Friend or Foe 2013

Liberty Counsel is back with their annual list of where you shouldn’t be shopping this year because some stores dare use the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” in their advertising.

Have fun reading the 11th annual “Naughty & Nice list.”

This year, you better not waste your time on Tractor Supply Company… where I know you’re all planning your holiday shopping:

Web site: “Christmas” Search yielded only two mentions of “Christmas.” Email Tractor Supply to remind the company consumer purchases are gifts for the “Christmas” Season, not secular holidays.

Only TWO mentions of Christmas?! How will Jesus know it’s his birthday if we only have TWO mentions?!

And they’re definitely not happy with EB Games:

Web site: “Christmas” is silent and neglected on home page as well as throughout the site. A “Christmas” search revealed only fourteen manufacturer-labeled “Christmas” products and four of those items associate the words nightmare and killing floor in their titles.


Also: How is Liberty Counsel able to complain about how Christmas is “silent and neglected” on the site while saying in the very next sentence that a search for “Christmas” leads to fourteen products?

(And what do they have against “The Nightmare Before Christmas”?)

So what retailers are on their Nice list?

You guessed it: Just go to Hobby Lobby. Or Cracker Barrel. Or David Barton’s WallBuilders. They’re all “Nice.”

So is Hallmark. Because they make Christmas cards.

Noticeably absent from the Nice list is Chick-fil-A. You may recall that last year, the Christian-owned company promoted the “holiday” season:

Yet, Liberty Counsel didn’t dare to put the company on its Naughty List. This year, they’re hoping we just don’t notice they’re ignoring it.

I said this last year, but I’ll say it again now:

Liberty Counsel really believes Christianity is under attack every time someone says, “Happy Holidays.” They don’t give a shit that there are non-Christian customers out there and they certainly don’t care that there are other holidays being celebrated this December other than Christmas. With them, you’re either Friend or Foe, Nice or Naughty, Christian or “Other.”

And this list just shows that Christians (at least these crazy fundamentalist types) are incapable of connecting outside their bubble. To them, everything is a theological argument. And not honoring their God is an affront to everything they stand for.

Just once, I’d love to see a business campaign to get on the Naughty list. I want to see them fight to be so inclusive and tolerant of everybody that Liberty Counsel blows a fuse because “tolerance” is a four-letter word to them. How sweet would that be?

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.

  • Markus

    So now I know where TO spend my holiday dollars this year. I always did enjoy being naughty..

  • WallofSleep

    TSC is the shit. You couldn’t get me to stop shopping there even if they were sacrificing babies to the blood god Yahweh out in the parking lot.

  • tubi11

    Yep. I just bought a new tire there for my snowblower. I may ask for another one as a secular holiday gift this year.

  • Art_Vandelay

    For once this year, I’d love to see a conservative Pagan group start a campaign against the War on Saturnalia.

  • WallofSleep

    Meh. We still observe all the rituals of Saturnalia, but now we say they’re for Jesus instead of Saturn. But Saturn knows better. Indeed He does. Every season He watches Christians revel in His rituals, and He just laughs, and laughs, and laughs…

  • SeekerLancer

    “Email Tractor Supply to remind the company consumer purchases are gifts for the “Christmas” Season, not secular holidays.”

    Wow, really? There’s nobody of any other faith or non-faith giving gifts for the holiday season for a reason that isn’t Jesus? No one? I’ve heard a lot of ridiculous and insensitive things said about the “War on Christmas” but this one takes it.

  • Nate Frein

    I wonder if they complain about how “commercialized” Christmas has become while they’re doing this list almost a month before Thanksgiving?

  • The Captain

    Oh good, it’s that time of year again where I have to put up with the overly sensitive, politicly correct, christian speech police, constantly cry because someone somewhere didn’t follow their PC bullshit and say the correct words to make them feel special as they check out.

  • C Peterson

    There are three stores on each side that I’ve purchased from in the last few years. Don’t plan on making any adjustments based on whether they use “Christmas” or not, although I did send an email to Tractor Supply (which we shop at frequently) thanking them for recognizing that not all their holiday season gift purchases are for people celebrating Christmas, and that we appreciate their inclusivity.

  • C Peterson

    What? You don’t have a “Jesus is my copilot” sticker on the back of your tractor?

  • C Peterson

    It’s Jupiter that’s the jovial one. Saturn is quite saturnine.

  • A3Kr0n

    Oh my! I thought diversity and acceptance of other’s beliefs was a constant drumbeat in today’s “progressive” Christian sects?

  • Rod Fleming

    I must admit, I call it Christmas and don’t give a hoot, even though I am an atheist. It’s just not that big a deal for me. I wouldn’t prefer one place over another on the grounds of terminology like that, either way. But this is Europe and the temperature is lower here.

    I like a good party as much as the next guy and as long as everybody understands it’s just culture and not actually real, I don’t much care. Hell in the last month I wished my Hindu friends ‘Happy Diwali’, my Muslim ones ‘Happy Eid’ and a bunch of Pagans ‘Happy Samhain’… I’m not supporting the fanatics who are trying to ruin some people’s businesses though, they should be challenged.

  • Art_Vandelay

    You mean he doesn’t have an insecure hissy-fit every time someone fails to properly kiss his ass? What kind of deity is that?

  • E.Gadd

    Okay, so ALL winter holiday promotions MUST be Christmas labeled or it’s super disrespectful to that holiday because otherwise it reeks of secularism, yet come October 31st church signs everywhere will be advertising Halloween celebrations as “Fall Festival” or “Trunk-or-Treat” which are every bit as secular and inclusive as “Happy Holidays”. Oh that Christian logic lol

  • WallofSleep

    Quite true, but even Saturn can get a chuckle out of misguided, “christian” rituals.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I agree with you completely but the problem is that they think political correctness is the issue as well except not saying “Merry Christmas” is the politically correct route. It’s funny considering that this country is like 78% Christian.

  • WallofSleep

    That’s just it. Christians are kissing his ass, they just don’t know it.

  • WilliamLongfellow

    I never understood this nonsense. Don’t Christians celebrate both Christmas and New Year’s Day? “Happy holidays” applies better to them than to ol’ atheistic me, for instance, who can only be said to have a “happy holiday” in the singular.

  • Sven2547

    Every year I hear from conservatives: Why are you liberals so easily offended by “Merry Christmas”?.

    I don’t see liberal organizations calling for boycotts on businesses that say “Merry Christmas”. Conservatives, on the other hand…

  • WallofSleep

    This is one of many instances where their “judeo” beard falls off. If they gave half the shit they claim to about that part of their “judeo-christian tradition” fallacy, they would be clamoring for companies to use an all-inclusive greeting out of respect for their Jewish bretheren.

  • KelpieLass

    Keep Thor in Thursday!!!


  • KelpieLass

    Does a store get extra points for Christmas menorahs?

  • Art_Vandelay

    I must admit, I call it Christmas and don’t give a hoot, even though I am an atheist. It’s just not that big a deal for me.

    I call Christmas, Christmas as well but for the record, I don’t think it’s a big deal for people that eschew “Merry Christmas” for “Happy Holidays” either. It’s simply a gesture of inclusiveness…not done from a position of offense or rebellion. It’s only a big deal for the dominionistic fundies that would like nothing more than for the bible to replace the constitution. These are scary people but thankfully only a really loud minority for the time being.

  • Lando

    I’d love to see an ‘adult toy emporium’ put out (yeah) a christmas-drenched (wow, what’s wrong with me) sales circular this year, and submit it to liberty counsel as a bid to get on the ‘nice list’

  • invivoMark

    You know, if these people didn’t throw such temper tantrums every year, I’d have no problem saying Merry Christmas.

    But their childishness brings out the antagonist in me. Instead, I will say “Merry 25th,” “Happy Saturnalia,” “Happy Newton’s Birthday,” “Happy Taiwanese Constitution Day,” “Merry Sol Invictus Day,” “Merry Almost-solstice,” “Merry Decemberween,” “Merry Brumalia,” or even just “Happy Christmas.” But never “Merry Christmas.”

  • WallofSleep

    “Yet, Liberty Counsel didn’t dare to put the company on its Naughty List.”

    You’re expecting a consistency of convictions from a source that’s yet to produce anything of the like? High hopes, I guess…

  • Fentwin

    I think I’ll buy myself a present this year from TSC, a manure spreader,
    and have “Spreading Christmas Cheer” boldly lettered in bright Christmasy reds and greens along its side.

  • DKeane123

    A search of the Liberty Counsel website comes up with 402 instances of the word Christmas, but only 1 for tantrum (associated with the AHA).

  • b s

    I have a “Jesus is my manure spreader” on the back of my tractor.

    Well I would if I had a tractor.

  • Timmah

    May his mighty hammer protect us from Dark Elvin Doctor Who on Friday.

  • L.Long

    Another example of when calling xtians stupid is giving them a compliment. A VERY short reading of history and or few googles is all it takes for xtians to find out that jesus WAS NOT born in December, the 25th was a pagan holiday centuries before xtians stole it, that for most of xtian history Xmas was a forbidden holiday.

    So yes Happy Holidays is WWWAAAYYYY more appropriate than Happy Xmas.

  • Kevin Sagui

    Bingo. Say “Merry Christmas.” Say “Happy Holidays.” I don’t care. Just don’t throw a fit because somebody doesn’t give a season’s greetings in your preferred way.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Wow, really? There’s nobody of any other faith or non-faith giving gifts for the holiday season for a reason that isn’t Jesus?

    I’ve heard Jewish people give eight times as many presents!

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Hobby Lobby did not carry Hannukah craft material – on purpose. They only recently reversed themselves when they got some bad publicity for it.

    “A store choosing not to carry Hanukkah items does not violate anyone’s rights,” the organization added.

    No, but that’s setting the bar very low.

  • C Peterson

    It doesn’t even go as far as boycotts. I don’t see any liberals, or liberal organizations who claim to be offended by “Merry Christmas”. I don’t know any atheists who are offended by “Merry Christmas”. The only thing I ever hear about is Christians who are offended by “Happy Holidays”.

    Personally, the word I use to describe anybody who finds “Happy Holidays” to be offensive is “asshole”.

  • SeekerLancer

    I think the vast majority of us don’t care when someone says, “Merry Christmas.”

    Which is what makes it even more absurd that these people get bent out of shape when someone says, “Happy Holidays.”

  • Gus

    I am disappointed. There’s not a single store I would buy anything from on the nice look. How am I supposed to flaunt my heathen ways this solstice if the heathen stores are all crap?

  • The Other Weirdo

    And I want it to beat all other sales expectations for the season.

  • Loic

    I have a Cthulhu Xmas sweater from Archie McPhee that I wear with pride!

  • Scott_In_OH

    And this has gotten much, much worse as the holiday/Christmas shopping season has expanded to consume December, November, and much of October. Almost one-third of the year is now supposedly “Christmas”? Please.

  • Thackerie

    And, they only have to go so far as their own bible to find out that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah (John 10:22-23). So, “Happy Holidays” it is.

  • Feminerd

    I call Christmas, Christmas of course. That’s the name of the holiday.

    But December has a lot of holidays in it. It has Hanukkah most of the time, and Kwanzaa, and some years it has Ramadan and/or Eid, and Winter Soltice, and Festivus, and Winter-een-mas, and New Years. So to wish someone ‘Merry Christmas’ seems a little … presumptuous, to me. I’m going to guess you didn’t wish everyone you knew ‘Happy Samhain’, just the ones you knew celebrated the holiday. Retail clerks have to greet everyone and stores have to serve everyone, so a generic greeting is going to work best.

  • Feminerd

    Well, to be fair, the progressive sects don’t care. Liberty Council is very much part of the fundigelical world.

  • Guest

    I see what you did there. :)

  • sam

    I really don’t think that Liberty Council is going far enough in their boycotts. I want to see all fundamentalist xians boycott ALL organizations, including banks, grocery stores, public utilities and schools who do not explicitly state and agree with a precise and detailed dogma of every soteriological, christological & eschatological position held by the Liberty Council. Something tells me these fundies will suddenly feel more ecumenical once their bellies start to growl.

  • Gary

    If it’s not on the actual day and someone says Merry Christmas to me, I don’t get offended. But it does make me think lesser of the person saying it because it is a clear sign that they lack sensitivity to others’ differences.

  • Lucinda_the_So-So

    Apologies if this has already been asked, but can someone post the “naughty” list? I need to know where to spend my hard-earned money, and I refuse to click through to the liberty counsel site. Thanks :)

  • Houndentenor

    For the win!!! Thank you. I’m stealing that.

  • Houndentenor

    What’s funny is that businesses are mostly wishing you a Merry Christmas or whatever to sell you crap you don’t need and probably can’t really afford to make money for themselves. It has nothing to do with religion or promoting or repressing anyone or anything. They paid some company to test market their advertising to appeal to the people most likely to spend money. I don’t know why the religionists don’t understand that they only reason stores celebrate Christmas is for profit.

  • Houndentenor

    I usually respond to Merry Christmas with “happy Chanukah” just to make a point. I live in an area that is not 100% Christian yet you never hear the Christians acknowledging that. But then they get bent out of shape if everyone doesn’t pander to everyone else. Minority religions are so much nicer about this sort of thing (at least in my experience). I even had people in the Temple where I sang wish me a Merry Christmas (as I was assumed to be Christian which I’m technically not any longer). How many Christians, even in NYC, wish their Jewish friends Good Yontiff at the Jewish New Year? it takes so little effort to acknowledge other people’s beliefs, but the Christians are for the most part the most entitled about expecting to be honored for their every whim and yet completely unwilling to return the favor to other beliefs or to those with no beliefs at all.

  • Houndentenor

    Exactly. Also, it’s not Christmas until Dec. 25. Wishing someone a Merry Christmas on the 12th (St Lucia day in much of Europe) makes no sense. It’s Advent then. But it’s Christmas until January 6th. It’s amazing how many Christians don’t know their own religion. But then those are the ones who raise the biggest stink about the “war on Xmas”. In my experience the most religious ones are busy working on projects for needy families.

  • Houndentenor

    Ergh. You know how this started? One year about a decade ago, Chanukah fell late. In some areas stores decided to wish Happy Holiday to appeal to all shoppers. It wasn’t about religion. It was about getting as much money from as many people as possible. Christian extremists and people exploit such people (like Bill O’Reilley) threw a hissy fit which hasn’t ended. Poor store employees were just trying to be nice to everyone and got branded as hating on Jesus. What a mess.

    Last year when I went home for Christmas (this happens pretty much every year) some of my low-information Fox News-watching relatives were bitching and moaning about how “they” were “banning” nativity scenes. (No one has banned anything. Everyone is free to decorate their own property however they want within the limits of zoning codes.) Then we drove past their church. Not a single decoration. Shouldn’t churches put up nativity scenes? No, they want the city to do it at taxpayer expense. That’s the mentality we are dealing with.

  • Mario Strada

    Happy fucking jesus holiday everyone.

  • Mario Strada

    You are forgetting the Epiphany as well. The “holiday that takes them all away”. I guess it’s a catholic thing. They are going to hell anyway.

  • Mario Strada

    I call it Christmas too. But if I have to wish seasons greetings to a stranger, I will say “Happy Holidays” for a couple of reasons:

    1) I don’t know if they are Christians
    2) There is more than one holiday

    On the 25th I will say “Merry Christmas” because that’s its name.

  • Mario Strada

    There goes my Christmas tractor…

    By the way, I am hardly unique in pointing out that “Happy Holy Days” has a religious component to it. Apparently not religious enough if Jesus is not in it.

  • Alicia Norman

    I say both–and I wonder what these idiots think of Traditional songs sung by the likes of BING CROSBY like HAPPY HOLIDAYS? The song was written and sung waaay before they made a big deal over this stupidity. They are trying to make an non issue an issue so they can play victim–makes me want to exclusively say Happy Holidays out of Spite.

  • sara

    I was people greeting at Walmart one year when a known Christian bully aggressively wished me Merry Christmas. I smiled my sweetest smile and answered, “Thank you. A Blessed Yule and a Joyous Saturnalia to you.” He complained to my boss, who really couldn’t have done anything about it even if he had wanted to.

    Oh my. I just realized that this year I am going to be the one they complain to.

  • busterggi

    “I’m going to guess you didn’t wish everyone you knew ‘Happy Samhain’”

    Not everybody, just the people I care about.

  • busterggi

    I only do Brumalia greetings for folks I know who are fellow Lovecraftians.

  • KelpieLass

    The real Reason for the Season: Axial Tilt – 23.5 degrees.

  • Feminerd

    Well, axial tilt and an elliptical orbit :)

  • Rain

    Also: How is Liberty Counsel able to complain about how Christmas is “silent and neglected” on the site while saying in the very next sentence that a search for “Christmas” leads to fourteen products?

    It’s an advertising gimmick. They want attention. They know they’re full of baloney. An ad campaign just in time for the holidays where the big money is lol.

  • KelpieLass

    So true

  • CassandraJK

    I find it utterly hilarious that JC Penney, the company that sparked so much faux outrage with their really adorable ads featuring same sex couples, is on the nice list.

  • Gringa123

    Did you see the description for Old Navy? Hilarious.

  • Matthew Baker

    Judging from the Naughty list most fans of the Liberty Counsel wouldn’t shop at most of those stores anyway. Matt Barber’s outfits alone should be proof he has never set foot in any of the Gap company’s stores.

  • Kari Lynn

    I don’t know why I find it hilarious that Bronner’s is on there. It’s a store that only sells Christmas stuff, of course they are going to have a shit-ton of references to Christmas.

  • Crash Override

    The hammer…is his penis.

  • katiehippie

    Nobody asked One MIllion Moms. They hate it.

  • katiehippie

    “Dick’s Sporting Goods” always makes me giggle.

  • katiehippie

    Color me shocked that a website called has references to Christmas. No way.

  • ShoeUnited

    Huh. All this touching “I don’t care if it’s Christmas” sentiment would probably shock the Christers.

    Personally? I worked in retail too long over too many holiday seasons. “Merry Christmas” is greeted with a hearty and well intended “Go fuck yourself.”

  • John Schwytzer

    This has to be the best one on the Nice list:

    CVS pharmacy – Web site: recent “Christmas” success story but site currently has only one mention of “Christmas” that is related to “Christmas Disease” (Hemophila). Liberty Counsel will check back after Thanksgiving to offer CVS another chance to remain on the “Nice” list.

  • allein

    This shit already? It’s barely November!
    Aw, my company is neither naughty nor nice :(
    Random observation: I like how they list all 4 Gap brands separately (all naughty, of course).
    And speaking as a former retail worker bee, mostly as a head cashier which meant I was ringing up customers all day long, I generally stuck with my usual generic “have a nice day/night (as appropriate)” all year round. Not that I ever had anyone complain about using the “wrong” holiday greeting, but unless someone wished me a Merry Christmas first, or was buying (or wearing) something obviously Christmas, I would just stick with my usual. Besides, saying “Merry Christmas” over and over and over all day long for weeks on end gets really old.

  • AxeGrrl

    This post is perfection.

    You’ve nailed it.

  • Aspieguy

    Are these morons even remotely serious? In Montgomery County, Indiana there are only four places to have prescriptions filled: CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and Kroger. Kroger isn’t a 24 hr pharmacy, so I don’t use it. It pays to be atheist and not bound by this nonsense. Also, on the list are the most of the department stores at the Tippecanoe Mall. Even the blatently christian Hobby Lobby made the list. Good grief!
    Seasons Greetings, all!

  • azportsider

    Xians will never accept inclusiveness. They’re Xians, by gawd, and you have to pander to their every want, or else you’re persecuting them, dontcha know? Xians live to feel persecuted, whether it’s real or not. If there’s no real persecution going on, they’ll just make some up.