Fighting the Good Fight?

December 16, 2005

The Associated Baptist Press has a great article on the Christmas "war": Is the 'war on Christmas' worth fighting against?. It quotes several people about the "war." Here are the thoughts of a couple.

Charles Haynes, First Amendment scholar at the Washington-based Freedom Forum, argued, "I think that they are -- many of these examples -- are distractions from the real issues; I think they are red herrings. Or red and green herrings."

He added: "The examples about Wal-Mart not using 'Merry Christmas' in its ads, Lowe's putting up signs that say 'holiday trees' … they're reacting to a kind of political correctness on the left, if you will, that has made us all more sensitive to our religious diversity. ... But this religious correctness from the other side is equally ridiculous, you know -- somehow telling people by saying 'happy holidays' they're anti-Christian."

He also argued, "We're not talking about the religious Christmas here. That's one of the strangest things about this; we have people saying they are religious people … defending the secularization of Christmas. ... And they're not saying they want stores to really focus on Jesus this year, [they're] saying, 'No, we just want stores to continue to exploit the Christian faith and use the birth of Jesus to sell things …. One of the oddities of this whole debate is that here you have these folks defending the commercialization of Christmas. It's like defending the Easter Bunny -- that it's anti-Christian if you don't have the Easter Bunny. ... You'd think they'd be jumping up and down and saying, 'Great! You can have your Easter Bunny and your darn tree and let us keep Jesus!' But no!"

Brent Walker, executive director of the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, stated, "There's nothing wrong with calling it what it is: a Christmas tree. And it is perfectly appropriate to extend a specific holiday greeting such as my Jewish friends do when they wish me a 'Merry Christmas,' and I return a 'Happy Hanukkah,'" he said in a recent commentary on the subject. But often it's quite appropriate to wish another 'happy holidays' or 'season's greetings.' It's just a matter of good manners and common courtesy. If I am talking to a person whose religious affiliation I do not know, I will employ the more general greeting. And the same goes for merchants who have advertised goods to Americans of many religious traditions who may or may not celebrate Christmas."

Walker and others have suggested that Falwell's 'Friend or Foe' campaign is simply an effort to increase fund-raising efforts.

It would be nice if Christians would quit fighting so hard on this issue and start focusing on just worshipping Jesus this Christmas season. We are sending the wrong message with this "war." The reason for the season is not shopping but Jesus!