The Least Offensive Holiday Display Ever… So I’m Sure the Christian Right Hates it

Seen outside the John Fluevog store in Portland, Oregon:

It’s so… inclusive!

Which means someone at Liberty Counsel is quickly adding the store to its Naughty List.

(Thanks to @jatterbu12 for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Silo Mowbray

    Now there needs to be someone standing in front of the window wearing a crucifix and holding a placard that says “PRIVILEGED RELIGIOUS OUTRAGE”.

    • Matt Eggler

      Correction: they should be wearing plain pendant reading “Religious Symbol”.

  • Canadian Atheist, eh!

    Well, now, let’s not be too disingenuous . . . doesn’t the “subtext” here come down to smugness? Isn’t this really saying “Hey, knee-jerk privileged religious apologists, we DARE you to complain about this?!” Not saying I don’t appreciate it in a way, but it’s not exactly benign. It’s a kind of baiting, which is not the behaviour of someone truly interested in taking the moral high ground.

    • TerranRich

      I don’t see it as baiting as all. It could just as easily be a protest of all the controversy created during this time of the year.

      • Blacksheep

        You realize that others may not see it that way, right?

        • TerranRich

          You realize that I was pointing out that you can’t infer the intentions of the businessowner based on your own subjective interpretations, right?

          • James Henline


    • WoodyTanaka

      Oh, for pete’s sakes.  I think the biggest problem in the atheist community is too damn many people giving a shit if the religious like us.

    • jdm8

      “Subtext” there can just as easily mean smaller text, like a subhead.

      I’m not really sure how much of a controversy there really is over
      Christmas. A few pundits on one cable news network doesn’t mean it’s a
      big deal to a lot of people.

  • Baal

    It’s a tease at a sore point.  Folks frequently get upset at that behavior in other contexts.  I usually think they are being too sensitive but  it’s still a mild trolling.

  • Blacksheep

    How is that least offensive? It’s just another form of smarmy. “Happy Holidays” is the least offensive. Obviously, they are trying to make a point.

    • TerranRich

      You do realize your observation is entirely subjective, right? Others might not see it that way at all.

      • Blacksheep

        Not sure what your point is – posts that are based on opinion are usually subjective.

        • TerranRich

          Obviously, they are trying to make a point.

          Doesn’t sound like an opinion to me. Sounds more like an attempt at an objective statement of fact. But what do I know…

          • Blacksheep

            Most posts here are written as objective statements of fact. “There is no God”, etc. I really mean it as opinion.

            • Glasofruix

               We said “there’s no proof of god” which is 100% true, you might want to get your facts straight before commenting. But, again, you’re not known for being an intellectually honest person…

              • Blacksheep

                Please don’t get started on Intellectual honesty! 

                In terms of getting facts straight, you can spend a few hours going through old articles, posts, etc., and you will most certainly see the comment, “…there are no gods…” written as statements of fact. Not sure who you mean by “we.”

    • WoodyTanaka

      What the hell is the fetish with not causing offense?  When it comes to this crap that the religious pull, them finding “offense” in the pushback should be the least of anyone’s worries.

      My approach: Don’t like “Happy Holidays”??? Beats “Fuck Off,” though, doesn’t it?

      • Blacksheep

        That’s not the point. Hemant titled this post:

        “The least offensive holiday display ever”

        I’m commenting on that. 

    • Coyotenose

       “Happy Holidays” is the trigger for people to have screamy fits, including an entire cable network, so that is clearly not true. The above signage does make a point; in fact, as this thread shows, it can be interpreted as several different and opposing points, which doesn’t in any way fit a description of smarminess.

      Unless one takes “witty” to mean “smarmy”. Anecdotally, that seems to be common among the religious…

      • Blacksheep

        No, wit is easy to spot. For one thing, it’s usually clever.

  • MaryD

    Of course you do realise that Holiday is derived from Holy Day don’t you.

    • Coyotenose

       You’re a nasty little murderous thug and bigot (see your Uganda comments), so it’s no shock that you’re too stupid to know how irrelevant that is.

    • Blacksheep

      And “Goodbye” is from “God be with ye.”

      • Glasofruix

         In many other languages it comes from “until later”.

        • Blacksheep

          How so? “GoodBye” is literally a mashed up version of Godbewithye… how does that work with “until later”?

          • Glasofruix


            Germany: aufwiedersehen = until we see each other later
            France: au revoir = until we see each other again
            Russia: до свидания = until our next encounter
            Belarus: да пабачэння = til’ we see each other again
            Poland: do zobaczenia = til’ we see each other again
            Czech Respublic: nashledanou = til’ we see each other again
            And that’s only for languages i actually speak (more or less), a lot of other sound alike and actually very few use a reference to god (and usually in a bad way, i don’t think a person in Poland would appreciate if you tell him “sbohem” which basically means adios, you’re dead to me)

    • Alessia Lane

       And Thursday is from Thor’s Day! And Wednesday is from Woden’s Day!  And the planets are named after gods too!


      • JRB

        Don’t forgot “zounds” (God’s wounds) and “gadzooks” (God’s hooks), favorite exclamations for ol’ timey prospectors.

        • Alessia Lane

           I literally just spewed tea all over my keyboard. 

          Consarnit! (derived from “Cods (think: fishes and loaves) are it!”)

      • Jacob Apple

        …and Christmas is from “Christ’s Mass”. Meaning there’s no difference to an atheist whether it says Holiday or Christmas.

        • Daniel

          I keep waiting for Catholics to run a “Keep the Mass in Christmas” campaign against Protestants.  

          Sadly, Catholicism never seems to be that cool.  

    • Baby_Raptor

      Yeah, but the point is it doesn’t specify which religion’s holy day. 

      Which is kinda what christianists get butthurt about…Not being the only holiday acknowledged. 

    • OregoniAn

       Yeah.. But it’s in urban Oregon. Nobody gives a fuck. =)

    • NotTHATguest

      I our house the week is Moon Day, Twi’s Day, Wodin’s Day, Thor’s Day, Freya’s Day, Saturn Day, and Sun Day. If you are not a pagan, then you must stop using those names for your week.

      • Deven Kale

         It’s funny that I’d heard of all these before, except for Tuesday. You got me interested in looking it up, and I discovered that your calendar has a typo! It’s not Twi’s Day, but Tiw’s day. I think you need to contact the manufacturer. :)

        Oh and we can’t use January (named after the god Janus), February (the pagan festival of Februa), March (Mars), April (Aphrodite), May (Maia), June (Juno), July (Julius Ceasar), or August (Augustus Ceasar) if we’re not pagan either.

        That just leaves us with 4 months that we can use. Come to think of it, that could actually make the seasons easier to figure out. Just start each month at the solstice/equinox and we’ve got it easy. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea, once we get the week renaming figured out. lol

        • NotTHATguest

          You are correct, My typo. Tiw, also know as Tyr, the Nordic god of battle. Aka: Mars, from which you also get the Spanish word for Tiw’s day: martes.

  • Adam Patrick

    I’ve always made jokes about doing this if I owned a store. I’m surprised someone actually did it.

  • Heartfout

    I’d like to see a holiday message from atheists asking people to support things like homeless shelters in this cold months…

    • Alessia Lane

       Many of us don’t need to, since we do good deeds year round instead of just during a specific month in which a strange angel baby commands you to.

    • WoodyTanaka

      While that’s sweet and all, I don’t think the “don’t be afraid of us… see??  We’re nice.” approach has much to say for it. 

    • Question Everything

      In a sense, I agree, but it’s so easy to flip – I’d also like to see holiday messages from religious folks asking people to support things like homeless shelters in the cold months, rather than focusing on getting nativity scenes up and such.

  • John L

    It’s a graphics business.  They are just suggesting to potential clients that they might want to put some message in their own windows, and using dry humor in the process.

    • John L

       OK.  I was wrong.

    • Suzie

       This is the first thing I thought when I saw it. Wow, a graphics business with a sense of humor. If I had any need of those services these people would be my first choice.

  • Mary

    Their website is kind of fun, too:

    “John and his longtime friend and ex – partner, Peter Fox, go back to biblical times. In those days, such scriptural characters as Methuselah lived to be, quite literally, thousands of years old. John, himself, is thousands of years old and Peter Fox is, in fact, Methuselah. Before they founded Fox & Fluevog, in the ancient biblical age of 1970, they were shepherds. Actually, they worked at Sheppard’s, a venerable Vancouver shoe emporium, albeit a tad on the conventional side. As you can imagine, John and Peter felt a wee bit constrained, selling brogues all day to businessmen in suits and servicing only the occasional hipster. When, one day, the miraculous happened, it was followed by the inevitable: an old warehouse full of turn – of – the – century footwear (men’s & women’s, in mint condition, no less) became available to buy at one ridiculously low price. In a nanosecond, John and Peter were out the door and into their own store, fully stocked with brand new fifty year old shoes that, in 1969, were right in style. Fox & Fluevog immediately became the very coolest place to treat the feet and has remained so ever since. Around 1980, Peter heard the siren song of New York City and moved there to open his own store, specializing in design of Ladies’ (particularly wedding) shoes. John took over the business and built it into the multinational mega corporation it is today, along the way forging his undaunted reputation for the world’s most distinctive shoes.”

    • rlrose63

      I just wish I weren’t limited to flats and other shoes conducive to plantar fasciitis or I’d be banging down their door.  I think I WILL order some socks and a keychain from them, just ‘cuz.

  • rlrose63

    Portland, OR, is such a cool town.  LOVE the farmer’s market in the spring and fall by the university buildings.  SO much cool cheeses, juices and organic produce.  And the tamales are SUPERB!   Here where I live southwest of Portland is easily the most religious place (evangelical mostly) I’ve ever lived but I just can’t live all packed in like sardines in the city.  Ugh.

    • Thin-ice

      Ah, sounds like you might live in Newberg, eh?

  • The Secular Human

    To be honest, I see it that the shop owner is pissed off with the atheists and this is their statement that the season means nothing. Am I wrong?

  • The Secular Human

    Dammit. I got duped by a sales gimmick.

  • The Secular Human

    I thought it was a protest by a Christian that the holiday means nothing because atheists are taking it away.

  • OregoniAn

    How  I love my little corner of this wonderful world! In Portland this doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. They don’t call us the “left coast” for nothing! No one would ever assume this was an angry Christian out here.  ~ I feel fortunate.

  • Thin-ice

    Wow, very cool! I work 4 blocks from that address, so tomorrow I’ll go by and express my encouragement.

  • GretaChristina

    It’s not just in Portland. The Fluevog store on Haight Street in San Francisco has an almost identical display. I’m assuming it’s a national campaign.

  • Emma

    Ah Portland. I love my city.