The War on the War on the War on Christmas Just Got a Little Harder

Politics & Current Events

Ken already ably demonstrated everything that is wrong with fundie caterwauling about the non-existent War on Christmas. It is for that reason that I will do no more than engage in some cathartic name-calling about those idiots before getting to my main point.

The War on Christmas does not exist. It exists only in the minds of pathetic people who wish to substitute themselves for Jesus on the cross and loudly proclaim the martyrdom that they suffer when anyone dares be considerate of people who aren't exactly like them. It isn't enough that their religion represents an overwhelming majority of Americans. It isn't enough that their religion has led them to support profoundly dumb curricula in both history and science. It apparently does not matter at all that the people waging this so-called war are themselves largely Christian. The main difference between the two camps is that only the alleged warriors are living their Christian values.

And yet…

Under the guise of enforcing a non-discrimination provision in federal banking regulations, examiners for the Federal Reserve ordered a bank in Oklahoma to remove "Merry Christmas" buttons, teller's crosses and a bible verse that was on display. And now we have a problem.

As James Joyner at Outside the Beltway notes, this was a bad decision by a low-level official that was quickly reversed in the face of criticism. As such, I would not think it is a very big deal. But I fear that it will be a big deal because someone, someday – and probably soon – will decide it is a big deal. When the next round of War on Christmas moaning breaks out, this dumb incident will become "evidence" that "the federal government" is "trying to eradicate Christianity" or some such bullshit. And the fact that a gigantic fucking cross is sitting on wink-wink-private-land based on an act of Congress or that the Texas Speaker of the House is facing serious opposition from Christian conservatives merely because he is Jewish will do nothing to dispel that notion.

So… thanks for nothing, Federal Reserve regulators. You've reignited a flame that sane believers in the separation of church and state keep trying to put out.

Last 5 posts by Charles

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Tam  •  Dec 19, 2010 @6:05 am

    Christianity is about as much "under attack" in this country as college football is in the South.

  2. SPQR  •  Dec 19, 2010 @9:21 am

    While I don't disagree with the assertion that the "war on christmas" meme is overblown, I think about the assertion here that there is no war on christmas, and ignore this minor raid here in the Fed …

  3. Jerry Maguire  •  Dec 19, 2010 @11:52 am

    While I can agree with a lot of what you have said, I have to wonder if you're a little over defensive about the whole thing. Maybe you got a lot of hate mail over the "Popehat" title, which although I'm sure is meant in a jesting sort of way, could understandably be thought of as somewhat provocative.

    Very true, though, when you point out the ironic: explicit public proclamations of faith tend to undermine or cheapen it. Faith is better publicly expressed through more unselfconscious ways: art, literature, etc. Christmas displays, even gaudy ones, have their charm, because they're only around temporarily and are the product of habit or custom, not some grand statement-making.

    Probably the best thing to do about the recurring Christmas "controversies" is to ignore them, which I think is partly your point.

  4. Patrick  •  Dec 19, 2010 @3:50 pm

    The war on Christmas was lost in the 1950s. Christ lost. Santa Claus won.

  5. SPQR  •  Dec 19, 2010 @5:47 pm

    That's only because Frosty cheated.

  6. Dwight Brown  •  Dec 20, 2010 @6:39 am

    "That’s only because Frosty cheated."

    You're forgetting that last second 98 yard field goal kicked by Rudolph. I still resent the refs ruling that animals are allowed to kick field goals because there's no specific regulation in the rule book that forbids it.

  7. bw  •  Dec 20, 2010 @10:33 am

    When you loudly proclaim there's no war on Christmas, then mention that incident, I think your disagreement with those claiming there's a war is more like the discussion between the man and woman at the bar where he first propositions her for a million dollars, then asks, how about for a hundred, and she asks what type of woman he thinks she is, and he replies that they've established that and they're now haggling over price. You seem to agree a conflict exists, and the issue is one of degree.

  8. Ken  •  Dec 20, 2010 @11:00 am

    I don't know, bw. There are occasional government twerps like this one. There are occasional atheists who actually complain about being told "Merry Christmas." Perhaps, somewhere, there is even a lawyer who has threatened a lawsuit because of Christmas decorations on private property. But that doesn't make a "war." The people who use the phrase "War on Christmas" non-ironically mean to convey that there is a sizable organized effort by secularists and Jesus-haters to throw down "traditional" "Christmas" symbols — by which they mean, for the most part, the traditional symbols of seasonal merchandising. Having sex for a million might make one a whore, but isolated incidents do not make a war.

  9. Charles  •  Dec 20, 2010 @12:39 pm

    I liked the direction the comments were heading and I'm sorry to see them turn serious again. But they have and I turn back with them.

    SPQR and bw, you are both making a mistake here. The war, to the sense there is any, is not being waged on Christmas. Anyone (who isn't a state actor) is perfectly free to celebrate Christmas however aggressively or gaudily they choose. The real war is being waged by a certain type of Christian who finds that society at large isn't sufficiently kowtowing to his or her particular brand of in-your-face celebration. A store that faces a protest because it chooses to wish Season's Greetings to all of its potential customers – not just the Christians who want to swing their numbers and buying power as a cudgel – is not waging war on Christians; that store is a victim in a war against civility.

    That one misguided group of bank examiners chose to interpret a non-discrimination clause in a pathetically broad way doesn't demonstrate that there is a War on Christmas. It demonstrates that people make mistakes and even well-intentioned (and necessary) policy can have absurd consequences if a person interprets that policy incorrectly.

  10. ponderingturtle  •  Dec 21, 2010 @12:14 pm

    The lack of a war on Christmas shows how far this country has fallen from its puritan roots. The pilgrims would be ashamed that people view thanksgiving as the start of the Christmas season. We stopped being the kind of nation that they wanted when we legalized Christmas. This led to legalizing catholics and quakers and how can we view ourselves as a truly Christian nation then? We clearly have lost touch with our founders.

    So you want a War on Christmas, talk to Oliver Cromwell.

  11. Rhymes With Right  •  Dec 23, 2010 @4:51 pm

    Let's correct a couple of assertions made about matters down here in Texas.

    1) Speaker Joe Straus is not facing opposition because of his religion. he is facing opposition because a conservative Republican super-majority now controls the Texas House, and a lot of us down here believe that the Speaker should be a conservative Republican elected by the votes of conservative Republican legislators, not a guy who got his job by being the unanimous pick of the Democrats and less than a dozen turncoat moderate Republicans during the last session of the legislature.

    2) Have you actually read the standards adopted by the State Board of Education down here in Texas? Or are you merely believing the re-written press releases from liberal organizations that were published by the mainsteam media. I have read the standards, and i believe they are (overall) pretty good. But then again, what do I know — I merely have two degrees in the social sciences and 16 years of experience teaching on the high school and college levels.

  12. Charles  •  Dec 23, 2010 @10:15 pm

    RwR 1) The leader of the anti-Straus opposition did suggest that Straus was not conservative enough but he made it a point to note that what the House needed was not a conservative leader but a conservative Christian leader. Try to gussy it up however you like but that is anti-semitism. Honestly, it is the kind of thing I'd expect someone who wrote this to notice.

    2) Have I read the standards? No. I have read coverage of the debates over standards and long interviews with the school board members pushing stupidity. Fake history and fake science. Anything accurate that made it to final publication slipped through the cracks.