"You're upset about this?" I asked,somewhat surprised and I might add very confused since my mom, born in Israel, has never had a Christmas Tree, attended a cookie exchange, gone Christmas caroling or even sent anyone a Christmas Card. She opts for the very secular Seasons Greetings.
It wasn't until much later in the day that I figured out where her outrage was coming from--- She, like many octagenarians ( okay she won't be 80 until March) are Fox News Devotees.
Fox has been wagging the dog concerning a mythical War on Christmas for the past year--charging secular progressives are behind a plot to destroy our country.FOX is making a convoluted connection with the trend of retailers to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas to all things evil .
Using the logic that smoking weed will lead to heroin addiction, these pretend war advocates claim that saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas somehow promotes legalized abortion, drug addiction and gay marriage.
If my mom is any gauge of their success, they are winning this mythical war. As my daughter would say...annoying.
Now, from a retail perspective--if businesses start going into the "red" by advertising Ho HO Holidays instead of Merry Christmas then Merry Christmas it will be.
For retailers, its all about the 'green"--show them the money and the advertising will follow. It's not complicated.
USA TODAY has two editorials on the controversy. The left deals with the issue of the pretend war while the right deals with constitutional freedoms.
T. Jeremy Gunn ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief opens his editorial with anecdote of what happened last year when a protest group came caroling at the ACLU's Washington Offices.
"To tell the truth, the ACLU is not often serenaded by Christmas carolers. So it was with some excitement that the staff went outside and joined in the singing. They brought with them cookies and warm drinks to share. One staff member, who is an ordained Baptist minister, did a little witnessing about his faith to some astonished proponents of family values.
Fox News did broadcast the event (as a part of its "war against Christmas" campaign). Although the visiting singers were shown, the cameras failed to include any footage showing that everyone had participated in the caroling. Rather than reporting the facts, the anchor preferred the propaganda: "We believe the ACLU heard the message loud and clear, but they don't care."
Randy Singer, author of The Judge Who Stole Christmas writes that the law doesn't mandate a secular Christmas
."...if we eliminate religious symbols from the public square, can the Christmas holiday itself be far behind? This is the specter of Christmas future. Let's not pretend. Christmas is a national holiday with religious roots that ultimately extend back to a manger in Bethlehem. If we want to preserve the Christmas holidays tomorrow, public officials today should continue the tradition of displays reflecting the diversity of our society — both religious and non-religious.
Under our Constitution, there's nothing wrong with acknowledging the historical origins of a religious holiday. Elected officials and federal judges are not required to replace our pluralistic society with an atheistic one.
We are a diverse people with rich religious traditions. There should be room in the square for us all
Which of course is what the retailers are trying to do by saying Happy Holidays in their advertising-- they are trying to make room for all of us.
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah! And to quote T. Jeremy Gunn from his editorial, "and for believers in all other traditions: Thank you for enriching our world!