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Re: [DMCForum] Mistletoe belt buckles, naked chicks and hummers...



I did not start, YOU DID.. and now you want to
continue? 

So, tell me "Don't Start", then state YOUR POSITION on
the matter as FACT.  Don't worry, you will get the
last word again, I am sure.

It is sad that you, and many other Americans believe
that "Christmas is a national holiday". 


This Season's War Cry: Commercialize Christmas, or
Else
By ADAM COHEN

Published: December 4, 2005


Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday
season: the
commercialization of Christmas. They're for it.

The American Family Association is leading a boycott
of Target for not
using
the words "Merry Christmas" in its advertising.
(Target denies it has
an
anti-Merry-Christmas policy.) The Catholic League
boycotted Wal-Mart in
part
over the way its Web site treated searches for
"Christmas." Bill
O'Reilly,
the Fox anchor who last year started a "Christmas
Under Siege"
campaign, has
a chart on his Web site of stores that use the phrase
"Happy Holidays,"
along with a poll that asks, "Will you shop at stores
that do not say
'Merry
Christmas'?"

This campaign - which is being hyped on Fox and
conservative talk radio
- is
an odd one. Christmas remains ubiquitous, and with its
celebrators in
control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme
Court and every state
supreme court and legislature, it hardly lacks for
powerful supporters.
There is also something perverse, when Christians are
being jailed for
discussing the Bible in Saudi Arabia and slaughtered
in Sudan, about
spending so much energy on stores that sell "holiday
trees."

What is less obvious, though, is that Christmas's
self-proclaimed
defenders
are rewriting the holiday's history. They claim that
the "traditional"
American Christmas is under attack by what John
Gibson, another Fox
anchor,
calls "professional atheists" and "Christian haters."
But America has a
complicated history with Christmas, going back to the
Puritans, who
despised
it. What the boycotters are doing is not defending
America's Christmas
traditions, but creating a new version of the holiday
that fits a
political
agenda.

The Puritans considered Christmas un-Christian, and
hoped to keep it
out of
America. They could not find Dec. 25 in the Bible,
their sole source of
religious guidance, and insisted that the date derived
from Saturnalia,
the
Roman heathens' wintertime celebration. On their first
Dec. 25 in the
New
World, in 1620, the Puritans worked on building
projects and
ostentatiously
ignored the holiday. From 1659 to 1681 Massachusetts
went further,
making
celebrating Christmas "by forbearing of labor,
feasting or in any other
way"
a crime.

The concern that Christmas distracted from religious
piety continued
even
after Puritanism waned. In 1827, an Episcopal bishop
lamented that the
Devil
had stolen Christmas "and converted it into a day of
worldly festivity,
shooting and swearing." Throughout the 1800's, many
religious leaders
were
still trying to hold the line. As late as 1855, New
York newspapers
reported
that Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches were
closed on Dec.
25
because "they do not accept the day as a Holy One." On
the eve of the
Civil
War, Christmas was recognized in just 18 states.

Christmas gained popularity when it was transformed
into a domestic
celebration, after the publication of Clement Clarke
Moore's "Visit
from St.
Nicholas" and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly drawings,
which created the
image of a white-bearded Santa who gave gifts to
children. The new
emphasis
lessened religious leaders' worries that the holiday
would be given
over to
drinking and swearing, but it introduced another
concern:
commercialism. By
the 1920's, the retail industry had adopted Christmas
as its own,
sponsoring
annual ceremonies to kick off the "Christmas shopping
season."

Religious leaders objected strongly. The Christmas
that emerged had an
inherent tension: merchants tried to make it about
buying, while
clergymen
tried to keep commerce out. A 1931 Times roundup of
Christmas sermons
reported a common theme: "the suggestion that
Christmas could not
survive if
Christ were thrust into the background by
materialism." A 1953
Methodist
sermon broadcast on NBC - typical of countless such
sermons - lamented
that
Christmas had become a "profit-seeking period." This
ethic found
popular
_expression_ in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In the 1965
TV special,
Charlie
Brown ignores Lucy's advice to "get the biggest
aluminum tree you can
find"
and her assertion that Christmas is "a big commercial
racket," and
finds a
more spiritual way to observe the day.

This year's Christmas "defenders" are not just
tolerating
commercialization
- they're insisting on it. They are also rewriting
Christmas history on
another key point: non-Christians' objection to having
the holiday
forced on
them.

The campaign's leaders insist this is a new
phenomenon - a "liberal
plot,"
in Mr. Gibson's words. But as early as 1906, the
Committee on
Elementary
Schools in New York City urged that Christmas hymns be
banned from the
classroom, after a boycott by more than 20,000 Jewish
students. In
1946, the
Rabbinical Assembly of America declared that calling
on Jewish children
to
sing Christmas carols was "an infringement on their
rights as
Americans."

Other non-Christians have long expressed similar
concerns. For
decades,
companies have replaced "Christmas parties" with
"holiday parties,"
schools
have adopted "winter breaks" instead of "Christmas
breaks," and TV
stations
and stores have used phrases like "Happy Holidays" and
"Season's
Greetings"
out of respect for the nation's religious diversity.

The Christmas that Mr. O'Reilly and his allies are
promoting - one
closely
aligned with retailers, with a smack-down attitude
toward nonobservers
-
fits with their campaign to make America more like a
theocracy, with
Christian displays on public property and Christian
prayer in public
schools.

It does not, however, appear to be catching on with
the public. That
may be
because most Americans do not recognize this
commercialized,
mean-spirited
Christmas as their own. Of course, it's not even clear
the campaign's
leaders really believe in it. Just a few days ago, Fox
News's online
store
was promoting its "Holiday Collection" for shoppers.
Among the items
offered
to put under a "holiday tree" was "The O'Reilly Factor
Holiday
Ornament."
After bloggers pointed this out, Fox changed the
"holidays" to
"Christmases."




--- Ryan Wright <ryanpwright@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Don't start, Marc. That was not a religious
> conversation.
>
> Christmas is a national holiday. Wishing somebody a
> Merry Christmas is
> no different than wishing a Happy Thanksgiving,
> Happy New Year, etc.
> It's a polite gesture that says, "Enjoy the upcoming
> holiday." Whether
> that person celebrates it doesn't matter, December
> 25th is Christmas
> and I hope everyone, religious or not, has a
> wonderful time.
>
> --
> - Ryan
> http://www.memfrag.com - Store your bookmarks. On
> every computer.
>



           
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