Wal-Mart is getting rid of the hard-to-argue-with “Happy Holidays” greeting and instead going with the Jews-never-shop-here “Merry Christmas.” This move was most likely made to avoid a repeat of last year’s protests from Christian conservatives, who felt that “Happy Holidays” was an affront to their religion.

Because when I hear that phrase, I know that it’s really code for “We don’t care about Jesus.”

*sigh*… Actually, this change really doesn’t bother me. I tend to walk right by the greeters anyway, and I doubt most of them have any clue that there’s any controversy at all. It’s just another example of a small number of Christians thinking that anything that doesn’t mention Jesus is an attack on their faith.

What does bother me, though, is this article. It says that the American Family Association is asking members to boycott Wal-Mart on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and the days after. Other conservative groups made similar pleas to their constituents. Why? Because if you go to the website of the Washington D.C. Center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People, click on a link to Wal-Mart, and make a purchase, then 5% of the purchase price is donated to the organization.

According to the article,

Donald Wildmon, chairman of the Mississippi-based American Family Association, said Friday that his group has sent e-mails to 3 million supporters urging a boycott because the deal suggests Wal-Mart executives believe “the homosexual agenda is worthy of their support.”

Actually, the “donation” is part of an affiliate program. Walmart probably doesn’t even know about it, much less “support” the group. Affiliate programs work the following way. See the picture of my book in the upper right hand corner of this web page? If you click on it, it will take you to Amazon. If you pre-order my book (which, by the way, makes a *lovely* Christmas gift for everyone you know) or purchase anything else on the Amazon site during your visit, a portion of your purchase goes to me. (Which then goes to pay back my student loans… three cents at a time.)

This doesn’t mean Amazon is “supporting” atheists. In fact, I’m sure I barely register in their records.

So, while I’d be mad if Wal-Mart was being boycotted for supporting GLBT-friendly groups, I’m not sure they’re even doing that. They’re just trying to make money.

How much money has been “donated” to the gay-friendly, DC-based group?

Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said that since the link was established with the group in 2002, it has attracted one purchase at Wal-Mart, worth $41.73. That purchase generated a payment of $4.17, apparently because Wal-Mart was offering a 10 percent commission at the time, he said.

So all this fuss is over a total of $4.17.

There are so many good reasons to boycott Wal-Mart.

This is not one of them.

I find it hard to believe that many other Christian organizations agree with this action. Why aren’t they speaking up? Where are the press releases denouncing the AFA’s ignorance? It’d be nice to know that non-Christians aren’t the only ones who see this boycott as just plain idiotic.

I doubt it’ll even matter. It’s not like Wal-Mart stores are going to be empty on the post-Thanksgiving days. If the boycott worked at all, it’d probably be better for business– you wouldn’t have to wait in the checkout line as long and there would be less of a frenzy to get to the popular products.

For what it’s worth, if I get up early on Black Friday, I’ll be buying presents, too. Not because I celebrate Christmas in a Christian sense, but because it’s nice to have one day a year when everyone is giving and receiving gifts. Call it whatever you’d like. And I’m not going to stop because a greeter says “Merry Christmas” or because I disagree with the politics of one of the 43,000 organizations that is a Wal-Mart affiliate.

These conservative groups need to take a break.

[tags]Wal-Mart, Walmart, American Family Association, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, atheist, Christian, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Washington D.C., GLBT, Jesus, Donald Wildmon, David Tovar[/tags]

  • Siamang

    Every salesperson who gives me a “Merry Christmas!” I’m going to respond with a hearty “Happy Hannukah!”

  • Prokop

    I never quit understood the “Merry Christmas” statement as it is used in stores, as it only feels applicable to the days immediately preceding December 25th.

    “Happy Holidays”, on the other hand, is good for TDay through the New Year.

  • http://nes-ramblings.blogspot.com/ Nes

    Just call it what I call it: Gift Day.

  • Logos
  • QrazyQat

    If it’s not on Dec 25, inform any “Merry Christmas” wishers that you are a Christian who is insulted that they don’t even know what day Christmas is on.

    It’s likely that no mainstream Christian groups will take issue with the AFA, just as they usually decline to do so… they will then be surprised that people assume they believe as the AFA does. This is how one gets a defacto spokesperson — if you’re a Christian and don’t jump up and disavow these nuts when they say they’re speaking for you, is it a surprise that people assume they are speaking for you?

  • DMG


    $14.99 and there is all kinds of bible characters. collect them all! Too bad no God one.

  • txatheist

    I did what Siamang did a couple years ago with Happy Hannukah as a retort but now I say Merry Festivus.

  • http://secularhumanism.blogspot.com JDHURF

    I actually work at a Walmart, to support myself while I go to college, and there was discussion in the break room over these shenanigans. I refuse to say “Merry Christmas,” if someone says this to me first I will respond likewise, out of politeness, but there is no way in the world I am going out of my way to say such nonsense. The walmart I work at is a block away from the local JCC and there are also many Muslisms and Hindus who come in, two Hindus work here, and it would be the height of oddity to with them a merry christmas. The oddity of doing so was best formulated by Sam Seder when he claimed that telling a non-Christian “Merry Christmans” is like, on ones own birthday, telling everyone else “happy birthday,” it’s not so much that it’s disrespectful and biased, but, that it’s so bizarre and irrational.