Religious leaders push back against right's "War on Christmas"
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 07:51:23 AM EST
Coalition of religious leaders urges Bill O'Reilly and other Christmas Warriors to consider a cease fire

Over the past few years, the "War on Christmas" -- a shared project of the Religious Right and the Fox News Channel - has become as much a part of the holiday season as the showing of Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" and Charles Schulz`s "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on television every year.

Now, after a few years of sitting on the sidelines while an assortment of conservative Christian leaders and Fox's talking heads grinched and groaned about a so-called "War on Christmas," some Christian leaders have decided to fight back - and they're doing it with an interesting twist; placing the emphasis on peace and charity this holiday season.  

Today, according to a press release issued yesterday by Faith in Public Life, a group of religious leaders are placing advertisements in the Washington Times and the New York Post "challenging Bill O'Reilly of Fox News and others who have lashed out against a so-called secular `War on Christmas' to join them in a new campaign that restores a focus on the common good during this holy season."

   

"War on Christmas" good for religious right's bottom lineL

Last year, the Alliance Defense Fund, American Family Association, Focus on the Family, and Concerned Women for America banded together for a special Christmas Project. "Chief on its agenda," Religion News Service reported at the time, "is a list of `nice' retailers that use the word `Christmas' in their stores and catalogues and `naughty' ones that do not."

The "War on Christmas" apparently has been good for the bottom line of several conservative Christian organizations. In 2006, the American Family Association maintained that it sold more than 500,000 buttons and 125,000 bumper stickers bearing the slogan "Merry Christmas: It's Worth Saying." The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal aid group that boasts a network of some 900 lawyers standing ready to "defend Christmas," says it has moved about 20,000 "Christmas packs" - two legal pins and a three-page legal memo given for a $29 donation. And Liberty Counsel, a conservative law firm affiliated with the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, said it distributed for free 16,000 legal memos on celebrating Christmas.

The problem with Christmas in the US of A, according to an "Open Letter to Christmas Culture Warriors" -- signed onto by a group of Catholic social justice leaders, priests, religious sisters and evangelical Christians -- is not that some department stores use "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" in their holiday advertising. Nor is it so-called efforts to removal of Christmas celebrations from the public square by liberals/atheists.

"We believe the real assault on Christmas is how a season of peace, forgiveness and goodwill has been sidelined by a focus on excessive consumerism," the letter states. "The powerful message Christ brings to the world is `good news for the poor.' Instead, Christmas is being reduced to a corporate-sponsored holiday that idolizes commerce and materialism."

Urging Fox's talking heads to take the high road

A press release issued on Monday, December 3, by Faith in Public Life, a not-for-profit nonpartisan 501(c) (3) communications and organizing resource center "dedicated to reclaiming the values debate in America ... [and] strengthen[ing] and increase[ing] the visibility of faith leaders dedicated to justice and the common good," points out religious leaders "are challenging Bill O'Reilly of Fox News and others who have lashed out against a so-called secular `War on Christmas' to join them in a new campaign that restores a focus on the common good during this holy season."

The group's "Open Letter to Christmas Culture Warriors" is to be published as an advertisement in the December 4 issue of New York Post and Washington Times and in the December 14 issue of the National Catholic Reporter,

Faith in Public Life's press release notes that Fox News commentator John Gibson's 2005 book, The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse Than You Thought, "denounced what he and other pundits describe as a secular agenda intent on destroying Christmas and driving religion from the public square." William Donohue, executive director of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, "has warned of `cultural fascists' taking over Christmas" and Fox's top talking head, Bill O'Reilly, "has made the `War on Christmas' a prominent seasonal feature of his popular Fox broadcast."

Christianity Today's Ted Olsen recently described the evolution of the battles surrounding the Christmas season this way:

The Christmas wars have changed focus in the last few years. There are still the reruns of fights over displaying nativity scenes, stars of Bethlehem, and less religious displays like Christmas trees on government-run spaces. Hundreds of lawyers are standing by, waiting for a city council to squelch caroling or a school principal to crush a candy-cane handout.

But since 2005, when the "war on Christmas" reached a fever pitch, some organizations and many individual Christians have put more emphasis on the season's greeting. At the grocery store last year, I was surprised by the indignation of a fellow shopper when the clerk wished her "Happy Holidays." The woman glowered for a moment, then responded, without a hint of merriment, "Merry Christmas."

Honoring the words of Christ

"Christmas marks a season of hope, peace and the light of justice illuminating the dark corners of our world," said Alexia Kelley, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

"At a time when soldiers and innocent civilians are dying in a real war in Iraq and 37 million Americans live still in poverty we should be focusing on those moral scandals not having petty shouting matches on television about a supposed `secular conspiracy' to subvert Christmas."

"When we consider the true meaning of Christmas, its sacredness is not validated by prescribed greetings or slogans in department stores," said Rev. Derrick Harkins, Senior Pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and a Board member of the evangelical humanitarian relief agency World Relief, "If we are truly serious about the importance of Christmas, we will remember that its message of love and hope was shared with disenfranchised shepherds first, which should prompt us to be far more concerned with  how the season is shared in word and deed with the poor and hurting among us."




Display:
...read the open letter and give your signature in support, click here.

I did!

by Frank Cocozzelli on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 01:39:34 PM EST

So did I!

by sheltie on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 02:06:18 PM EST
Parent


kudos!

by Frank Cocozzelli on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 01:40:45 PM EST

interesting to read this post, and I have to agree about that it has become a little bit insane with making christmas a holiday ony good for the people with money nowadays...
Michael, Programmer currently working on the Male Enhancement Online Pharmacies project.
by Michael C on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:48:40 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (330 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (178 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (98 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (93 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (105 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (127 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (115 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (79 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (228 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (55 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (153 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (53 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (54 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (210 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (240 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (87 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (171 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (143 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (141 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (146 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (144 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (123 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (185 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (142 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (83 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (189 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (77 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (107 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (105 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.