It’s the most wonderful time of the year – or not. The holiday season means something or nothing to many people. For the Religious Right, ‘tis the season for resurrecting the bogus “War on Christmas.”
If you have been living under a rock for the past few years: In short, it’s the time of year where the privileged majority (mostly white, Religious Right Christians) complain about how oppressed they are because some people prefer to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” To the Religious Right, any attempt to be inclusive means you’re trying to secularize Christmas.
And now, alas, with Donald J. Trump as the president-elect, these poor oppressed victims of “political correctness” can finally be free to say “Merry Christmas” without the severe persecution they allegedly endured under President Barack Obama’s administration and his anti-Christmas White House.
“We're going to start saying 'Merry Christmas' again,’” Trump said at a Dec. 10 rally.
“You can say again ‘Merry Christmas’ because Donald Trump is now the president,” former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Sean Hannity on his show, “Hannity,” Dec. 6. “You can say it again. It’s OK to say.”
Yup, the candidate, campaign and supporters that brought you the “safe spaces are politically correct” rhetoric are now saying that celebrating Christmas, which was never endangered in this country, is “safe” again, and because of Trump, America is a safe space for Christians to say “Merry Christmas.”
We’ve covered this non-existent “war” multiple times. The absurdity of it even went as far as for Trump’s son, Eric, to say that one of the reasons his father was inspired to run for president was because he was upset the White House Christmas tree was renamed a “holiday tree.” This is despite the history of evergreen trees being used for various winter festivals rather than being religious symbols.
The "War on Christmas" is non-existent.
But as we’ve reported before, facts haven’t stopped this annual unnecessary hysteria from happening. Groups such as the American Family Association and channels like Fox News are huge enablers of this fake war – with far-right TV figures such as Bill O’Reilly, Gretchen Carlson (formally of Fox News), Hannity and more trying to shove their religious practices down everybody’s throat.
The incoming Trump administration is taking full advantage of their Christmas fear-mongering. When selling a “Make America Great Again” tree ornament, his campaign staff wrote in the description that “President-elect Trump loves Christmas and makes a point of proudly saying ‘Merry Christmas’ every chance he gets.”
OK, congrats. Do you want a cookie for saying “Merry Christmas”? Christianity is still not under attack if some people would rather say, “Happy Holidays.”
But here’s the thing: No government official has the power to enforce a specific way to celebrate Christmas, as Americans United’s Executive Director Barry W. Lynn recently told The Hill newspaper. (And remember, Lynn knows a thing or two about this. Unlike Trump, Hannity and Lewandowski, Lynn is a Christian minister.)
“Nothing says freedom more than a president telling the public what holidays to celebrate and exactly how to celebrate them,” Lynn said. “But I'm mollified by the fact that Trump’s promise is meaningless because, thankfully, he has no power to enforce it.”
The ironic part of this “War on Christmas” debacle is that so many Religious Right folks swear they’re being victimized by a country where a growing number of people are adopting a secular outlook, while insisting that there’s only one proper way to celebrate Christmas – their way. If anyone’s being oppressed, it’s the victims of the far right’s my-way-or-the-highway “Christmas Police.”
As Lynn said: “Americans celebrate Christmas in many different ways, and some don’t celebrate it at all. It’s up to each individual to decide, and that’s how it should be.”
Indeed it is and remember: The War on Christmas never existed.