“The War On Christmas” is a Big, Fat Lie

20121203-oreillyxmasEvery year without fail the “War On Christmas” begins once again, and every year without fail we see the same tired old memes and talking points from the same old sources about how we need to “Put Christ Back In Christmas.” Whether it’s Sarah Palin hawking another lousy book which is released just in time for the Christmas shopping season (complete coincidence, I’m sure) or Bill O’Reilly’s annual kvetching about the “Secular Progressive assaults on the traditions of Christmas” – enough is enough.

It’s not just these two self-promoting snake oil salespeople spreading misinformation for a buck – there’s millions of people out there who are actually convinced that people like myself and others who believe fully in the separation of church and state are coming for their Christmas. It’s also not a surprise that many of the same people think that Obamacare has death panels, that the government is coming to take their guns, or that gay marriage will somehow be a threat to their own heterosexual union.

Let’s be absolutely clear – there isn’t a “War On Christmas” and nobody is trying to outlaw the holiday. Nobody is going to come and seize your tree or take little Bobby’s presents from under it like The Grinch. This whole fake outrage is nothing more than a gimmick by opportunistic individuals to drive TV ratings and book sales. Christmas isn’t going anywhere; in fact, the holiday now seems to stretch from before Halloween until the dried out tree hits the curb around New Year’s Eve.

However, once upon a time, Christmas was banned – and it wasn’t by “godless atheist secular progressives,” either. Remember the Puritans who came to the New World in search of religious freedom? They completely outlawed Christmas in 1659, and even fined people who celebrated it:

Puritans in the English Parliament eliminated Christmas as a national holiday in 1645, amid widespread anti-Christmas sentiment. Settlers in New England went even further, outlawing Christmas celebrations entirely in 1659. Anyone caught shirking their work duties or feasting was forced to pay a significant penalty of five shillings. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but in New England it remained banned until the 1680s, when the Crown managed to exert greater control over its subjects in Massachusetts. In 1686, the royal governor of the colony, Sir Edmund Andros, sponsored a Christmas Day service at the Boston Town House. Fearing a violent backlash from Puritan settlers, Andros was flanked by redcoats as he prayed and sang Christmas hymns.

Yes, the “Christian values” that our nation was supposedly founded on did not include Christmas, and it wasn’t even made a federal holiday until 1870 when it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant.

So the next time some talking head on Fox News or your Republican uncle who believes every word they say tells you that “liberal secularists” are out to destroy Christmas, feel free to teach them some history. Remind them if it had been left up to the religious right, we may not have celebrated the holiday at all.

Screen capture image via Fox News


Facebook comments

  • Mark Lysle

    Bill looks like he’s talking about how loofahs make him feel deep inside….

    • Pipercat

      … and/or what happens to kibbehs inside of his gut!

    • Devil_Dinosaur

      I believe you mean, “falafel.”

  • Sean Gonzalez

    I long for the day these detailed reports on things that don’t exist disappear. Until the GOP stops playing the victim card as they feel only they are allowed to do, this crap will keep popping up every…stinking…year.

  • shopper

    Maybe the stores should all open early on Christmas Day to start their ‘after Christmas sales’. After all, not all citizens celebrate this holiday – Thanksgiving is probably more inclusive and the stores opened then.

  • FD Brian

    I haven’t been in any store since a week before Halloween that I couldn’t hit a Christmas tree if I swung a dead cat.

    • Ben

      We have no christmas stuff. Of course, it is a paint store. Also, I banned christmas music in my store. You can hear it EVERYWHERE else.

  • Dan Kozlowski

    I just read about how Scott Walker is telling people not to but their children anything for Christmas, but instead to give money to his campaign for reelection. Talk about “war on Christmas”.

  • Ken Aten

    What we call “Christmas” started as a pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice. The Catholic Church has always been good at taking pagan rituals and turning them into Christian “Holidays”. The same with “Easter” named for a pagan fertility goddess, hence the eggs, the bunnies and other symbols of fertility. Since Christmas was not celebrated until three or four hundred years after Jesus time on earth, “taking Christ out of Christmas” is a meaningless phrase.

  • Matthew Reece

    Christmas is a pagan holiday that a knowledgeable person who wants to follow Christ’s teachings should reject.

  • Larry Thedishguy Blake

    The more I hear about this so-called “War on Christmas,” the more I become convinced that people such as Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin want us to actually wage such a thing.

    Oh, and happy holidays, everyone.

  • Lori Kovac

    I’m a Christian who does not celebrate Christmas. As far as I am concerned, it’s a pagan holiday.

  • J-Way

    I disagree; I believe there is a “war on Christmas”. But it isn’t the false war being decried by rich Republicans; the so-called assault on Christmas by atheists, Muslims, and politically correct liberals. The REAL war is pretty much already over, and happened behind the scenes. It was won by the very people who are trying to shift blame onto liberals. The war has already turned a celebration of the Christ’s birthday (Christ’s Mass) into a crass mass-marketing extravaganza of capitalism and gross consumerism. It has eclipsed all other holidays even close to the same time of year and has even overtaken Thanksgiving.

    The fight shouldn’t be over trying to keep people from saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”; the fight should be trying to keep people from saying “Merry Christmas” to the exclusion of all other holidays.

    [PS – I’m very aware that if you follow the Bible’s account, Jesus of Nazareth was born in the spring instead of the Winter Solstice, the wise men didn’t arrive for at least 2 years, and also that pretty much every traditional symbol of Christmas can be traced back to Pagan origins. But as we don’t know Jesus’s actual birthday, December 25th is as good a day to celebrate as any.]

    • Me

      December 25 is the traditional day of the birth of the sun god, which was replaced with the birth of Christ by Constantine when he converted and made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire to “worship not the birth of the sun but he who made it.”

  • nanalove3

    The war on Christmas is not about taking away the trees and presents. Quite the opposite. People who choose to follow the faith don’t care about all of that. As a matter of fact, all of that has very little to do with why we celebrate and how we celebrate. Mass media has taken the entire holiday to a vulgar level of greed and pomp. The real war is the attack on one groups beliefs. The real battlefield is the violation of core of the Christian faith. When a comedian on Comedy central creates a “beef baby” Jesus out of raw meat, feces and semen and lays it in a manger scene for a laugh, it is insulting. He laughs, oh you Christian people are too sensitive, he says. No, we are not sensitive, we are insulted for our Lord. We aren’t supposed to get angry or insulted or miffed, you say? We aren’t supposed to feel like our Faith and our belief are under attack? Of course they are and the guilty parties can try to paint it anyway they want but the truth is, you want the world to believe that Christians are shallow enough to be offended by what you spin as a supposed war on their faith. The real issue is, you (whoever supports this theory) can’t stand the truth. Keep your trees and your lights and your gross need for material possessions and greed. Leave us alone. Allow us the same courtesy you extend to the Muslims and Jewish faiths. Allow us to celebrate our faith without petty ridicule and far reaching theories about what we “feel” about the supposed war on Christmas. The only true war is the attack on our Savior and Lord. I would ask why you don’t feel the need to attack Mohammad the way you do Jesus, but the answer is way too obvious.

    • Mr Nice Guy

      I understand where you are coming from, disrespecting any one’s religion is wrong period. Now in saying this do you not think that some religions would find it insulting for say their town to have Christmas Decorations in the town square and not have decorations of their holiday there as well. I grew up in a small southern town and every year they put up Christmas decorations through out the town on public property (which is fine by me) but I guarantee you if someone say who is a Satanist wants to place decorations of their religion in the same spots there would be an uproar in the Christian Community of my town and people would be insulted by this. (Note: I have seen this happen in the town on other subjects so I’m not just guessing here). There is no war on Christmas, the real issue is jut equality if one group is allowed to do things then other groups should be able to do it as well. (as long as no one is breaking the law or it is actually physically hurting someone). Oh and s for making fun of other religions gods I see it all the time on TV
      On a personal note I could care less I’m going to celebrate my holidays like I always do with my family and friends and no one or group will change that you can tell me Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy kwanza, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New years what ever I will thank that person every time for them taking the time to wish for me to be happy during these celebrations.

  • sherry06053

    How about how commercialism just destroyed Thanksgiving? Soon, the stores will ALL be open all day on Thanksgiving and it will be called “Black Friday Eve”

  • sherry06053

    Just realized these comments are all from “a year ago”. Stirring up trouble, are we?

  • Gary Menten

    The war on Christmas bullshit will be plausible as soon as government starts pulling all the Christmas specials that have been on TV since I was kid in the 60’s off the air, and as soon as it becomes illegal to play Christmas music on the radio. When that happens, call us.