“Merry Christmas” at the Drive Thru (Yes, We’re Still Talking about That)

“Merry Christmas” at the Drive Thru (Yes, We’re Still Talking about That) May 16, 2019

Right Wing Watch recently posted a video by Trump-supporter Matt Couch. Here’s a transcript:

President Trump is a chosen man. And if you don’t believe that, you just don’t understand how things are working out in this country, in this world. You don’t have to like him, but unfortunately for you, facts matter. Facts unfortunately matter.

People say “Merry Christmas” now when you go through the drive-thru. That didn’t happen eight years ago, folks. And, once again, if you say it did, you’re a liar. I’m sorry. I hate to be that mean. But if anyone tries to tell me that, eight years ago, when Barack Hussein Obama was in the middle of his eight-year run, if any of you really think that people were saying “Merry Christmas,” hell no, they weren’t. They were not!

And I’ve noticed the last two years, it doesn’t matter if I go through an Arby’s or a Chick-fil-A. People are saying “Merry Christmas.” They weren’t doing that four or five years ago. President Trump has brought that back.

I dearly hope one one is saying “Merry Christmas” in the drive thru right now, because it’s May. And yes, it may be one of the coldest Mays in record in many parts of the country, but that doesn’t make it Christmas.

More seriously, there are two things here worth noting.

To start with, if your top priority is having people verbally recognize your religious holiday—and that’s so important that you’re okay with a corrupt president who imprisons children and lies repeatedly, because he’ll make sure your holiday is verbally recognized—I have questions about your priorities.

This is one of the central problems with evangelicalism: priorities. Evangelicals talk a good talk about the importance of helping the poor, for instance, but when it comes to politics they care far more about banning abortion or keeping trans people out of public bathrooms. They talk about Jesus’ love, then turn around and call for closing the border with Mexico and turning asylum seekers away. Whether people say “Merry Christmas” in the drive thru matters more than whether we have a president who tells the truth.

The term “evangelical” is related to the term evangelize. Evangelicals are supposed to be those who spread the “good news” of the gospel—salvation through Jesus Christ. I don’t think most evangelicals understand how very unattractive they are making that gospel. With priorities like these, who wants to stay to hear the gospel? No thank you! If your priority is whether people say “Merry Christmas,” I know all I need to know!

(This is, of course, a bogus controversy. People still said “Merry Christmas” during the Obama years. Besides, saying “Happy Holidays” is not somehow disrespectful of Christmas—or mutually exclusive of celebrating it.)

Couch’s words lay bare a desire for religious dominance. Consider two things. First, Couch thinks people—regardless of their religious beliefs—should verbally recognize his holiday, and becomes angry if they don’t. Second, he thinks people should be politically compelled to verbally recognize his holiday.

Despite this, I’m still most bothered by the priorities. I mean, for real. 

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