By Sam Grover
Freedom From Religion Foundation
In case you missed my earlier War on Christmas post, two Christian lobbying outfits, Liberty Counsel and the American Family Association, have each made lists of retailers who are “attacking” Christmas. These businesses have the audacity to include people other than Christians! The use of “Happy Holidays” is apparently an affront to these organizations and so they’re encouraging dutiful Christian shoppers to boycott some businesses and buy from others.
The problem is that the two lists drastically differed on which companies deserved Christians’ holiday dollars:
AFA says… LC says… Barnes & Noble naughty nice Best Buy naughty nice CVS Pharmacy marginal nice Dick’s Sporting Goods nice naughty Kohl’s marginal nice Old Navy marginal naughty Sears marginal nice Staples naughty nice TJ Maxx nice naughty Walgreens marginal nice
Two major players in the Christian rights movement can’t agree on which companies are responsible for the supposed discrimination Christians face in the United States. It’s almost like the problem is made up…
Update to the War on Christmas scandal
After I called attention to the conflicting marching orders for crusading Christian consumers, Liberty Counsel changed its list to more closely resemble the AFA’s. You can see the original list HERE and the updated version HERE, but I’ll summarize the highlights:
Here’s what the organization had to say about Best Buy in early December:
But eleven days later, Best Buy had fallen from grace:
And just wait until you read the scathing new review of Walgreens:
Walgreens refers to “holidays” more often than “Christmas?” When will the persecution end!? These Christian patriots still haven’t come to a consensus on Dick’s Sporting Goods, Rite Aid, or TJ Maxx, and they now disagree on Neiman Marcus. I guess we should expect another all-important update in the near future.
Unlike Liberty Counsel’s list, my main point remains unchanged: the War on Christmas is a fabricated narrative meant to capitalize on the U.S. Christian persecution myth. Liberty Counsel shamelessly promotes this myth, despite the fact that Christians make up 70% of the U.S. population. The War on Christmas is a fundraising tactic, meant to scare donations out of a credulous audience.
While the persecution is fabricated, the impact of peddling the narrative is very real. Religious minorities and the nonreligious are finding it more and more difficult to gain equal access to government forums, especially in December. FFRF regularly attempts to post its own freethought displays next to Christian nativities on public property. But recently we’ve suffered censorship, both government-sanctioned and criminal.
Take note, Liberty Counsel: inclusivity is not discrimination. Saying “Happy holidays” does not exclude Christians, it simply makes room for the other December holidays. Equality is not persecution, it is the erosion, at long last, of undeserved privilege. And it’s something we should celebrate year-round.
FFRF is a national nonprofit dedicated to keeping state and church separate and educating about nontheism. For more information and a copy of our paper, Freethought Today, please click here.