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Holiday Grinch

Updated on December 31, 2014
Sea-Tac airport in 2006
Sea-Tac airport in 2006
Billboard in Times Square
Billboard in Times Square
Scene outside Cumberland County Courthouse in Crossville, Tennessee
Scene outside Cumberland County Courthouse in Crossville, Tennessee

Why there really is a War on Christmas

For years now I have listened to Bill O'Reilly prattle on about a War on Christmas. At first, like most, I was skeptical to believe that there was actually a serious movement railing against Christmas. I mean after all I grew up in a religious environment full of holiday decorations scattered across the lawn and house and nobody seemed to protest. In the small town in Texas where I was born and raised it was common courtesy, whether it was at a store or on the street to say Merry Christmas. There wan't the fear of backlash or of offending anyone. There was only holiday cheer of which only this one particular holiday could bring. There is no arguing that this holiday is full of commercialism mostly pertaining to Santa Clause. You can't go to any store without being overwhelmed by holiday music and displays. However, one thing to remember is that Santa is a secular symbol not a religious one.

I could understand fully understand the outrage that those who are atheist might feel if Jesus was shoved down their throats during this time of year. However, it is apparent with every holiday decoration and Christmas tree in town squares that Jesus has been replaced with the more secular displays of Rudolph and Santa Clause. Besides the occasional yard with a baby Jesus in a manger the religious symbolism has been cut to a minimum. This is partly due to the changing beliefs of the nation as fewer and fewer of this generation have strong feelings toward religion one way or the other. Church attendance is at an all-time low, with a call for more traditional holiday traditions being cast to the side.

Sadly, many atheist groups are becoming more bold about the banning of Christmas from our schools, stores and government buildings, making it almost impossible to not see what O'Reilly has been warning us of for years now. Even Bill Maher and Jon Stewart who every year make fun of what they consider a bogus War on Christmas have to admit that it is getting harder and harder to ignore the signs that this war is all too real. Especially, when there are billboards, commercials on television and books by atheist groups mocking Christmas and Christians for believing in what they deem as myths. It is rather ironic that at the same time demanding that Christmas displays throughout the United States be taken down on the basis that it might offend someone, the religious communities opinions and feelings on the matter has been ignored. Apparently, offending believers doesn't count. With Christmas controversies brought about by atheist lawsuits on the grounds of separation of church and state being as common as presents under the Christmas tree, it is becoming more difficult to ignore that this isn't a Fox News driven story but a secular movement bent on wiping America clean of religious symbolism. Whether Stewart or Maher would ever admit that in the end they were wrong is yet to be seen. I highly doubt that they will ever change their opinions over the subject for the simple reason that it goes against their liberal base to ever admit that a conservative was right. Plus, it wouldn't fit with their world view where Christians persecute but or never persecuted against.

In 2006 Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, Washington was ordered to take down nine holiday trees decorated in red ribbons and bows because of complaints about other religious symbols not being displayed. However, it should be clear that a holiday tree doesn't represent any particular religion as even a Christmas tree is a secular symbol. To avoid lawsuits from atheist groups or the ACLU the airport quickly forbid any decorations from being displayed on their premises.

In 2008, Crossville, Tennessee allowed atheists to erect a Flying Spaghetti Monster as a clear sign of disrespect towards believers of any faith. This wasn't the first or last time the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been given credence to be displayed next to religious symbols. In 2013 near Wisconsin's Capital building the Flying Spaghetti Monster was placed next to sacred religious symbols and in 2014 it could be seen decorating the halls of the Florida Capital building in Tallahassee, Florida along with a Festivus pole made of beer cans.

Just this year, New Jersey based group American Atheists paid for billboards in five different locations with the message "Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I'm too old for fairy tales." Another in Times Square in New York City read "Keep the Merry, Dump the Myth" with a picture of Jesus on a cross at the bottom of the billboard. It is clear to any rational American that this behavior is inappropriate and offensive towards those who are of religious faith. These are not signs of acceptance of all beliefs, instead, they are a direct attack by people who wish to undermine and silence anyone who believes in a supreme deity. Americans should celebrate our differences no matter what someone else believes; while at the same time respecting those who hold different values. The media can ignore this trend, people can even say that the War on Christmas is a myth, made up by religious fanatics who are fearful that American values and ideas towards religion are changing. Even though, that stance is becoming more difficult to stand by with each billboard and Spaghetti Monster display being seen by millions each day.

There is no doubt that America is a much different place than it was twenty years ago. Few would dare to say otherwise. This country is growing ever more secular with each passing day and religion is slowly taking on less of a role in American's everyday lives. We should be sensitive to others beliefs and respect their viewpoints no matter how adamantly we might disagree with them. This country was founded on differences, this is what makes the United States unique compared to the rest of the world. However, in our goal to not exclude those of different faiths and beliefs, we have shunned everyone who holds those values dear. Let us stop this trend of bigotry towards those of faith and once and for all celebrate the value of what Christmas is supposed to be about. Giving to those who have nothing, bringing a smile and a sense of joy to the unfortunate, celebrating for no other reason than we live in a country where we have the right to celebrate however we may choose. That is the meaning of Christmas, let us all not forget that.


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