Timothy Dalrymple posted a blog entry responding to one that I wrote for a previous Christmas and shared again this year. His historical point about uncertainty regarding the reason for the choice of date is probably a fair one. But I don’t think that I was at all caricaturing those who think there is a “war on Christmas.” Just take a look at the AFA’s call to boycott Walgreens, or SayMerryChristmas.net (the creator of which actually left a comment on my blog a couple of months ago), and let me know if you think I was offering an unfair caricature.
I know not everyone thinks like this, but I was addressing those who do, not others who think differently but bear some slight resemblance. But I do know that, depending on the circles one moves in or intersects with, some things might sound like caricature that are in fact pretty faithful descriptions, if only of a fringe of particularly egregious offenders.
On the more substantive points, from my own perspective, there is no sense in which Christmas is disappearing from the public square, except to the extent that we increasingly live in a society which is shared with others who may not celebrate it. And I do not see how expecting stores to mention one specific holiday in greeting customers does anything useful. Should those who celebrate other holidays not shop there? Can those who celebrate other holidays not work there? Does a store clerk saying “Happy Holidays” change the fact that Christmas music with profound religious content gets a lot of airtime on radio stations that do not normally play religious music, and churches have opportunities to invite people to plays, pageants, carol-singing and much else? I really fail to see that there is anything in jeopardy in the present situation that anyone ought to fight for, especially if their concern is not for cultural tradition but for personal faith.
What do you think? Has there ever actually been a war on Christmas? Have you come across those who think there is? Has Christmas ever been a purely religious holiday, celebrated without anything pagan, secular, selfish, irreligious, or grinchy? What do you make of my thoughts and Timothy’s response to them?
Oh, and by the way – I hope you had a Merry Christmas!