead up to the Cuban Missile Crisis) communism was stealthily advancing via liberal Protestant churches and the machinations of Hallmark Greeting Cards and UNICEF.
These days, the War on Christmas only gets truly rolling now in October or November, sans Hallmark's and UNICEF's shared alleged satanic muscle. Are the forces of evil are running out of oomph ?

If we can trust the veracity of a man who campaigned against sex education in schools and was laid low by a sex scandal that came out when two of the students from Hargis' Christian college married and discovered, their honeymoon night, that both had slept with the apparently omnivorous Billy James Hargis, The War On Christmas used to begin in July.

The slippage seems dramatic, and it might be tempting to blame the dramatic seasonal change in the onset of the War On Christmas to empirical factors such as Global Warming except that the ideological lineage of Billy James Hargis's line of conspiricism, which was so tightly aligned with the conspiricism of the John Birch Society that at one point a news report speculated on a possible merger of the Christian Crusade with the JBS, leads more or less to beliefs held by US Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe (and perhaps John Hagee as well) that Global Warming is actually part of the evil communist plot to create a satanic One world government through the United Nations. Whatever the reason though, the trend seems clear ; within a decade or so, the War On Christmas won't get going in earnest until after Christmas. But such a pointlessly late onset could be interpreted also as a very early jump on the following Christmas, and that might be just the sort of perking up the War On Christmas needs to get back its groove. Time will tell.

Below: December 9, 1960 article from "The Crusader"


Hargis & Hagee : A Pointless Digression On Chubby Scotch-Irish Evangelists "Christian Crusade" founder Billy James Hargis shared much in common with Christians United For Israel founder Pastor John Hagee - considerable physical resemblance and also a similar belief in a vast, sinister Godless atheist/secular-humanist/socialist conspiracy to conquer Christianity and laissez-faire capitalism and subject the peoples of the world to a drab, colorless satanic regime ruled with an iron fist.

There are differences between the two also. At 6'6" Hargis was enormous and fat whereas Hagee is comparatively short and plump. John Hagee is not given to the sort of blustery fits of public, penitent sobbing Hargis was known for, and Hagee also seems unconcerned with the War On Christmas while Billy James Hargis saw it as the vanguard of an evil communist conspiracy that included the National Council Of Churches, Martin Luther King Jr., and Dwight Eisenhower.

A Brief History of The War On Christmas

The "war on Christmas" traces back, historically, to Calvinist bans on the celebration of Christmas which began in Geneva and then migrated, with the spread of Calvinist theological views, to Scotland, where Christmas was almost eradicated, outlawed for four centuries - only to by revived by returning Scotch soldiers who had experienced Christmas rituals while fighting alongside troops of other nationalities who celebrated Christmas. Reportedly, the Scottish soldiers liked the culinary delights which accompanied the holiday. From Scotland, the ban on Christmas spread, briefly (for about a decade) to England with the Cromwellian revolution and then it migrated with the Puritans, fleeing the persecution their political and theological tendency that followed the Cromwellian revolution, to the New World, where, in the Bay State Colony Christmas was at one point legally banned for two decades. Early in the 20th Century in America, the notion of a "war on Christmas", which had long been on the wane, got a boost, as Talk To Action contributor Chip Berlet demonstrates, in 1921 with Henry Ford's notorious and highly influential anti-Jewish tract "The International Jew".




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Wonderful historical background. I really appreciate it. I don't know, I think we're doing pretty good what with the "holiday" lights sold as such, inverted Christmas trees, and baby pandas dressed in Santa hats to be "adopted" for "the holidays" instead of in crosses for Christmas.

by GreenEyed Lilo on Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 03:40:13 PM EST
I should scrape up some pics of Hagee and Hargis. They're spittin' images. Hargis was just bigger.

Surprising about the origin of the "War On Christmas", eh ? The Puritans who started it !

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 04:00:41 PM EST
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When I first came to Texas, I watched a few of Hagee's services on TV.  While his public demeanor is generally fairly mild, the same cannot be said of his sermons.

Frankly, I fail to understand why so many people are willing to sit there, week in and week out, in his services and spend an hour being harangued and yelled at by him.

by tacitus on Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 06:37:36 PM EST
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the mission sermon in the wonderful Studs Lonigan trilogy by James T. Farrell? Now, there was a first-class old-school Roman Catholic harangue for you, with the gates of hell gaping.
    I remember sermons like that. They were something like a good horror movie, except one heard them in church.

by nogodsnomasters on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 10:42:36 AM EST
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That we're taking the "Christ out of Christmas" has been a common refrain from Christians for at least 25 years, even in the more heathen parts of the world, like Scotland where I grew up.

Given that Christmas has long been more than just a celebration of the birth of Christ (if it ever was just that), it should come as no surprise that some Christians object to the increasingly secular and consumer-driven festivities surrounding the holiday.

But, as always, the modern religious right manages to find a way to whine and protest about the most inconsequential part of an issue.  Like superficial claims that gay marriage is destroying the family, claims that replacing the word Christmas with the word Holiday is destroying Christmas is simply missing the big picture.

Rampant commercialization has done more to destroy the original (Christian) meaning of Christmas than any amount of tweaking of names and slogans.  Of course, they can't complain about that since the right for companies to sell stuff and for people to buy it is all part of the American dream.  Really restoring the religious ideals to Christmas, even removing just the worst trappings of commercialism, would probably drive the American economy into a decade-long recession.

For all their bluster, the religious right is losing, and losing badly.  The victories they claim will be, for the most part, irrelevant in the long term.  Just as gays will never again be pushed back in the closet, Christmas will never again be anything but a family-oriented celebration of crass commercialism, with a bit of religion thrown in on the side.

by tacitus on Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 04:16:32 PM EST

I think the commercialization of Christmas has always been a far bigger travesty than any other connected to the season.
   I'll never forget watching two drivers nearly come to blows over a parking space just before Christmas at a Texas shopping mall. Comfort and joy, indeed.

by nogodsnomasters on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 10:38:18 AM EST
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Let us not forget that Christmas as a Christian holiday developed - EVOLVED! - from the many pagan celebrations of the winter solstice encountered by missionaries as the new religion worked its way across Europe in the early centuries of the first millennium CE. I suspect that this fact was at least part of the Puritan revulsion, though not to the same extent as its "Papish" extremes.

by RevRuthUCC on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 07:55:32 PM EST
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The Puritans were revolted by many, many practices of the Roman church and the newly somewhat independent, mildly reformed Church of England.  Their main source of revulsion was what I consider to be a theologically correct condemnation of unnecessary and florid embellishments to what should be a very simple set of life principals and orientation before God.

What is ironic to me about the religious right's furor over the "de-Christianizing" of Christmas is that "Christmas" is not a secular holiday at all.  Why the heck would I want Macy's wishing someone a merry christmas, as a corporation, when "merry christmas"   ought to be in the same linguistic realm as "the lord be with you".  By all means, as a person of faith, please for God's sake can we liberate Christmas from its secular exile.  But that doesn't mean convincing Macy's to say Christmas.  It means convincing Macy's to mind its own business.

When the religious right stirs this little tempest up, what they are really doing is supporting the further secularization of Christmas by trying to keep Christmas in the marketplace instead of the sanctuary.

My puritan ancestors (and their's) would definitely be repulsed.

Jesus knew how to throw a party. We'll try to hold up our end of the bargain.
by jedwards on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 01:53:32 AM EST
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