Jim Wallis, Fox News, and Christmas

From SoJo, and I agree with Jim Wallis that Fox News’ “defense” of Christmas goes not much deeper than the protection of businesses to use traditional Christian Christmas greetings. Christmas celebrates the humiliation of God in becoming one of us, “who became poor for us so that we might become rich in him,” and our entrance into that gospeling act of Jesus for us.

Last year, Americans spent $450 billion on Christmas. Clean water for the whole world, including every poor person on the planet, would cost about $20 billion. Let’s just call that what it is: A material blasphemy of the Christmas season.

The culture war over Christmas is a battle we ought to ignore and instead wage the war of God’s love, peace, reconciliation, and justice in this world. We do that by announcing the gospel and summoning others to embrace that gospel.

Jim Wallis:

“Each Advent in recent years, around the time when those prefab, do-it-yourself gingerbread house kits appear on supermarket shelves, Fox News launches its (allegedly) defensive campaign commonly known as the “War on Christmas.” Fox News’ “war” is designed to criticize the “secularization” of our culture wrought by atheists, agnostics, liberals, leftists, progressives, and separation of church and state zealots— i.e. Democrats. This irreligious coalition force is allegedly waging a strategic offensive on Christmas, trying to banish the sacred symbols of the season, denying our religious heritage, and even undermining the spiritual rubrics upon which our great nation is built.

Fox News’ usual targets include shopping malls and stores that replace their “Merry Christmas” greetings with “Happy Holidays,” and state governments that no longer call their official “Christmas” trees by their rightful name, or municipalities that ban any depictions of, or references to, the Christmas season in public places. Those who are attacked defend themselves, often claim that they are really religious too, and the perennial war is on.

But what we actually have here is a theological problem, where cultural and commercial symbols are confused with truly Christian ones, and the meaning of the holy season is missed all together.

The war on Christmas is really about what brand of “civil religion” America should have. The particular (read: biblical) meaning of Christmas, for Christians, has almost nothing to do with the media war….

What is Christmas? It is the celebration of the Incarnation, God’s becoming flesh — human — and entering into history in the form of a vulnerable baby born to a poor, teenage mother in a dirty animal stall. Simply amazing. That Mary was homeless at the time,a member of a people oppressed by the imperial power of an occupied country whose local political leader, Herod, was so threatened by the baby’s birth that he killed countless children in a vain attempt to destroy the Christ child, all adds compelling historical and political context to the Advent season.

The theological claim that sets Christianity apart from any other faith tradition is the Incarnation. God has come into the world to save us. God became like us to bring us back to God and show us what it means to be truly human.

That is the meaning of the Incarnation. That is the reason for the season.

In Jesus Christ, God hits the streets.

It is theologically and spiritually significant that the Incarnation came to our poorest streets. That Jesus was born poor, later announces his mission at Nazareth as “bringing good news to the poor,” and finally tells us that how we treat “the least of these” is his measure of how we treat him and how he will judge us as the Son of God, radically defines the social context and meaning of the Incarnation of God in Christ. And it clearly reveals the real meaning of Christmas….

The Fox News Christmas heralds the steady promotion of consumerism, the defense of wealth and power, the adulation of money and markets, and the regular belittling or attacking of efforts to overcome poverty.

The real Christmas offers the joyful promise of peace and the hope of reconciliation with God and between humankind.

The Fox News Christmas proffers the constant drumbeat of war, the reliance on military solutions to every conflict, the demonizing of our enemies, and the gospel of American dominance.

The real Christmas lifts up the Virgin Mary’s song of praise for her baby boy: “He has brought the mighty down from their thrones, and lifted the lowly, he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich empty away.”

The Fox News Christmas would label Mary’s Magnificat as “class warfare.”

So if there is a war on Christmas it’s the one being waged by Fox News.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • phil_style

    The perverse thing about “Christmas” (aka, the modern cultural phenomena) is that it was all but non-existent here in Europe 150 years ago – save for a few hours spent by the faithful in church. There are parliamentary documents from that period detailing all manner of meetings that used to occur on Christmas day. Trading on Christmas day was common-place. Santa did not exist – not even in art. Christmas cards had not been invented.

    The modern event has had little to do with christian festival since its inception, sometime later in the 1800s. The real war on Christmas is being carried out by the likes of Fox., who wish to eek out every marketing penny they can from turning it into an “event”.

  • Robert Martin

    I agree that the whole “War on Christmas” schtick is rediculous…it panders back to the idea of Christendom.

    I disagree with Wallis approach though…it sounds politically snide and, in our highly polarized culture, beneath the level of believers to engage in the same kind of posturing and posing about which media outlet is the most “Christian”…especially since what Fox News puts on screen in this case is probably not of their doing but rooted within the minds of other believers stuck in a Christendom mindset…

    Rather than pandering to the readers who cheer every attack on Fox (and therefore gain more money for Sojo and others), how about we instead drop the political attacks and simply preach the truth?

  • AHH

    I’ve said for years that the rampant materialistic consumerism going on inside the stores is a much bigger affront to the Christian faith than whatever greetings the store clerks might or might not use.

    The folks who do the Advent Conspiracy are taking a better direction … fighting (constructively) a truly just war rather than the politically manufactured one …

  • Robert Martin

    Agreed, AHH. I think that is a much better use of resource than continuing the already highly emotional debates about media bias.

  • Scot McKnight

    Robert, do you think there is a time to speak out when millions tune in?

  • Richard

    @ 2

    What elements of Wallis’ piece would you revise or edit out to make it less “pandering to [liberals]“?

  • http://www.redeemchristianity.org Redeem Christianity

    So true! Fox News has most things so backwards its not even funny, we need to all just stop watching them!

  • phil_style

    Robert, whilst your intentions to be “above the fray” are noble, I cannot agree with your stance. The mainstream media are the single most powerful opinion and culture in the world. Left un-criticised, they will (and do) get up to all sorts of shenanigans: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/dec/19/leveson-inquiry-stuart-hoare-live?CMP=NECNETTXT8187&google_editors_picks=true

  • DLS

    Jim Wallis has never written any piece that isn’t dripping with overwrought political condescension. He does far more harm for his cause than good.

  • phil_style

    My last comment should have read: “The mainstream media are the single most powerful opinion and culture shaping organisations in the world”

  • http://facebook.com/moonjp James Moon

    “The Fox News Christmas proffers the constant drumbeat of war, the reliance on military solutions to every conflict, the demonizing of our enemies, and the gospel of American dominance.”

    Though it is true, but Republicans, Democrats.. are all the same.

    Take a look at Obama’s most recent NDAA 2012 permitting the indefinite authorization of Americans without due progress. This comes with him assassinating an American citizen and his 16 year old son without first giving a trial.
    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/three_myths_about_the_detention_bill/singleton/
    -Glenn Greenwald, a former Constitutional and civil rights lawyer

    Jim Wallis plays this partisan game to the tee, though he is correct in his assessment, he has to admit that Democrats have contributed to what he said just as much. It’s easy to attack Fox but it’s time to look for registered Democrats as much as Republicans need to look at the log in their own eye. For eg., Obama’s military spending each year has been 200 billion dollars more than Bush’s average spending.

    Here’s 30 U.S. open secrets that may shock you: http://jamesmoon.tumblr.com/post/13767358244/30-u-s-open-secrets-that-may-shock-you

  • Rick

    I am certainly not a defender of Fox (other than “The Five” show, I prefer CNN), but this seems like he is just trying to find a reason to attack Fox.

    And honestly, although it has many faults, I don’t think Fox (or those who bring up this issue on that channel) would disagree with Wallis on the real meaning of Christmas.

    I agree with Robert #2 on this one.

  • http://profanefaith.com Jon Wymer

    Here’s an excellent piece that is a little less political, but I think still gets at the heart of the issue.

    http://hypotyposis.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/the-grinchy-pagans-who-stole-christmas/

  • Robert Martin

    Scot, I do agree there is a time to speak out, and I honor those who do…but there is already in essense a media war on between Sojo, Media Matters, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. Wallis engaging the problem through an attack on Fox reduces him to this level rather than speaking the truth about a)living out Christmas in an increasingly pluralistic culture and b)providing examples and teaching about alternatives to the materialistic consumerism of the season

    Perhaps this answers Richard’s question as well. I’ve read numerous articles and blogs out there that speak against this concept of “The War on Christmas” without reducing it to an attack on a media outlet.

    As to Phil’s statement, I would agree with that commentary against media if it were equally applied. Left biased media is just as guilty of using their megaphone for particular political stances as Fox is for the right and yet it seems, at least to me, that it is perfectly understandable to criticize media from the right, but somehow not to criticize media from the left.

    Kingdom principles are neither politically right nor politically left but politically other and so Wallis, while his intentions are well, I feel has done a diservice to the message of Christmas being something other by joining his voice into the political noise of the season. In another day at another time, perhaps this would be appropriate. But I feel our society has way too much emotion wrapped up in these partisan struggles for Wallis article to be read with any other lens than that of a political ploy.

  • Bill Trip

    The “Jesus Creed” has turned into the “Huffington Post” of Christianity. Not good!

  • Jerry

    Should we speak out, yes–but it needs to start with the churches.
    Frankly, Fox is merely “stirring the pot” for ratings and attention.

    Some decisions that are made are just silly. As someone who ministers in a pluralistic religious setting, most people don’t care that the tree is called a “Christmas” tree. We need more respect and less posturing. When I know someone is pagan, I greet them with a hearty “Glad Yule” on their holiday. When someone is Jewish it is Happy Hannukah. They respect me for respecting them and it often opens doors to sharing the gospel. I’m not offended by Happy Holidays, either. We all need to get over our pride and defensiveness.

  • http://profanefaith.com Jon Wymer

    I feel like the question at the heart of most of this is “Who owns Christmas?” Then Christians attempt to assert ownership of Christmas by taking on power with power. It is such a poor method of promoting our particular way of being in the world. I do struggle with whether you take on Fox on their own terms, as I sometimes believe Wallis does. Do you fight power with power? Is there a more creative/subversive way to undermine power?

  • Richard

    Lots of criticism of Jim’s points but no concrete alternatives offered… good show.

  • http://profanefaith.com Jon Wymer

    I’m trying to get at that, Richard.

    I don’t know a concrete solution. Right now I’m glad Wallis is taking Fox on, but I feel he is doing exactly what these Christians who try to own Christmas are doing (taking on empire on empire’s terms/ground).

    It seems there must be a more creative or subversive way for Christians to reframe the whole issue. I’m not sure what that looks like exactly, but I have a feeling it would look a lot more like Jesus.

  • Robert Martin

    Richard, I do believe I gave a general outline of the alternative…instead of couching it as an attack on an entity, phrase it as a critique of the root problems, those being American Christians obsession with hanging on to the threads of Christendom and the general cultural problem of the commercialization of Christmas within even the “church culture”. Occupy Advent twitter stream, Advent Conspiracy are just two such movements that are doing so.

    Again, not arguing against Wallis’ point…but critiquing the methodology that essentially makes his point fall flat as just another political commentary.

  • Robin

    I don’t take Christians who are overly political seriously as Christians. So when Richard Land decides to write or say something that is obviously political/cultural propoganda, I just remind myself that he is earning a paycheck first and living as a Christian second. Wallis fits that mode as well. He might believe the things he is saying, but his first allegiance, at least in these past years, has always been to partisan concerns. He is primarily a partisan and secondarily a Christian.

    I think you can make the same points without the partisanship if you want to, our church has also been participating in Advent Conspiracy, the thing with Wallis though is that the partisanship is the point, he is just using the “Meaning of Christmas” narrative as his launchpad.

  • Richard

    @ 19

    I appreciate the sincere attempt. I’m not sure this isn’t an example of reframing it. Its not subversive only because its explicit though. That’s why I’m asking others to demonstrate what they would change about what Wallis has said. What in here, specifically, doesn’t reflect orthodox teaching or practice? What in here, specifically, is politically-laden?

    Those are the pieces I can’t see that those on Jesus Creed of a more conservative-leaning seem to be keying in on. Is it because he named “Fox” in this “war on Christmas” discussion? I don’t recall hearing about a “war on Christmas” from MSNBC, CNN, MotherJones, MediaMatters, Real News Network, NPR, or even local news affiliates (which in my neck of the woods are conservative).

  • DLS

    Excellent post, Robin @21.

  • Richard

    @ 14,20

    I appreciate the emphasis on actions over debate but I still wonder about the illegitimacy of calling out media outlets over faux journalism. I’m not sure it invalidates Jim’s being in line with Kingdom Principles, after all, the prophets (and Jesus) had a keen way of speaking truth to power.

  • Richard

    @ 21

    A fair response and good warning for all of us that participate in the political arena as Christians. But what exactly is partisan in this piece? I thought Fox News was a media outlet, not a political party? I would understand us reading it as partisan if he were attacking the GOP on these counts but Fox is fair and balanced so an attack on them can’t be partisan because they’re not beholden to any one political party, are they? He makes no policy recommendations. He calls us to a deep concern about the effect of sin in the world and some examples of what his family does to honor Christ instead of consumerism.

  • Robert Martin

    @22 I think the politically laden connotation is not in this one article by Wallis nor found in any other media source’s “war on Christmas” coverage (of which you correctly pointed out there is none), but more the context of a larger conversation. Fox News is the political boogeyman for the left much like HuffPo is the same for the right. So, when someone from the left starts beating the “Fox News is evil” drum, it automatically engages in that continuing antagonism, much like when Fox starts banging on MSNBC or HuffPo. It’s politically charged from the headline without needing to engage the content.

    So, as mentioned, I agree with Wallis’ critique of conservatives moaning and bemoaning the “loss” of the holiday. Very orthodox in it’s views and quite well gospel centered. But couched in the context of “yet another Sojo article attacking Fox”, it becomes politicized before it even gets out of the gate.

    As an example of, perhaps, the tenor of what might have been a better approach, Jon wymer already posted an excellent blog article that critiques the same problem with a stance that removes partisan politics from the picture almost entirely. And, as Robin points out, rather than continuing such antagonistic tactics, perhaps Wallis could have done better by giving those same examples of Advent Consipracy as the alternative.

  • DLS

    Am I to assume from Richard’s posts above that a piece by David Barton attacking the NY Times editorial page would not be seen by him as political and would instead be solely judged on its merits?

  • Daniel S

    From my perspective, the so-called “Christmas wars” are more cultural than religious. It would be helpful if those who speak for the Church would be more mindful of the distinction. European culture has been heavily shaped by Christianity, of course, but Christianity is definitely not the same thing as European culture. Things like Christmas trees, gift exchanges, and family dinners don’t really have much to do with the Nativity of Jesus Christ–although in my opinion they are fine family traditions.

    The conflict comes from Western European traditions and occasions being rendered blandly generic in the public square in an attempt to make them more inclusive; meanwhile festivities from other cultures and religions receive more specific recognition. In my city, for example, there is a “Holiday tree” in a public plaza, but in the same plaza they are lighting a Menorah tomorrow. I’m not offended by this, I just find the hyper-sensitivity about saying “Christmas” ridiculous.

    In a multi-cultural society where Nowruz and CNY can be celebrated publicly, it doesn’t make any sense to me for Christmas to be the holiday that dare not speak its name. But I’m not going to make a religious issue of it.

  • Fish

    Fox IS a division of a political party, not a media outlet. I would rather put my eyes out than watch it, for I would be morally healthier blind than brainwashed.

    Ginning up an un-Christian uproar over cashiers who wish you Happy Holidays rather than the politically correct Merry Christmas is just a tiny example.

    Big-spending shoppers taking part in our annual mammon worship/celebration of debt-ridden consumerism have no standing at all to lord it over minimum-wage clerks who probably make less in a week than the person complaining has just spent.

  • Rick

    Fish-

    How do you really feel?

    “Fox IS a division of a political party, not a media outlet.”

    Of course the same could be said of MSNBC. I am sure you feel just as strong about that channel.

    “…the politically correct Merry Christmas…”

    I think Fox is saying the opposite is taking place. “Merry Christmas” is becoming politically incorrect.

  • Susan N.

    Speaking of idols, spiritual emptiness/pain, and the frenetic, indiscriminate consumption of earthly “stuff” that doesn’t satisfy–as only God can…

    I find value in the question underlying Jim Wallis’ critique of Fox News’ emphasis on the ‘war on christmas’. Why exactly is this such an important fight for us to be taking up? What’s at the root (motivation, values, beliefs), and what will be gained by fighting for our “rights?” If there’s any time of the year that Christians maybe should stop fighting, and worship reverently the coming of Christ, wouldn’t it be Christ-mas time?

  • http://azspot.net Naum

    First, I think you could have taken that article and pasted a different byline and this comment thread would be bereft of the rancor that Wallis seems to rouse of his detractors, that see only one-dimensional in this regard. I reread the article again and again, just to see if there were bits that could be construed in the criticism that has been levied here, but I failed to see anything and it leads me to deduce that an activist for social justice and standing up the poor is just automatically derided.

    Second, Fox News does indeed carve about a particular political platform — as testified by insiders and past workers, and its ownership (owned by a foreign billionaire, half Chinese family and its 2nd biggest owner is a Saudi sheik — what exactly are their motives in turning over the reins to Republican party machine of Ailes and others who are adamant that their missive is to impel “angry white men to throw things at their TV”. Sorry, but other network approaches this state, and it is more in step with 19th century “journalism” where each publisher was a political advocate for a given party or other political organization. MSNBC and CNN do not compare — yes, MSNBC runs a couple of hours of “liberal” programming (though it is carefully balanced by its corporate masters — guests like Michael Moore and real, true “lefties” are counter-mandated with 2-3X opposition guests, according to ex-producers… …meanwhile Pat Buchanan, a troglodyte racist throwback from the segregationist era still gets appearance nods). Who owns those networks? GE, Time-Warner, etc.… — yes, please show me the leftist radicalism there?

    But the crux of this specific article is that Wallis is spot-on with this missive on Fox News & Christmas. Deriding him for his political leanings misses the point and illustrates how ensconced many are with the empire, copacetic with systemic injustice and the status quo of neglecting poverty, all the while embracing faux outrage over an illusory, completely contrived “war on Christmas”.

  • Tim

    Merry Christmas to everyone a few days early!

    May Christ’s peace and will be done among us. Amen

  • Susan N.

    Amen, Tim! ~Peace~

  • Rick

    Naum-

    “MSNBC and CNN do not compare — yes, MSNBC runs a couple of hours of “liberal” programming (though it is carefully balanced by its corporate masters…)”

    I have no doubt that you actually believe that.

  • Rick

    And along with Time and Susan N, I too want to wish all a Merry Christmas!!!!

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    My concrete solution is to move celebrating the incarnation in June.

  • Susan N.

    DRT, haha. My daughter and I were conversing about this. She admitted, “I don’t get it; why only be nice (or extra-nice) at Christmas?”

    O Come All Ye Faithful…January through December :-)

  • http://godswordourwordsandtheworld.blogspot.com Lee Wyatt

    Yes, Jim Wallis and FOX News are longtime antagonists. Yes, Wallis can sometimes sound like a partisan “hack,” FOX’s alter ego, (though he does not toe the left’s line on homosexuality). Even if all this is true, the question remains “Is he right in what he claims?” To dismiss a critique because of where it comes from is to commit the genetic fallacy and veer right toward the abyss of nihilism.

    Merry Christmas, All!

    Lee

  • http://azspot.net Naum

    @Rick wrote: “MSNBC and CNN do not compare — yes, MSNBC runs a couple of hours of “liberal” programming (though it is carefully balanced by its corporate masters…)” …I have no doubt that you actually believe that.

    And in response to the cited sources (ex FNC staffers & producers, ex MSNBC producers, identified ownership of the broadcast networks, etc.…), you respond with a churlish and completely unedifying remark that impinges my thoughtful feedback with no empirical evidence.

    Examine the ownership of MSNBC, gaze at the complete 24 hour roster of programming. Tally the right leaning (especially on economic issues, for which this post is relevant) hosts and compare v. FNC where you simply find no “left of center” representation, applicants for on air positions are queried to ensure their Republican party membership (according to ex-staffers, and this is well chronicled, as are the words & history of Roger Ailes), and a “party line” is adhered to. Yes, I grant you, for a few hours in primetime MSNBC adopts a similar guise in ‘D’ form. But it is counterbalanced, as producers of these shows have testified.

  • TJJ

    Wow, Wallis hates Fox News. There’s a shocker for you. Right up there with dog bites man.

    But making the point that “Christ” should be in Christmas? That is the great evil culture war sin thing that desecrates the very meaning of Christmas? Really?

    Personally, I think it is silly because Christmas is not going anywhere, regardless of what Brookfield Mall or WalMart say. So in that regard I agree it is a waste of time.

    But the issue Fox is making is a political correctness issue, not a theology lesson or culture war on how Christmas is to be celebrated, etc., or how materialistic it should or should not be (which is a another silly point also since it is the thing everyone in the U.S. agrees with verbally, but no one actually lives out in practice).

    But newsflash as it may be to some, there are alot of people who live out in the fly over country and who don’t teach at or attend a Univsersity, who get their fill of political correctness running amuck.

    I have never heard anyone on Fox say how to celebtate it, or that you have to celebrate it at all. Only the point that the religious/national holiday on 12/25 has a name that it has had for over a thousand years: Christmas. And thus that is what it should be called.

    The real Christmas has nothing to do with the point of having Christ’s name in the Holiday? Really?

    Language and words are important, and what we call a thing does matter.

  • Richard

    @ 26

    Good thoughts. I’d agree that because his name is attached to it and he has named “Fox” specifically, it becomes politicized because of the atmosphere of our current discourse.

    @ 27

    Being “political” and being “judged on its merits” aren’t mutually exclusive options. It would depend on the reasoning Barton was using – is he relying on political arguments and policy recommendations or is he discussing something else? My prior experiences with Barton would be that anything he cites, I would need to actually research before accepting.

  • Randy Gabrielse

    Richard (@ 19) says he agrees with Jim Wallis’ critique but thinks something more appropriate needs to be proffered. This may not sit well with some, but one better alternative is one of many strains in the Occupy movement. They are anti-empire, anti-consumerist, etc. Yes, they a fair number of them are rich kids, but they do offer a beginning.
    Peace,

  • http://embodyingourfaith.com Tim Morey

    Wallis accuses Fox of attacking the wrong enemy, but in linking his critique of culture to Fox does the same himself.

    A shame that his important larger point about materialism and consumerism couldn’t be separated from an attack on the political right. Is consumerism at Christmastime really the sole property of Fox and right wingers? Couldn’t this same critique be just as easily leveled at those on the left (whether or not they advocate for saying ‘Merry Christmas’)?

    Younger evangelicals have been correct in warning that Christians were too slavishly tied to the political right. I’m shocked to see how little time it took for us to slavishly tie ourselves to the left. I have a hard time reading Wallis anymore for the same reason I have a hard time reading Dobson. As younger evangelicals we haven’t moved forward on this issue, we’ve just changed parties.

  • Tim Seitz-Brown

    Let’s sing the original Christmas “carol”, the Magnificat. The more a media organization “slants” towards the Magnificat, the more I’m on board with them.

  • Fish

    Rick #30: No, actually I did mean that Merry Christmas is now the politically correct greeting. If you wish someone Happy Holidays, you might get a lecture or a dirty look.

    I see Christians complaining about being told Happy Holidays on facebook pretty often. Fox has got them fired up and ready to engage the mighty atheist forces of evil retail clerks who use the wrong greeting.

    Don’t forget that 3 out of 4 people in the US describe themselves as Christian, which makes whatever they decide is correct, politically correct.

    *********

    “…the politically correct Merry Christmas…”

    I think Fox is saying the opposite is taking place. “Merry Christmas” is becoming politically incorrect.

  • Tim

    Thanks for the post Scot. I agree that the degree of culture war going on here with respect to Christmas is truly sickening and distracting from the spirit of the Holiday.

    That said, I am wary of people who try to define what Christmas is “truly about” along arbitrarily narrow lines.

    Let’s recognize Christmas for what it is – a holiday resultant from a merging of various winter festival traditions with a Christian celebration of Jesus’ birth. It is no more accurate to say that Christmas is “all about Jesus” than to say that Christmas is “all about the winter festivities.”

    Non-Christians can certainly enjoy much of the spirit and meaning of Christmas sans Christ, as they would be focusing on the winter festival (both traditional and more modern) aspects of the holiday. Christians can enjoy Christmas and appreciate much of the meaning and spirit without embracing so much the winter festivities aspect.

    However, I would imagine that those who experience the holiday most fully would be embracing those aspects of Christmas as completely and comprehensively as possible within their own faith (or non faith) traditions.

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann F-R

    Wouldn’t we be better off examining how pervasive the antagonism toward “taking the ‘Christ’ out of Xmas” stuff is in our local communities? That’s what I “heard” when I read Wallis’ points. Fox plays into a very real level of confusion and anger that many Christians experience living in a pluralistic society. A good friend (atheist) was on a community board discussing holiday decorations in their small city. The level of fury by “Christians” claiming that their decorations should prevail since it was “their” holiday was appalling. Some of the attacks were virtually threats to the city council & this board of citizens. I spent a lot of time helping him to understand the Christian POV, so that he could bring calm into the discussions – that God is not “in” the tree, or the lights, or the displays and that Christians opposed the Roman & Greek propensities to build displays to their gods/leaders everywhere. The most antagonistic “Christian” letter-writers claimed god-meaning in red & green lights, god-meaning in white lights, meaning in evergreen trees, almost to levels of idolatry or panentheism. I was reminded of the shock of the Romans when they invaded the temple and found the Holy of Holies empty of a god figure. Too many people were looking for the meaning of the incarnation in the wrong place.

  • Rick

    Naum #40-

    I am sure then how various left leaning people, such Bob Beckel and some of the panelists on Special Edition snuck through.

    I am not defending Fox, I totally agree that they lean right. Again, I prefer CNN, and you are right, it does not compare. However, to pretend that MSNBC is somehow even close to balanced just because they throw in some right representation is really not seeing what is happening there. I do appreciate the more balanced shows, such as Morning Joe. However, their highest ratings, primetime hours are hard left.

    Fish #46-

    “Don’t forget that 3 out of 4 people in the US describe themselves as Christian, which makes whatever they decide is correct, politically correct.”

    I disagree with that. I think what is considered politically correct is what is determined by the northeast and California establishments. Now, does middle America automatically agree with it? That is another issue.

  • Fish

    Fox determines more what is politically correct in this country than any geographic “establishment.”

    You are simply repeating a version of the meme that the media is liberal and controlled by Hollywood and NYC, when study after study have shown a conservative bias.

    I submit it is logically impossible at the current time for a “politically correct” position to be anything but a conservative or even Tea Party position, at least where I live, in the South.

    For example, “Obama is a Muslim” is a politically correct statement, but “Obama is a good Christian” is not.

    “We need to put prayer back in schools” is politically correct; “I don’t like my child being forced to pray” is not.

    “I should have the right to carry my gun anywhere” is politically correct, but “I think concealed carry should be illegal” is not.

    “Occupy are all smelly unemployed hippies” is politically correct. “The Tea Party is racist and controlled by Fox News” is not.

    Etc. etc. etc.

  • Rick

    Fish-

    From a 9/2011 Gallup poll:

    “The majority of Americans (60%) also continue to perceive bias, with 47% saying the media are too liberal and 13% saying they are too conservative, on par with what Gallup found last year.Partisans continue to perceive the media very differently. Seventy-five percent of Republicans and conservatives say the media are too liberal. Democrats and liberals lean more toward saying the media are “just about right,” at 57% and 42%, respectively. Moderates and independents diverge, however, with 50% of independents saying the media are too liberal and 50% of moderates saying they are just about right”

  • Rick

    Fish-

    Also, from another study (2005):

    “…almost all major media outlets tilt to the left. These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly. “I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican,” said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study’s lead author. “But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are.” “Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left,” said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.”

  • Mel Greene

    While I do agree with your comments on the true meaning of Christmas, I think your attack on Fox News is misguided. They at least are reminding us that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, regardless of their motives. Why not focus your attacks on other media outlets that really are attacking Christian beliefs? Unless your obvious libral beliefs won’t allow that.


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