With just a few days to go before Christmas is officially here, the more conservative factions of the United States — and, indeed, the world — are raising a concern about the so-called “War on Christmas.” With this in mind, we decided to find out: is this perceived War on Christmas a real phenomenon, or is it a myth?
To understand what the more conservative factions of the United States are talking about when they speak of the War on Christmas, let’s take a look at what The Christian Science Monitor has to say. Gretel Kaufmann, who believes that Donald Trump is an ally in the fight to “save Christmas” in this country, believes that saying something as simple as “Merry Christmas” is not just a religious belief, but a political one.
“For some religious conservatives, the symbolism of Trump’s election alone may be victory enough. ‘You can say again, “Merry Christmas,” because Donald Trump is now the president,’ former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski assured viewers on Fox News’ ‘Hannity’ earlier this month. ‘You can say it again, it’s OK to say, it’s not a pejorative word anymore.'”
— Rick G. Rosner (@dumbassgenius) December 22, 2016
But is there really a “War on Christians,” as some people believe? According to Truth Out, there is no such thing as a “war on Christmas.” For one, according to the site, no President in history — including our most recent President, Barack Obama — has ever had a problem telling his constituency “Merry Christmas.” Second, according to recent polls, only 3 percent of Americans would be offended if someone told them “Merry Christmas,” regardless of whether they celebrated the holiday (compared to 13 percent of Americans who get offended when someone says “Happy Holidays” to them).
Third, and perhaps most importantly, in the United States, the so-called “War on Christmas” wasn’t started by Democrats, liberals, feminists, or “secularists,” but by the Puritans that many conservatives admire so much.
“The Pilgrims proscribed Christmas celebrations and lambasted the holiday as a blasphemous corruption of Christianity. The Puritans who led the Massachusetts Bay Colony deemed Christmas festivities unbiblical and banned the holiday in 1659.”
Moreover, Truth Out argues, the statement “Happy Holidays” is not one of Christian oppression, but of religious inclusion. In other words, it takes into account that not every American celebrates Christmas — there are some who celebrate Hanukkah, some who celebrate Kwanzaa, and still others who don’t celebrate any Judeo-Christian holidays (i.e., Muslims) or holidays at all (i.e., atheists). And with this country’s separation of church and state, one could easily argue that saying “Merry Christmas” is a form of politesse, not a legal requirement, according to Truth Out.
— GodlessLiberals.com (@GodlessLiberals) December 18, 2016
So how did this myth about the War on Christmas come about? According to the New York Times, leaving aside the history lesson about the Puritans, the renewed idea about a “War on Christmas” came about thanks to a 2005 book by conservative radio host John Gibson, who alleged that there was “increased antagonism” towards Christianity around the holiday season.
But according to The Reverend Barry Lynn, whom the New York Times interviewed for the story, much of the perceived War on Christmas is little more than a myth that’s gotten out of control.
“They see this as some kind of a politically correct effort, but I see it as reasonable to not use Christmas references as just an accommodation of the reality of America.”
Daniel Mach of the ACLU agrees.
“Christmas celebrations in this country are alive and well. And as long as the government itself isn’t promoting religious doctrine those celebrations are entirely constitutional.”
Thankfully I don’t know any “war on Christmas” type of Christians, but I know they’re out there so this is for them pic.twitter.com/pFu0M5w79u
— sexy legs cat (@arkaeya) December 12, 2016
Do you believe the War on Christmas is real?
[Featured Image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]