Lauren Mayer: No Virginia, There’s No War on Christmas

Even in this rapidly changing world, we can always count on a few annual events – swallows returning to Capistrano, back-to-school sales, and of course the annual Fox News whining about the War on Christmas.  According to their complaints, godless anti-religious socialists are trying to ruin the American way of life by asking that governments, schools, and even – gasp – retailers try to be inclusive.  Pundits point to some horrid city council that decides to replace its annual Nativity scene with a ‘winter’ scene, or stores that use ‘Happy Holiday’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ in their advertisements.

Look, I get it – 77% of the country identifies as Christian, Christmas is a national holiday, and I expect to be bombarded by it for at least a month.  And I’m not offended when a Target clerk wishes me Merry Christmas even as she rings up my Hanukkah candles & cards.  But I also appreciate the occasional ‘Happy Holidays,’ acknowledging that some of us – in fact, 23% of us – don’t observe Christmas, at least as a religious holiday.

And as for the whining about political correctness in schools, try to imagine what it’s like for Jewish or Muslim kids in a class making Christmas ornaments and preparing for a Christmas concert.  Would it be so hard to teach them “Winter Wonderland” or “White Christmas” and save “Away In A Manger” for church?

Sarah Palin is making a whole career move out of this manufactured controversy, with a new book and of course a major book tour, insisting we need to have MORE Christmas and more religious observances in public. In a recent interview she answered a question about other religions being offended by saying, “In my family we have the Menorah out through December on our kitchen table, because I want to teach my children about the Jewish faith.”  Which shows just how little she knows about the Jewish faith: Hanukkah only lasts 8 days, and Menorahs get lit and displayed in a window, not left on the kitchen table like a bowl of fruit. (Besides, that type of comment sounds an awful lot like “Some of my best friends are . . . ”  But I digress . . . )

Anyway, no matter what holidays we observe at this time of year, it’s a good chance to stop and think about what’s important in life, to count our blessings.  So I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, et al, for frequently making my job so easy.


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