Every year as the holiday season approaches, fear spreads about a ‘war on Christmas’ — a series of events that some see as an attempt to silence the celebration of a Christian holiday, and others see as mere recognition that there are other important days in the winter months.
Even the most mundane things become controversial, with consumers warned that corporations who offer ‘holiday’ decorations or solid-colored festive cups are attacking faith. Stories circulate of people who aren’t sure if they are allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ and tales of cashiers and waitstaff using the more general ‘Happy Holidays,’ to the disappointment of some customers.
Politician Sarah Palin released a book in 2013 about protecting Christmas from this perceived eviction from the public arena. Last year, the mere wish of ‘Happy Kwanzaa’ from President Obama to social media followers created a tidal wave of angry people who believed he had unfairly celebrated other holidays while ignoring the day that, in the Christian tradition, commemorates the birth of Christ.
Then, of course, there was the Starbucks’ Red Cup Drama — in which a certain social media evangelist (who would later use his YouTube celeb status to declare that God wants us to bomb ISIS, that Hillary Clinton is demon-possessed, and that Christians must carry guns to act as vigilantes for law enforcement) declared the coffee giant anti-Christian, participants in the War on Christmas, for their decision to make seasonal cups in a solid red, rather than print them with winter or holiday themed imagery.
This year, Starbucks has brought that particular controversy back, seemingly with intent.
Though it’s not a Christmas cup, the company describes the artwork on the cup as a symbol of unity.
Is it War on Christmas, though? While some customers are perturbed, most who have gone even slightly viral expressing outrage have later said they were joking or being sarcastic.
— Jazmine (@JazzHandd) November 1, 2016
However, the American Family Association is already firing back — or is it a pre-emptive strike? Either way, they’re moving to protect Christmas from the purported war by secularists, by selling bracelets to emphasize the importance of Christianity and Jesus in the winter holiday season.
“Well, secular liberals in our nation are bent on minimizing and even removing any mention of Christianity from the public square.”
On the other hand, not much of the public seems to be ready for either side of the War on Christmas. Social media users are declaring it’s too soon.
Keep Christ in Christmas?? How about "Keep Christmas in December".
— Rev Daniel (@RevDaniel) November 2, 2016
Also, with the election coming up, there has been some debate on who one can vote for with a clear conscience, and that has stretched into the annual War. One North Carolina pastor has declared that people supporting Trump surrender moral authority and should give up any attempt to promote the idea of a Christian nation.
If you're a Christian voting for Donald Trump, please don't start all that "Keep in Christ in Christmas" nonsense because it rings hollow.
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) November 1, 2016
“… any claims that Christ is at the center of our county’s genesis really fly out the window when you elevate a person of Trump’s poor character to its highest position, and affirm that he represent its presence in the world.”
As for Donald Trump and his position on the War on Christmas, he did declare last year that perhaps people should boycott Starbucks over their holiday cups, according to CNN. On the other hand, he also called for supporters to boycott other companies, such as Macys, after the company discontinued carrying his products, so maybe that’s not so much a Christmas thing.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2015
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2015
What’s the verdict this year? Is America losing its identity by being inclusive of holidays from multiple religions and traditions, or is the War on Christmas an exaggerated claim of persecution? Share your experiences in the comments — have you faced restrictions on your religious celebrations?
[Featured Image by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images]