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December 23, 2010

Final Thoughts on the AFA's War on 'The War on Christmas'

The past week we've been one-by-one debunking the American Family Association's 'Naughty or Nice' list of retailers... because not only are they crazy, but even if you accept their craziness, they're still wrong. Basically they have divided random retailers and companies arbitrarily into three categories, Green ('Nice' - uses the term 'Christmas' on a regular basis), Yellow ('Neutral' - refers to 'Christmas' infrequently) and Red ('Naughty' - uses 'Christmas' sparingly or not at all). Because we all know how fucking offensive Happy Holidays" is, right?

We've already shown why the following companies are on the wrong lists:

We could keep going on and on disproving the claims made on their list (they were really off this year) but it's almost Christmas and some of us actually have stuff to do. But first, here are a few final thoughts...

Obviously, the ESC doesn't agree with the AFA that 'Christmas' must be recognized by retailers and non-religious companies. It's pretty annoying that despite the fact there is supposed to be a clear separation of church and state, the AFA (and others) seem to forget that not everyone is Christian, not everyone celebrates Christmas. We're not personally offended by 'Merry Christmas' but we all agree that 'Happy Holidays' is not only more inclusive, but it's also more accurate considering how many holidays are actually celebrated in the Winter.

So clearly, we think the AFA is wrong in their belief that all businesses must acknowledge Christmas (and not any other holidays). And we've already proven that they're wrong in determining which companies do or don't acknowledge Christmas. But we think they're actually wrong in one more way when it comes to this issue...

The whole basis of their 'Naughty or Nice' list is whether or not these retail stores use the word 'Christmas' and reference "items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.)" but we think that sort of misses the point. In their boycott of Gap/Old Navy last year, they wrote:

Christmas is special because of Jesus. It's not just a "winter holiday." For millions of Americans the giving and receiving of gifts is in honor of the One who gave Himself. For the Gap to pretend that isn't the foundation of the Christmas season is political correctness at best and religious bigotry at worst.

The Gap is censoring the word Christmas, pure and simple. Yet the company wants all the people who celebrate Christmas to do their shopping at its stores? Until Gap proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio, television advertising or in-store signage, the boycott will be promoted.

(They also made a big deal of the commercial that dared to mention the Solstice, which they called "the pagan holiday [...] celerated by Wiccans who practice witchcraft!")
Obviously there's a lot wrong with that statement... there are many winter holidays that are just as special to the people who celebrate them, as Christmas is the Christans; it's not religious bigotry to be inclusive of all religions, that's basically the opposite of religious bigotry; Jesus may be the foundation of Christmas, but he's not the foundation of the entire season.  But they make one interesting point:

Christmas is special because of Jesus.

Obviously we don't have a problem with Christmas trees and Santa Claus and all the commercial or secular aspects of the holiday, but shouldn't the AFA? If the point of Christmas really is Jesus, then why do they care what retail stores are doing? Why do they care about shopping and advertising? Why do they care about trees and wreaths and Santa? If Christmas is really about Jesus, then they shouldn't be butting their noses into frivolous, commercial aspects of the holiday season like shopping and advertising at all, because whether the store uses the word 'Christmas' or not they're still going against the real meaning of the season.

(Again, obviously we don't feel that way, but based on some of the other remarks made by the AFA in the past, it's clear that they should.)

I mean, let's look at the actual origins of Christmas, the way we celebrate it today. It doesn't actually have a lot to do with Jesus... We're supposed to be celebrating the birth of Jesus but some scholars are saying that Jesus likely wasn't born in December at all. So why do we celebrate on December 25th? December was chosen to compete with the pagan rituals associated with the winter solstice and the return of the sun.

The Christmas tree isn't very Christian at all either. (We're pretty sure there were no evergreen trees in Bethlehem during the birth of Christ.) This is a tradition that was stolen borrowed from pagan rituals for the winter solstice. As were the traditions of decorating with holly, ivy, mistletoe and other 'greenery'. Mistletoe was revered by Druid priests (as early as 200 years before the birth of Christ) because it remained green during the cold months of winter. Scandanavians associated it with the goddess of Love and many cultures believed that both mistletoe and holly had magical powers.

So basically, by celebrating Christmas in December with presents under a lit-up tree, in a house decorate with lights and holly and mistletoe, the AFA isn't staying true to Jesus... they're actually being true to the horrible, evil, Solstice that they mentioned earlier. If they really cared about Jesus, they'd stop celebrating in December all together.

The AFA already told us how horrible it is to recognize evil pagan holidays, so we think they should stop pressuring retailers to do so. They should stop harassing stores for not mentioning 'Christmas' enough times in their December advertising, because really, they wouldn't being true to Jesus if they did.

And because the AFA truly is the gift that keeps on giving, you can also check out our coverage from last year:
Have a happy holiday everyone, whatever you celebrate!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another point on the "should Christians really support the conventional celebration of Christmas":

Jesus may not have been born in December, but one thing that is in December (though not on the 25th) is Saint Nicholas day--Saint Nick, of course, being Santa (Saint Nicholas is also behind the whole gift-giving thing, NOT some symbolism of Christ's gift to humanity... or of the gifts given to Christ when he was born, as I have also heard). But many denominations of Christianity do not recognize the Saints of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, so people of those denominations should throw Christmas out the window altogether.