What is it about Christmastime that puts so many Christians on edge about the importance of their religion in American culture? Could the so-called War on Christmas be more of a blame-game for Christianity’s own failures than a war? Could Christians actually need the War on Christmas (and not just because the Bible told them they’d be persecuted)? How else could the paranoid position that there is an atheistic effort to stop all businesses from saying, “Merry Christmas,” and remove “Christ” from all things solstice come about?
Here is one woman who, weeks before children put on their Halloween costumes, recorded a trip to a store she plans to boycott (in following commands by the American Family Association) because it had too much “holiday” merchandise but nothing mentioning Jesus Christ:
After filing a complaint in 2010, the Freedom From Religion Foundation appeared to draw first blood by requesting that Ellwood City, PA cease to place a nativity scene in front of the municipal building or to add secular decorations around it along with a banner from FFRF. Currently, the city has added other legendary Christmas symbols, like reindeer, to the lawn but has refused to wave the FFRF banner. However, far from demanding that citizens remove all manger scenes or stop saying, “Merry Christmas,” they merely asked that citizens stop insisting that the government cater to their personal religious rituals.
One resident of Ellwood had this to say:
Do Christians fear that people are truly “forgetting” what Christmas is about? Along with Kasarah, many Christians have complained that Christmas has become “too commercialized” here in America. Last week, a host on American Family Radio even laid into churches that decided to have no Christmas Day service because “so few people would show up.”
But why is this “forgetting” or “ignoring” happening to an important religious holiday like Christmas in a country where over 75% of the population claims to be of the Christian faith? Why and how, in such a nation, does this supposed War on Christmas actually persist? Are the irreligious with their small minority truly making a concerted effort to steal baby Jesuses, bully corporate retailers, and force Christians to stop celebrating Christmas? Is the Separation of Church and State complicit in snuffing out “the reason for the season” for Christians?
In reality, studies show that Christian churches are having a terrible problem at maintaining memberships (a steady 42% in recent years), and, even in highly religious areas, there is often more emphasis on Santa than Baby Jesus. I recently heard a woman in a shop say, “I’ll be going to church for my one time a year,” referring to the Christmas service. My Christian school once to make fun of such people, but, if memory serves, we once referred to them as the Twice-A-Yearers (Christmas and Easter, as Easter is the more important of the Christian holidays). Christmas sermons were a time for preachers to attempt–through hellfire preaching, guilt, or incentives–to retain the people who rarely graced the pews.
So whose fault is it that some Christian preachers choose not to have Christmas Day services because they do not believe enough worshipers will bother? Whose fault is it, in a country where over 75% of the people are professed Christians, that the holiday of Christmas has become too commercialized, that corporate stores ruin Thanksgiving night sleeps to open doors early for holiday shoppers, that people would rather eat and open presents than go to church, or that Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman and penguins (wtf?) adorn more lawns than the manger scene?
Another CHRISTmas Warrior pointed out that atheists and agnostics were entirely to blame for “bullying” shops into political correctness:
Yes, with no one left to blame, it seems that Christians believe that some outside, Satanic, atheistic force is removing Christ from CHRISTmas in an attempt to take away their religious freedoms. How else could Christmas be so secularized?
The truth is that Christians NEED the War on Christmas–not just because the Bible told them they’d be persecuted but because they need for their religious to maintain cultural and legislative significance. They need it to polarize people back to the pulpit, to, even if no one else in a city chose to do so, have one manger scene lighting up the lawn of their government building. They need the government to continue to endorse CHRISTmas rather than to relinquish December 24 and 25 to general American Culture, and they need Christian holidays to be given special privileges by the government. They NEED to pretend that saying, “Happy Holidays” is offensive to CHRISTmas because they NEED to find some way to bully stores into not just recognizing and promoting CHRIST to all of their shoppers, but to celebrate CHRISTmas as a holiday they exclusively mention in the store and in advertisements (because no stores have ever been bullied or boycotted into recognizing Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or Newtonmas).
Without such a War on CHRISTmas, the holiday would continue to be about getting together with family, helping the needy, and spreading love.
The next time you see someone adorned with a pin that says, “Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays,” or seems offended that someone has told them, “Happy Holidays,” remember that this person really just needs a hug. Such people are in denial about the religious shift of our nation. It is another form of their extinction burst.