COLUMN: War on Christmas is a disingenuous fight against religious tolerance


Elio Sante Mug


Older generations grew up when Nativity scenes and Christmas pageants were displayed in schools and on government land. Elementary schools sang songs about Christmas, almost exclusively, no matter the religious make up of the students in the school. 

This was fine, until people began to more fully embrace the idea that the First Amendment should be applied evenly, to all religions. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and every other religion are subject to the First Amendment’s separation clause. It's not exclusively about Christianity.

Some of us might call that social progress. Others, like many Christians, see that as an attack on their faith. 

Imagine if a government building displayed the Five Pillars of Islam -- there would be so many people screaming about how the government is embracing Sharia Law and how the First Amendment prohibits that kind of display. That same logic, of course, applies to the Christian faith even though many of these people would argue that the Ten Commandments should be installed in those same government buildings.

There’s never been a “War on Christmas.”  There never will be in America. 

As leader of the free world and zero accomplishments to show for his first year in office, President Donald Trump didn't end some “war” being waged against Christians. He didn’t bring back “Merry Christmas” because it never came close to disappearing from American public life. In what world do you live if you believe that you are prohibited from or looked down upon for saying Merry Christmas to someone? 

Just because companies put "Happy Holidays" in their windows and advertisements, or President Barack Obama didn't put Merry Christmas on the White House holiday greetings card doesn't mean there is some "politically correct" effort to destroy Christmas in America.

Companies have recognized that customers come in all faiths and sizes. It's natural for business leaders to want to include as many people in their communication with customers as possible for monetary reasons. When a company directs its employees to say, "Happy Holidays" and you decide to boycott them, that's your own poor logic. 

If the company changes its directions for employees to say, "Merry Christmas," it doesn't mean "Christian values" won. It means they lost money. The decision to use "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays" is all about the company's bottom line. It certainly doesn't make you morally right – if anything you are exhibiting your own intolerance. 

If you want to take Happy Holidays further, it’s a catch-all for the multiple religious and secular holidays in December and the start of January -- Mawlid el-Nabi, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) and New Year’s. Many Americans confuse acknowledging these other holidays as an outright attack on their own Christian values. 

Millions of Americans put lights on their houses, put up trees and set up Nativity scenes. All of those are intrinsically linked to celebrating the Christmas holiday. Mount Pleasant even had a tree lighting ceremony a few weeks ago. New York probably has the most famous tree lighting ceremony in the world. 

What holiday are those trees a sign of? Christmas. There's no such thing as a Hanukkah or New Year's tree, so it's not like you can confuse what holiday the town is celebrating. Is anyone trying to stop your own private display of Christmas? No, of course not. 

So to all of you soldiers who have fought on the frontlines of the nonsensical “War on Christmas" -- get over yourselves. There are many places around that world where people are being truly persecuted for their faith. America is not one of those places. It disingenuous to say that it is.

I hope you can take some solace in that during this time of peace. Happy holidays.



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