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Battle Lines Shifting in War on Christmas

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his time last year, newspapers were replete with stories about the “War on Christmas.”  Mega-retailer Wal-Mart came under fire for instructing employees not to say “Merry Christmas,” and city councils around the country buckled under ACLU pressure to pull nativity displays off public property. This despite the fact that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas and 87% think nativity displays are fine.


Well, Virginia, things can change in the course of a year. Politically Correct Christmas (PCC) may be on the way to joining the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Reclamation of the “Merry Christmas” greeting treasured by millions of Americans is being driven by a grassroots groundswell of people fed up with being told that saying “Merry Christmas” is insensitive, disrespectful and politically incorrect. But you'd never know it by the news coverage this season. A Nexis® search comes up nearly empty when looking for stories on this emerging trend.

From retailers getting off the “Happy Holidays” Neutrality Bandwagon to city councils embracing celebration of the traditional holiday, shiny packages are turning up under the Christmas tree for the majority of Americans who have been made to feel like “Christmas” is a four-letter word.   


This Christmas season:

    Wal-Mart employees can say, “Merry Christmas” and the store has a Christmas Shop. Target's television advertising uses the phrase, “Merry Christmas.” More major retailers like Macy's, JCPenney, Sears, and L.L. Bean are using the word “Christmas” in their stores, advertising and catalogs.
The superintendent of the Medway school system in Massachusetts recently gave
    teachers guidelines that allow Christmas celebrations after being criticized for censoring Christmas. The City of Boston conceded that the tree they annually receive from Nova Scotia and place in Boston Common is a Christmas Tree, not a “Holiday Tree” as they'd recently called it. The Racine, Wisconsin, Common Council reversed itself and unanimously voted to allow a nativity scene to be erected on city property. Major media figures, including Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson, have made restoring the good name of Christmas their pet cause. 

In spite of all this good news, Scrooge is alive and kicking.  Many public schools have replaced Christmas Vacation with Winter Break, and have dropped Christmas music programs out of fear of a lawsuit. Stealing the soul of Christmas  is still normal operating procedure for holdouts around the country.  Here are a few examples.


The ACLU, Chief Grinch in the army of anti-Christmas enforcers, is suing the Wilson County School system outside of Nashville, TN because it says a children's Christmas program is an “illegal act” and that the “Christian themes and songs” caused
    plaintiffs to suffer “irreparable damage.” Chicago officials pressured organizers of a downtown Christmas festival to drop a sponsor, New Line Cinema, because it was going to feature clips from The Nativity Story.  (On a positive note the Associated Press ran an article critical of this decision. See CMI Director Robert Knight's attached article for further information.) A spokesman for Best Buy says the company considers the use of the term “Merry Christmas” disrespectful.  Lowe's, the home improvement retailer, will not allow employees to greet customers with the words “Merry Christmas.” The Detroit suburb of Berkley, faced with a lawsuit by the ACLU, voted to take its nativity scene off city property and donate it to a local clergy group for display on church property. 

Overall, however, Americans are pushing back.  Groups like Media Research Center, the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and others are exposing PCC and urging parents and consumers to make their voices heard. The Alliance Defense Fund has 950 volunteer lawyers across the nation who are ready to combat efforts to censor Christmas, and Liberty Counsel has a similar program called the Friend or Foe Campaign.


Christmas observance is written into U.S. law and has been embedded in American culture since long before the Constitution – or the ACLU, for that matter -- even existed. The restoration of free celebration of Christmas is essential if Americans are to recover their heritage and their unique culture.


In early December, Culture and Media Institute will issue two Christmas lists: Grinches and Santa's Helpers, which will recognize (or point a finger at) people who are making a difference in the battle to celebrate Christmas.


Nominations can be sent to kfyfe@mediaresearch.org or by calling

(703) 683- 9733, ext. 230.