The “War on Christmas” is on, and we are losing it.
By we, I mean to say those of us who appreciate the Christmas season for what it is – candy canes, fun music, family time, toys, animated television specials, and gift-giving. For some, it is also a season of remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. For others, it is a time to watch Home Alone and to enjoy a few spiced seasonal beverages. Will the “Wet Bandits” make off with the suburban riches of the McCallister family home? Every year, that opportunity presents itself.
For most of us, it’s simply a time to relax, to escape from the incendiary — and emotionally exhausting — 24-hour news cycle, and to enjoy the gifts that our good fortune, no matter how small the fortune, has graced us with.
For still others, it is a time to attempt cultural subversion, political grandstanding, and an erasure of all things traditional and fun. And it is the individuals who constitute these dreary forces, the army of “Bah, Humbug!” and assorted cynics, that demand our full attention — that is, if we wish to keep any sanity, or semblance of Christmas tradition, intact.
The modern so-called “War on Christmas” has been a long-standing point of sociopolitical debate for some time now, beginning in earnest in 2004, per Politico, when conservative television personality Bill O’Reilly launched a December 7 segment titled “Christmas Under Siege.”
“All over the country, Christmas is taking flak,” O’Reilly told his audience. “In Denver this past weekend, no religious floats were permitted in the holiday parade there. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the ‘holiday tree,’ and no Christian Christmas symbols are allowed in the public schools. Federated Department Stores — that’s Macy’s — have done away with the Christmas greeting ‘Merry Christmas.'”
WAR ON CHRISTMAS: Leftists Demand Michigan Town Remove ‘Three Wise Men’ Christmas Display https://t.co/ABTtuWX9KD
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) December 6, 2018
Politico writer Daniel Denvir, perhaps predictably, casts O’Reilly’s observation — and those that have come since — as the mere grousings of his political adversaries. This trite dismissal of an ascendant populist — meaning, of the people — concern diminishes the fact that, in the intervening years, this cultural march towards a holiday season sanitized of all traditional trappings is well underway. The marching orders are clear — old-timey jazz songs are to be replaced with politically-correct platitudes, pandering to popular “social justice” ideologies — and a studied apathy toward the slow-creep of convenient and conspicuous consumerism, made ever-easier by retail giant Amazon, is now the reason for the season.
While there may not be an organized battle for the heart of the wintry holiday, marshaled by forces that openly declare war on the traditions and the sentiment of the season, there is certainly a preponderance of attacks upon the cultural spirit of Christmas, and the cultural artifacts that so many of us hold dear to our own hearts at this time of year.
"I would hear from time to time people call it a date rape song. I would get annoyed because it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties. But ever since Cosby was accused of drugging women, I hear the date rape thing all the time" https://t.co/hz6X7MXvDx
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 7, 2018
In Canada, state broadcaster CBC – in addition to other prominent Canadian broadcasters belonging to both Bell Media and Rogers Media – announced that they were yanking the classic Christmas tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from the airwaves. Their reasoning? The provocative lyrics suggested sexual assault and a lack of consent, touchstones of the burgeoning – and some would say, susceptible to mission creep – Me Too movement.
You know that a decision is a poor one when the same state broadcaster in question is practically forced, by overwhelming public will, to publish an opinion piece criticizing their own move. After thousands upon thousands of scornful comments flooded every orifice of CBC‘s social media presence, including on the article itself, the broadcaster published an article earlier today, December 7, by Jessica Goddard. Goddard wasted little time in decrying the decision to yank “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from the taxpayer-funded outlet, calling the move “puritanical and absurd,” in addition to pointing to the “death of nuance and frantic institutional overreaction” as reasons for ongoing concern.
The holiday TV classic "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" is seriously problematic. ???? pic.twitter.com/dOgqPF3bAP
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) November 29, 2018
Left-inclined media outlet Huffington Post just couldn’t contain themselves from channeling the Grinch this year, either. Per People, the progressive publisher took to Twitter on November 28 to decry the 1964 children’s animated classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as “seriously problematic.” While problematic — much like other terms of empty, academic jargon — may be the lead-in, Huffington Post staff would go on to spend time that would have been better spent wrapping gifts and sipping eggnog on excoriating the kid’s movie for containing some politically incorrect behavior.
Castigating Santa for his cruelty in “marginalizing the young reindeer, as well as the bullying behind his coach egging on the other reindeer to not let Rudolph play with them,” per People, Huffington Post’s media staff sought to subversively poison the well when it comes to enjoying a long-favored holiday classic — unsuccessfully, it would appear. Even the extremely left-leaning personalities populating daytime chatfest The View couldn’t get on board with the Huffington Post‘s negative portrayal of the film, in a rare move unanimously agreeing that the criticisms were off the mark.
Church makes commentary on immigration with nativity scene https://t.co/anzQ3twpuz
THOUGHTS? It shows the baby Jesus inside a cage and the three wise men separated from Mary and Joseph by a fence. pic.twitter.com/2gfL8jLZb4
— Local 12/WKRC-TV (@Local12) December 7, 2018
In a second instance of playing political games with staples of the holiday tradition, the Daily Mail recently recounted the story of a church in Massachusetts — St. Susanna’s — that decided to display their anti-Trump sentiments by placing baby Jesus in a cage. Attempting to “try to take a picture of the world as it is and put it together with a Christmas message,” and also placing the three wise men in the position of being blocked by a large fence with “deportation” written on it, the point couldn’t be more crystal clear. The usual sermonizing about unity and peace on Earth rings a little hollow when you use a literal church pulpit to promulgate partisan political messages, messages that seek to divide not only the larger audience subjected to the publicity stunt, but parishioners themselves.
According to Pew Research, 52 percent of self-described Catholics voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Trump, at the time, was already stumping on his stated position of a much stricter immigration policy — going so far as to demand that a great wall be built at the U.S.-Mexico border to deter illegal immigrants from unlawfully gaining entry. Couched in the lazy language so commonly found in the morally righteous, usually persons who consider that they — and they alone — are in possession of the full knowledge of the world and its ways, the sect of activists responsible for the display gave the following impetus for the politicized nativity scene.
“The idea for the display came from the Pax Christi group within the church, whose aim is ‘to educate the community on matters related to peace and justice issues including war, torture, the environmental degradation of our world.'”
The group would then go on to compare their own actions to those of Jesus Christ, ignorant to the hubris involved in such a comparison.
In one last instance — though examples are plentiful enough to span a series of op-eds in a similar vein — an associate professor at Minnesota State University recently took to Twitter to essentially label the Christian God as a rapist. Saying that “the virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario,” and finishing his troll with a smarmy “Happy Holidays,” it is clear that Eric Sprankle has no interest in promoting a considerate, measured dialogue.
The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays.
— Eric Sprankle, PsyD (@DrSprankle) December 3, 2018
As an atheist — or agnostic, depending on the day — this author can only wonder what would motivate Dr. Sprankle to post such a divisive missive. Outside of self-aggrandizement, there seems to be little gained from trolling persons of a particular faith during their holiest days. Coming from a community that professes tolerance and intellectual rigor, such a childish display reflects poorly on the speaker — and his argument. As the Washington Times details, Sprankle has a history of acting as a provocateur, sharing an image of what he termed to be “satanic holiday decor” over the weekend.
Satanic holiday decor shopping on Etsy is the reason for the season. pic.twitter.com/t4EPPIgKtN
— Eric Sprankle, PsyD (@DrSprankle) December 2, 2018
It’s best to leave all of this negativity behind, having examined and expunged it from our systems. Christmas, to reiterate, is a time of joy and of laughter — a time for friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood, and of charitable compromise. It is a time to break bread with beloved ones, and with erstwhile enemies. It is a time to whisper of the magic of Santa Claus to young ears, and to see their faces light up with excitement at the prospect of Christmas morning — while the adults await the traditional Christmas feast.
The cold may be bitter in December, but your soul does not have to be. This would be my message to those so blinded by their personal politics that they cannot lay them to rest in the spirit of the season.
So, leave me to my He-Man and She-Ra Christmas specials — my heavy metal Christmas albums, and my effusive “Merry Christmas.” And as the kids say, miss me with that stifling, subversive attempts to smother my favorite holiday.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!