So it's that time of year again when we get to argue over the existence, progress, and impact of the War on Christmas.
Let's be frank: it's seemed a bit hard to know exactly where to come down on this. Does everyone greet you with a cheery "Merry Christmas" nowadays? Hardly - but if we recall our literature correctly, a century and a half ago one Ebenezer Scrooge was even less likely to use that phrase than a Starbucks employee.
Is "Happy Holidays" a nefarious attempt to shove Christ out of Christmas? Well, maybe, but even in the heart of Northeast liberalism, if someone greets you with "Happy Holidays" and you reply "Merry Christmas," odds are they'll return the greeting in like fashion particularly if they hope to sell you something. And, at least in your humble correspondent's experience, nobody has ever expressed contempt for the sentiment, religious though it be.
On the other hand...
ROSELLE PARK, NJ -
Minutes after the council voted 4-2 Thursday night to change the name of the ceremony from "A Tree Lighting" to "A Christmas Tree" Lighting, the councilwoman-at-large, left the meeting. She later submitted her letter of resignation with the municipal clerk's office.
"I cannot in good conscience continue to be part of a council that is exclusionary or to work with a Mayor who is such," Storey said in her letter.
When reached today, Storey said she regretted having to resign, but said the change "cuts non-Christians out of the loop and favors one religion."
Storey, who was raised Catholic but is now a "non-believer" and has never hidden that fact, said the issue is a matter of principle.
Changing the ceremony, she said, "turned it from a non-religious event to a religious one."
That's an obvious lie. So far as was reported, nothing about the ceremony itself was changed. The tree was still lit; presumably the mayor and other dignitaries made seasonally short speeches. Perhaps a group of kids from the local school were to sing "Jingle Bells." Whatever events had been planned, the script was the same both before and after this vote.
The only thing changed was the name - and that alone was sufficient to get a city councilwoman riding off into the sunset on her high horse. Would that this were usually so easy! And, as most of the commenters on the article pointed out, the city will be better governed without her.
But that certainly does have the sound of a War on Christmas skirmish, albeit one where the anti-Christmas side lost. Can anyone recall a change so tiny that triggered a sitting politician to bail forthwith?
Perhaps we need to cite a more prominent example. Trivia question: What is the dramatic peak of the famous TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" which turned 50 this year? It is, of course, when Linus reads the entire Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, alone on a stage under a single spotlight. As he says, "That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
Even in 1965, this blunt statement of the founding truth of Christianity was controversial; it is said that Charles Schultz had to demand the inclusion of Scripture over the objections of the production executives, using the fact that he owned the rights to the characters as leverage to get his way. For him - that is, for the author of the special - the concept of Christ's birth as the True Meaning of Christmas is not merely the central idea of the story, it's the entire point of the story.
Apparently, though, the show didn't make Mr. Schultz's point bluntly enough to break through our President's thick skull. In a truly jaw-dropping speech that must rank high in the annals of self-parody, our First Lady and Commander-in-Chief tell us, in a retrospective on the enduring power of this little film, that the True Meaning of Christmas is...
Tiny trees just need a little love, and that on this holiday, we celebrate peace on earth and goodwill to all.
If the world's most powerful man gratuitously hijacking a beloved, and famously religious, holiday special to promote a ludicrous and anachronistic message of environmentalistic pantheism isn't a war on Christmas, what is?
Well, we have unfortunately just been rpesented with another possibility - Muslims massacring a dozen people, at least one of whom was a professing evangelical Christian, at a Christmas party. After all, as the Koran commands:
Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. - Surah 9:121
Now we know: There is a War on Christmas, and it is very real. It is in fact a genuine war, complete with pipe bombs and bullets, as well as a lying propaganda war being waged from the highest office in our land.
The only question remaining is: how ought our side to fight back?
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.