Skip to comments.Groups launch holy war against 'Happy Holidays'
Posted on 12/03/2005 8:39:22 AM PST by NCjim
Raleigh pastor's Christmas crusade gets national spotlight
A national effort aimed at keeping Christ in Christmas is getting a big boost from some in the Triangle's Christian community.
This week, the pastor of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God in Christ was invited to speak on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Channel. The pastor, the Rev. Patrick Wooden, pressed his message that retailers and others should use the salutation "Merry Christmas," not "Happy Holidays."
Next week, Called2Action, a local coalition of conservative Christians, will ask the Raleigh City Council to allow a nativity scene, along with other images, in downtown's Moore Square.
These efforts are part of a national campaign, replete with half a dozen Web sites, intended to reassert Christmas as the central religious event in December. Organizers of the campaign, including the American Family Association and Focus on the Family, say Christmas is being turned into a secular "solstice season" by a radical minority intent on pushing religion out of the public square.The campaign is not uniformly supported by Christians. Some retailers who are the targets of the campaign say the groups are misinformed about their policies.
Wooden and his supporters say they see evidence of an anti-religion movement in advertisements by retailers such as Target, Home Depot, Best Buy and Kohl's that don't mention Christmas.
"As a Christian minister, I see the attempt to de-Christianize Christmas as part of a much more sinister plan to de-Christianize America," Wooden said.
He and the Upper Room church took out a full-page ad in The News & Observer last week saying, "Christmas is as American as Mom's Apple Pie and the Fourth of July." The church bought airtime on the UPN television affiliate and on AM radio station WPTF with similar ads. The church spent $11,000 to get the message out, Wooden said.
Such efforts dovetail with those of the Alliance Defense Fund, a national legal advocacy group. The fund recently sent letters to 60,000 school systems telling them it's OK to sing Christmas carols, pass out candy canes and call the winter break "Christmas vacation."
Mike Johnson, the fund's senior legal counsel, said his group has 800 lawyers ready to sue those who would squelch such expression. "This is a quintessential issue of religious freedom," Johnson said.
The American Family Association's lead Web site story urges Americans to boycott Target.
"Target doesn't want to offend a small minority who oppose Christmas," reads the news release. "But they don't mind offending Christians who celebrate the birth of Christ, the Reason for the season."
A Target spokeswoman said the company has no policy banning employees from wishing customers a "Merry Christmas." Neither has it banned the word "Christmas" in its holiday advertising and marketing.
"Target has used the word Christmas as recently as last year in both music and in store marketing," said Kristi Arndt, the spokeswoman.
Not all evangelical churches are on the same page with the efforts. Some say pushing cashiers to say "Merry Christmas" is not only pointless but misguided.
"The investment of the church's time and energy is not to see that Christmas greetings are shared, but that Christ's gospel is shared," said the Rev. Stephen Davey, pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. "This public debate overlooks the real problem -- it isn't a lack of Christmas decoration; it's a lack of understanding what Christmas means to begin with."
About 80 percent of U.S. residents consider themselves Christians, according to a 2002 General Social Survey conducted by a University of Chicago research center. Most of those are Protestants.
But historians say Protestants were once at the forefront of a battle to ban Christmas. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Puritans, in particular, viewed Christmas as too boisterous or too Catholic, said Leigh Schmidt, a professor of religion at Princeton University.
"It's a historical irony," Schmidt said. "These Puritan descendants are insisting on consecrating something they had a large share in deconsecrating."
Only in the 19th century did Protestants begin to celebrate Christmas again, and even then it was billed as a private family affair, not necessarily a public event, Schmidt said.
Still, Steve Noble, chairman of Called2Action, a coalition of 49 Wake County churches, said there's been an erosion of Christmas signs and displays over the past several decades as the United States has grown more secular.
"There's nothing downtown, whether it's Christmas or Hanukkah," Noble said. "It annoys me, because 20 years ago I guarantee you there was something."
On Tuesday afternoon, Noble and members of his group will head to City Hall to ask for permission to stage a holiday display that includes a nativity scene, reindeer, snowflakes and a Hanukkah menorah. Noble said he has read the legal requirements and understands that displays on public property must have a secular, in addition to a religious, intent if they are to pass constitutional muster.
"For a Christian not to say 'Merry Christmas' because they're afraid of offending someone is a major problem," Noble said. "If you never catch any flak for your faith, I have to question what you're doing with your faith."
My husband and I amke it a point to say Merry Christmas, too. I also say Happy New year to my Jewish friends at Rosh Hoshona...
"My husband and I amke it a point to say Merry Christmas, too. I also say Happy New year to my Jewish friends at Rosh Hoshona..."
Jews for a Christian America
This organization could counter the left-wing atheistic scumbags masquerading as Jews (e.g. ADL, liberal reform congregations, etc.). It would not be an organization to convert Jews (that is an old canard anyway.) It would be an organization that promotes the values common to both religions when practiced as religions.
On the other hand, this is the holiday season that begins with Thanksgiving and ends on January 2. Or for some people January 6th.
I wish people would learn to ease up a bit. They have become so determined to be "non-offencive" that they have become offensive.
But on the other hand the offended ones should be careful that they do not engage in the same behavior that offended them.
However, if I wish someone "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" and they reply nastily with some retort regarding Christmas, I just walk on.
And that is a prime example.
Of course I say the same about people who get in a huff over being wished Merry Christmas as well.
This year anyone who wishes me "Happy Holidays" is getting a "Happy Season" back.
Well, those groups are losing. Saw on tV last night Macy's did a commerical that says Merry Christma and has Christmas about 4 times in the ad. Also a lot of the other stores are reversing their decisons. Why? Because we spoke out people. Saw a poll with the question abgout should we take Christmas out and it was 90+ NO! The voice of the people can be heard but the people have to speak up first.
I'm proud of everyone who sent letters, emails etc to the various outlets. Good for them.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.