A new book by Gerry Bowler entitled Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday points out that the “Christmas wars”–the conflict between secular and religious observances of Christmas–have been going on throughout the history of Christianity. The Bishop of Amasea complained in 400 A.D. about how Christmas presents make children greedy. St. Augustine complained about the commercialization of Christmas. And Christians have long complained about the conflict between the drunken revelry once Theassociated with the day and its true meaning.
Meanwhile opponents of Christianity have tried to either suppress or co-opt the birthday of Christ. At one point in the Soviet Union, children had to be told that their presents came not from St. Nicholas but from Stalin. And Nazi Germany sang a revised version of “Silent Night” that replaced Jesus with Hitler.
After the jump, an excerpt from a review of the book.