Monday, December 24, 2007

What 'War on Christmas'?

While the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue, victory has been declared in a war that has lasted almost as long. Earlier this month, Bill O'Reilly declared victory in the War on Christmas. O'Reilly has led this quixotic struggle against secularists and godless retailers who have replaced "Merry Christmas" with such blasphemous slogans like "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings." Washington Post reporter, Ruth Marcus, mused on the War on Christmas in a column that she wrote earlier this month.

I've been hearing about this "War on Christmas," so I headed to the Heritage Foundation the other day for a briefing from one of the defending army's generals: Fox News anchor John Gibson, author of "The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought." Gibson -- and Bill O'Reilly, his comrade in the Fox-hole -- see this as a two-front war: Assaulting Christmas from the government end, they say, are pusillanimous school principals, politically corrected city managers and their ilk, bullied by the ACLU types into extirpating any trace of Christmas from the public square. Battering the holiday from the private sector are infidel retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart, which balk at using the C-word in their advertising in favor of such secularist slogans as "Happy Holidays."
The assault, Gibson told the Heritage crowd, has reached a "shocking level this year."
After the lecture, I wandered over to Union Station to check out a retail battlefield. Inside and out, the station was festooned with giant You Know What wreaths. A huge You Know What tree, with presents wrapped in red and green underneath, stood in the main hall, near a placard announcing "Norwegian Christmas at Union Station."
A high-tech player piano was playing "Go Tell It on the Mountain," proclaiming the birth of You Know Who; the next selection was You Know Who Else Is Coming to Town. The most generic element was a small sign reading "Happy Holidays," but even then the words were bracketed by reindeer -- and let's just say, they weren't eating latkes. It was beginning to look a lot like You Know What. If the anti-Christmas forces are winning, then the war in Iraq is nothing short of total victory.
Merry Christmahanakwanza