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Meditation 1103
Phony war over for another year

by: John Tyrrell

For another view on the "war on Christmas," listen to the Point of Inquiry podcast (about 30 minutes long) on the subject.

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You may have noticed that as soon as Christmas came along, the news reports of a war on Christmas in the USA came to an end. And a Christmas showing no visible battle-scars was freely celebrated by Christians across America.

Officially - from a religious viewpoint, Christmas starts on 25 December, and carries through to 6 January - your traditional 12 days of Christmas. But the overheated Fox News outraged reporting on the "War on Christmas" starts with US Thanksgiving (or a few days earlier, if they can find an excuse) and carries on to Christmas Eve.

That's important to note -- the reporting of the war on Christmas has nothing whatsoever to do with the religious celebration of Christmas. Nothing whatsoever.

In fact, reporting on  a war on Christmas never manages to report on an issue reflecting the blocking of an actual Christian religious ceremony. No-one is blocked from attending services; no one complains about the nativity scene on the church lawn, if there actually is one -- the vast majority of churches I've seen, don't have one.

What gets reported on is what a check-out person at the local Wal-Mart says to customers -- and somehow "Happy Holiday's" is claimed to represent a war on Christmas -- or a call for a non-white Santa Claus is claimed to represent a war on Christmas -- or there are decorations at City Hall representing a non-Christian holiday tradition in addition to the Christian decorations -- or a politician or business does a mass mailing of greeting cards on which the word "Christmas" does not appear. And you could go on and on with the trivialities which supposedly represent a "war on Christmas."

All of these items are essentially non-Christian (as are most of the elements of the seasonal celebrations). They are elements of the secular celebration of the season. And as secular elements, they are what Christian churches throughout most of nearly two millennia have denounced. And they have also been denounced by churches as the commercialization (subsequently revised, in an acknowledgement of defeat, to over-commercialization) of Christmas.

The very things which Christian churches have repeatedly denounced in the past - and which a number of them still denounce today - are being called an attack by non-believers on a Christian Christmas.

Again - what is being reported as under attack are the aspects which are secular and (overly) commercial. Nothing to do with the Christian religion, nothing to do with the birth of the person Christians supposedly follow. Nothing to do with how Christians celebrate the occasion in their place of worship or in their homes. Everything to do with the public and secular sphere in which people of all faiths and lack of faith participate.

The reports of a war on Christmas are solely aimed at outraging ill-informed old white nominal Christians to grab their attention -- cantankerous old fools who don't understand they are being manipulated -- cantankerous old fools who don't understand that the Christmas "traditions" supposedly under attack are not Christian traditions, are not long-standing traditions, and in some cases, are "traditions" younger than they are -- cantankerous old fools who are being callously played for cantankerous old fools by the news network they ignorantly trust.

It's going to happen again next year -- the same old reports of a phony war on Christmas -- probably repeating the same old urban legends, because that's cheaper than actual reporting. But remember this -- next year when someone complains about a "war on Christmas," perhaps because they've heard some outraged news commentator blathering about some unsubstantiated incident, or perhaps because they encountered a Festivus pole, or something equally innocuous, ask them -- "And how precisely is that going to affect your religious observance of Christmas?"

 

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