Merry humbug


Christ must be spinning in his grave

Christmas is no longer just an orgy of unbridled consumerism. It has become the latest front in the culture wars.

Peace on earth, goodwill toward all! How quaint a sentiment is that?

On the morning after Thanksgiving, shoppers began lining up outside a Best Buy in Falls Church, VA, at 2:30am. From sea to shining sea, people thronged to malls. Every newscast that Friday led with a story about the start of the "Christmas shopping season."

Wal-Mart stock chart
Wal-Mart stock chart

On Wall Street, anxious investors waited with bated breath for the first reports of holiday spending. News from Wal-Mart of "disappointing" sales performance sent shares plunging more than five percent. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is make-or-break time for retailers, who make nearly a quarter of their sales then. (

Pastor Patrick Wooten

Enter the culture wars. Fundamentalist Christians — who have perfected the art of portraying themselves as cultural victims — now demand to "keep Christ in Christmas." In North Carolina, Pastor Patrick Wooden has organized a boycott against stores where employees say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Even in blue-state California, a man has organized a boycott against Macy's for the same reason. (LA Times, 18-Dec-04)

As usual, these guys are barking up the wrong tree. The threat to Christmas does not come from people who adopt a more neutral greeting out of respect for those among us who hold other beliefs or none at all. No, the greater threat to the "true meaning" of Christmas (whatever that may be) comes from the worship of Mammon. Christ, after all, was born in a stable, not in a Wal-Mart superstore. If people really want to protest the perceived debasement of Christmas, let them stay home from the mall!

Signe Wilkinson cartoon
Signe Wilkinson, 22-Dec-04

Saying "Happy Holidays" is no more a threat to Christmas than is giving a marriage license to two homosexuals a threat to heterosexual marriage. But the way things are going, I fully expect to see a Defense of Christmas act introduced in Congress next session or even a proposal for a Constitutional amendment.

Now, back to Christ. As I understand it, this was a guy who went around teaching such things as humility, forgiveness, compassion, and love for others. It's hard to see how he would be anything but offended by the insistence of some that their views be adopted by all.

We live in a wonderfully diverse world, and I believe that the world would be much better off if we understood that that diversity is a marvel and a treasure, not a flaw.

from a Tony Auth cartoon
From a Tony Auth cartoon, 23-Dec-04