The Christmas Wars / Christmas Dilemma
Events during 2009, including
the AFA boycott. Part 2
This is continued from Part 1
||2009-NOV-18: USA: The Rutherford Institute explains "The twelve rules
of Christmas:®" The Rutherford Institute is making available guidelines regarding what can and
cannot be legally done in public schools, government offices, municipal
displays, etc. to celebrate the holidays. 3 President John W. Whitehead, said:|
"Whether through ignorance or fear, Americans are painfully misguided about
the recognition of religious holidays. For example, every year we hear many
complaints from parents about school officials banning any reference to the
word 'Christmas.' There is an irrational bias against anything remotely
religious unless it?s sanitized and secularized, and unfortunately far too
many parents, students and teachers erroneously believe they cannot do
anything to celebrate Christmas in the public schools." 4
||2009-DEC-10: CA: Commentary on the two Christmas wars: Muhammed El-Hasan, Business
Writer for the Daily Breeze, posted a commentary about "The two wars on
Christmas." He is referring to both the commercialization of Christmas and the
"Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" conflict. He writes:
"Does it make sense to denounce the business world's blatant exploitation of
Christmas to spur sales, but also decry those same companies for not using the
word Christmas to improve their bottom line? Here we have two competing wars
on Christmas. And it is logically impossible to accept the existence of one
without discounting the other. ..."
"... stores react to us customers and our needs, tastes and
holidays much more than we react to them. If stores mark down an item by 90
percent, we may buy. But what stores put on their shelves, the colors and
symbols they use to decorate and what greetings they utter depend on the
"So if it's Christmastime, there's going to be a corresponding
theme to most sales pitches, even if a store's owners aren't in the Christmas
spirit. Likewise, using the salutation 'Happy holidays' is a way for
businesses to broaden their customer appeal by being more inclusive."
"If the spirit of Christmas is strong in your heart, it comes from your
feelings about this holiday, and not because of a store's greeting or color
"StayAtHomeMom" posted a response to the commentary, saying:
"It was always MERRY CHRISTMAS as I was growing up, so ask your self,
times have changed and so HAPPY HOLIDAYS is a respectable way of noting
everyone no matter who or what you are. That's the world we live in today !
For me it will always be "MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND A GOODNIGHT !!!!! Now go
enjoy this wonderful day filled with lots of sunshine!"
|2009-DEC-10: North America: American Family Association posts "Naughty
or Nice" listing: Each year, the American Family Association sorts
major national retailers into three categories based on their print, radio,
and TV advertisements; the content of their websites; and personal visits to their stores.
The three categories are:
"For Christmas:" 37 companies use the word "Christmas" often.
"Marginalizing Christmas" 14 companies use the word "Christmas"
"Against Christmas" or "Censoring Christmas" 13 companies do not
recognize Christmas but might use the term sparingly in a single or unique
For some unexplained reason, they list Barnes & Noble as both "marginalizing" and
"against" Christmas. Amazon.com is "for" Christmas. Borders is not listed.
Many companies use the terms Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings
in order to be more inclusive and recognize that Americans celebrate different
religious and secular days at this time of year. By using a generic term that
includes Christmas, the AFA rates the company as being "Against Christmas."
Some readers of the AFA Naughty or Nice listing posted comments. The most
recent 10 when we reviewed the list were:
||"Thanks again to the AFA for showing us a list of good businesses that don't
push religion on their employees, customers, and just anyone who drives or
walks by their business. I'll make sure to ONLY shop in the right column this
season. Freedom of religion requires freedom FROM religion. Thank you AFA for
this help!" [The right column lists companies that the AFA rated as
||I'm relieved to hear that Dish Network has no problem with keeping Christ in
Christmas! I was a bit concerned for a while since I have several friends who
work for Dish and they uniformly state that Dish treats it's employees like
S#! . I'm glad Dish understands that its more important what you say than in
how you act. I'm relived that I can now give my money to such an upstanding
representative of Christian mores. Thanks AFA!
||How can you consider Walmart Christmas friendly when they informed their
employees not to say merry christmas to shoppers at all so as not to upset
anyone who might not celebrate christmas. When i said Merry christmas to a
cashier i was told not to say that in walmart. You should check out the
employee lounge for the notice i have been told is posted there.
||Thank you for providing this list. Keep up the good work. Merry Christmas everybody!
||Remember Christ chose to associate himself with sinners in order to show them
the love of God. I say go to these stores and sing religious Christmas songs
while you are shopping.
||To the "bashers" out there, do some research. The USA is, by most conservative
estimates, 85-90% CHRISTIAN!! Why should such a large number of people, myself
included, silently stand by and watch a holiday that we means so much to us
get diluted by the few cry babies out there who get so easily "offended". Not
to mention the numbers of Atheists and Jews who celebrate Christmas in one
form or another this time of year? It's ALWAYS been called Christmas, get over
yourselves and enjoy it! I'd be completely fine with any store that wants to
put up a Happy Hannakuh sign next to a Merry Christmas sign. Why not? Jesus
was raised Jewish! lol [Actually, only about 70 to 75% of American adults
identify themselves as Christian]
||So many small minds. How feeble your spiritual conviction must be in order to
be so offended that some company says "Happy Holidays!" instead of
semantically propping your favorite religion specifically. You do realize that
there are other religions, right? What's wrong with treating them equally?
||We only shop Nice List stores.
||My wife works at Bass Pro and I can tell you this list is BOGUS! GAP ran one
ad with Christmas, not enough for me to move them! BOYCOTT!
||You know, when I say "Happy Holidays", I mean "Christmas and every other
Winter holiday", not "every Winter holiday but Christmas". 6
||2010-JAN-10: Google's policy: Google's "Help Forum"
contains a running debate about "Why does Google only wish "Happy
holidays" and never "Merry Christmas"? |
"Patrick9E" asked the question:
"For the entirety of Google's history (including this year) they put up a
variety of Christmas-themed logos between approximately December 22 and
December 25, but they say "happy holidays" and not "Merry Christmas"!! What
other holiday occurs between Dec. 22 and 25?? Why must Google be so
politically correct? "Merry Christmas" is one of the most popular greetings
in the world! This is ridiculous, why is Google forcing me out of the
Among the answers:
||"why hide from Christmas, or try to pretend there is no such
holiday? it is very offensive, stupid, and sad."
||"I'm not even Christian, but I still celebrate Christmas, and I hate
that it's being ignored and avoided just because of its potential
religious connotations. Like it or not, Christmas is on December 25, and
almost 97% of Americans celebrate it (with similar numbers around the
world), so why must Google insist on ignoring its existence?"
"Merry Christmas! And Happy Holidays to all! I'm no holy roller, but
Jesus was born December 25th! Religion aside, this is a fact, and
Christmas is essentially a birthday party for Jesus!"
||"What is not healthy is the utter disdain of anything Christian. It
is not about being politically correct. This is about putting down our
country's Christian heritage. Merry Christmas! Christ Jesus the savior
was born for all men and especially the lowly: let us rejoice
||"They probably say Happy Holidays because then don't say happy
Hanukkah, Sabbath or whatever all these events are called. so saying
Merry Christmas would be choosing Christianity as the religious view for
Google, and being a major corporation that would be a pretty unfortunate
thing to do. Beside that I've come to understand that Jesus Christ was
born during the summer, and the celebration on 24th or 25th of December
was a way to meld the heathen and the Christian celebration together."
||"Google is run by Satanists. Simple!"
||"It's a fact. Jesus is the whole REASON we have the
celebration. You say Merry Christmas in the spirit of the celebration
and it's THE reason for Christmas. If you say Happy Holidays, you are
no doubt denying there is even a reason to celebrate. It's crazy. If
you aren't going to say Merry Christmas then don't say anything.
Saying Happy Holidays is like someone saying, Have a good day, when it's
really YOUR BIRTHDAY."
||"Because Google workers are big Obama supporters = bunch of
communists who don't like religion even when talking about a religious
holiday. Christmas is about CHRIST. Period. MERRY CHRISTMAS to the
crazies at Google who leave out Easter too."
||"... the last days of Advent or the Nativity Fast, Christmas Eve,
Christmas Day and some years the Winter Solstice 冬至 (dōngzhÃ¬) and Yule
occur between Dec. 22 and Dec. 25. This past decade, many have become
http://en.wikipedia.org/) as more governments and businesses
experiment with "politically correct" messages. Like any unconventional
use of language, this can seem contrived or worse, as in Patrick's case,
it may be perceived as a direct challenge to tradition. In fact, the
purpose is to show the greatest possible respect for all people,
every day of the year, regardless of anyone's religion, nationality
"A review of the other replies to this question will demonstrate how
necessary and yet daunting the task can be. It is a terrible mistake to
frame this issue in the context of a struggle between two particular
religions which both recognize Jesus, as so many respondents here have
done. I'm neither Christian nor Muslim, but I thank Google for their
well intentioned, if awkwardly expressed sentiment. Given the teachings
of Jesus, it's a sad irony so many professed followers spread animosity
in this venue over the holidays, despite their faith: Gloria in
excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Glory to
God in the highest and peace on earth, goodwill to all people."
I posted the following note on 2010-JAN-10. Since it was a personal posting, I
expressed my own ideas -- something that I don't do often on this website:
"Internal evidence in the Bible concerning the rotation assignments of priests at
the Jerusalem Temple seems to imply that Jesus was born in the Fall. Thus, Jesus
was historically not the reason for the season."
"Dec-25 was chosen by the Church because the people of the Roman Empire were used
to celebrating Saturnalia at that time -- a holy day related to the
Unconquerable Sun. When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman
Empire it was easier for the leadership to switch the date to a new observance
than to create a separate holy day."
"But to go back to the original 'reason for the season' it is the time of the
Winter Solstice. The solstice typically comes on Dec-21. By Dec-25, the length
of the daytime was noticeably getting longer, and so was chosen for the holy
"On the topic of 'Happy Holidays' vs. 'Merry Christmas,' this comes down to a
decision whether to promote Christian triumphalism or the Golden Rule."
"If you feel that companies should recognize Christianity as the country's
preferred religion, and if you cannot persuade them to do so on the basis of
logic and historical data, then by all means boycott them in order to force them
to say Merry Christmas. However, resorting to a boycott, as some fundamentalist
Christian groups have decided, is really a confession of failure. Also it
reinforces the common belief among Americans that Christians are known mainly
for what they are against, not what they are for."
"If you want to exercise the Golden Rule, then by all means say
and urge companies to do so also. This would recognize the
in the country by being inclusive. There are lots of
religious and secular
groups who celebrate days at this time of year. 'Happy Holidays includes them all'."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
OneNewsNow.com Poll, 2008, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
The ADF website is at: http://www.alliancedefensefund.org
"The Twelve Rules of Christmas,?" Rutherford Institute, 2009, at:
"The Twelve Rules of Christmas??Guidelines for Christmas, Thanksgiving Holiday Celebrations," Rutherford Institute, 2009-NOV-18, at:
Muhammed El-Hasan, "The two wars on Christmas," Daily Breeze, 2009-DEC-01,
"Naughty or Nice?," AFA, as at 2009-DEC-14, at:
"Would you be willing to boycott stores that refuse to use the word
'Christmas'?" AFA, 2009-OCT-08, at: http://action.afa.net/
"Gap responds - Should the boycott end or not? You decide. Gap ad compares
Christmas to pagan "Solstice" holiday," AFA, 2009-NOV-17, at:
"Gap responds with ad disrespecting Christians," AFA, undated, at:
"AFA ends boycott of Gap, Old Navy - see the ad," American Family
Association, 2009-NOV-30, at:
"Patrick9E," "Why does Google only...," 2009-DEC-21, at:
Copyright © 2009 & 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2009-DEC-14
Latest update: 2010-JAN-10
Author: B.A. Robinson