In keeping with the holiday season, we will take a break from the usual conspiracy theories and look at something that gets brought up at this time of year over and over again. What is the supposed “War on Christmas?” Does it really exist? And if so, who is the active perpetrator of this war?
What Do You Mean “War on Christmas?”
The actual term “war on Christmas” has no specific origin. Yes, popular conservative figures like Bill O’Reilly may claim to have coined the term (he even published a book with that as the title), but in fact, the phrase has been tossed around for decades. What does it really mean? Well, that is totally up to you, the individual. Your viewpoints on a variety of issues will probably determine how you feel about the alleged “war on Christmas” and what it means to you.
For our first example, let’s take an atheist who is tired of Christianity and religion in general dictating too many things in our world. To him or her, the term “war on Christmas” is typical religious nonsense. They will find it laughable. A deeply devout Christian probably believes the war is very much alive and raging on as we speak. Some on the fence may view Christmas as so commercialized by now that it hardly matters. As you can see, where you stand on these issues greatly shapes how you feel about this. But which of these groups has the facts on their side? Isn’t that the real question?
Once again, the problem with trying to factually debate an issue like this is the fact that there are little facts. One thing we know for sure: the Christmas holiday is a mad commercial success. The all-important fourth quarter literally makes or breaks companies. It is there to save a company in a slump, and it can be the final nail in the coffin if it doesn’t live up to expectations. If there is a war on America’s most celebrated holiday, it has lost bitterly. Even those atheists we discussed above probably exchange Christmas gifts with friends and family and go along with the holiday to some extent. From this standpoint, it’s hard to see any way that a war like this is being successfully waged.
Myths Propagate Myths and People Believe What They Want to Believe
Another reason that the idea of a war on Christmas has become so prevalent in society today is that myths propagate myths. What does that mean? Okay, it’s a little confusing. The premise here is that if you use proven myths as facts to support something, it only snowballs. A great example is the now six-year-old legend of President Barack Obama and the First Family ending the tradition of the White House Christmas tree.
Ever since President Obama took office, each year a message circulates through email and social media explaining that President Obama has decided there will be no Christmas tree at the White House any longer. This is usually tied into the “War on Christmas” and the other even longer running mythical legend that President Obama is actually a closet Muslim that somehow ascended to the highest position in the land. People eat this up. They want to believe it, and they insist that it has to be true. After all, everyone knows that President Obama is a Muslim, right? The reality is that people believe what they want to believe. People hear what they want to hear. If it supports the position they have, then they usually jump onboard. This is no different. Mind you, a simple Google search for each of the years that the Obama family has occupied the White House will quickly reveal videos and photographs of the Christmas trees and the holiday theme that was selected by First Lady Michelle Obama for that year. The story simply isn’t true. It can be disproven with a few simple keyboard strokes. Yet, every year, it is passed around and a whole new group of people take it as gospel.
What About a War on Christianity?
If you really want to get down to the meat of this issue, people that believe there is a war on Christmas actually probably mean something different. The war on Christmas would more accurately be described as one battle in the war on Christianity. Is there a wider war on the religion of Christianity in America?
Well, once again, the first thing to check is how Christianity is faring. While every atheist in America will vehemently deny that the United States of America is a Christian nation, there still is an undeniable truth that the overwhelming majority of Americans identify as being a member of some form of the Christian religion. To insist that Christianity is not a force to be reckoned with is lunacy. Like it or not, Christianity continues to exert huge influences on politics and law in America, regardless of how many efforts there are to remove any references to it from places of government business. Much like we found with Christmas, if there is a war on Christianity, it isn’t winning.
Winning alone doesn’t determine whether there is a war, however. You can wage a war on something and lose, but a war is still a war. Many Christians point to atheist movements as proof of their position. It can be hard to argue with some of their points of view. On a daily basis, atheist organizations file lawsuits over prayers in schools and such. The lawsuits often succeed, because by the letter of the law they may be right. Of course, reasonable people would find little reason to be offended because little Tommy says a prayer to himself in the school cafeteria before he scarfs down lunch, but some people can’t stand it in any way, shape or form. Just like there are those Christians out there insisting that they are being horribly persecuted, there are an equal percentage of atheists pushing agendas like this that have little purpose but just to enrage the other side and claim some sort of “moral” victory. Meanwhile, the real loser is the American public, whose taxpayer dollars have to facilitate these gargantuan wastes of time in the court system.
So, what is our conclusion here? Is there a war on Christianity? Well, it’s probably not a war. More like a few people out there trying to start a war, but finding an American public that is largely indifferent.
The Real War on Christmas
After all of that analysis, we are just going to come out and say it. There is a war on Christmas. It is raging right now. It is raging out of control. And it is winning. Say what?
The holiday of Christmas used to mean something different in America than it does today. Yes, the religious implications are obvious. That’s not really what we are talking about. What we mean is that America used to look at Christmas as a holiday for everyone to enjoy a break from hard work, some well-deserved family time, and just try to show a little goodwill for your fellow man. In this day and age, Christmas is different. The holiday season officially kicks off with Black Friday, where people tackle each other to get the best deals in retail establishments that already ruin Thanksgiving by opening their doors halfway through what should be a family dinner. The same people that used to keep stores closed on Sundays for the sanctity of family now can’t even stay closed one day. People don’t spend time with their loved ones talking about things that matter; they talk about the Black Friday ad breaking at six o’clock and then leave before grandma’s apple pie is through warming up.
It kind of makes sense though. It is a small look at our overall society. Family life has changed. People don’t sit down at the dinner table like they did in decades past. It’s a world that runs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. More people have jobs where they are working overnight swing shifts. More and more parents hardly ever see their children. The effects on society are obvious and moving. Still, thanks to the real war on Christmas, we can’t even let all of that be suspended for one twenty-four hour period. The march of capitalism and commercialization does not stop for holidays. The almighty dollar doesn’t have time for Christmas or Thanksgiving. This is the true war on Christmas. This is not a myth. This is happening, and chances are, you already knew about it, whether or not you chose to admit it to yourself.
So, what can you do? Do you want to fight back? That’s the beautiful thing here. This is not about religious people versus atheists. This is not about conservatives versus liberals. It’s not black or white, boys or girls. It’s a war that is being waged on every single one of us in America, and it is a golden opportunity for us all to fight together as one for one thing. Can’t we all at least agree that Christmas, whatever it might mean to you deep down, is a tradition worth saving? Can’t we all agree that at least a few hours of family time a year should be protected from the greed of the retail industry? Can’t we all agree that a 24/7 society doesn’t have to be 365 too?
The war on Christmas is real, but the truth is that it is really a war on you. The question is what are we going to do about it?