About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Your first visit?
Contact us
External links
Good books
Visitor essays
Our forum
New essays
Other site features
Hot, controversial topics
Vital notes

World religions
Who is a Christian?
Shared beliefs
Handle change
Bible topics
Bible inerrancy
Bible harmony
Interpret Bible
Beliefs, creeds
Da Vinci code
Revelation, 666
Other religions
Other spirituality
Cults and NRMs
Comparing religions

About all religions
Important topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handle change
Confusing terms
World's end
One true religion?
Seasonal topics
Science v. Religion
More info.

Absolute truth

Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten commandm'ts
Assisted suicide
Death penalty
Equal rights - gays & bi's
Gay marriage
Origins of the species
Sex & gender
Spanking kids
Stem cells
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news


Religious Tolerance logo

Conflicts at Christmas time:

Conflicts during 2005: Part 2

Canadian municipal declaration
Family Research Council claims victory?
Washington DC activities
Anti-Christmas TV program
Some mega-churches closed on Christmas
Environmental considerations

horizontal rule

Sponsored link.

horizontal rule

This is a continuation from Part 1

horizontal rule

Canada: Oxford, NS makes Christ the reason for the season:

In late 2005-NOV, the Oxford, Nova Scotia town council decreed that December is to be the Christmas season in their town. They also passed a motion that  "Christmas" would be the only name used locally to describe the holiday season. Their rationale was that the "...holiday originated from the birth of Jesus Christ." There may be a problem with the educational system in that province, because the councilpersons appear to be unaware that the holiday actually originated with Saturnalia, a Pagan Roman feast associated with the Winter Solstice. Deputy mayor, Leonard Allen introduced the motion. He said that he hoped that other towns would follow their example, and that the schools would abandon their holiday concerts in favor of Christmas concerts.

On DEC-01, Jon Goldberg, executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Congress, was not impressed. In an interview with the Halifax Chronicle Herald he said: "I'm somewhat taken aback that the town councilors felt they had to legislate in this manner...I can't help wondering what is next. Are they going to legislate that everyone has to go to church on Christmas Eve?"

Noting that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada's constitution, guarantees religious freedom, Goldberg expressed concern that these motions "...could be misconstrued as a diminution of such freedoms." He commented: "As I've said a number of times, we have no objections to the celebration of Christmas. I'm shocked that they felt, as Christians, that they had to use the power of legislation to celebrate such a wonderful holiday." The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's website mentioned: "He says that people in the Jewish community recognize that the majority of the people in the province are Christian and 'we want to work with them and their families toward peace and goodwill, which I believe is the true spirit of Christmas'." 1

b>We suspect that most of the Jewish population in Oxford, NS, will be celebrating Hanukkah on DEC-26 as usual, in spite of the council's decrees. It is the first day of Judaism's Feast of Lights. It is perhaps ironic that Hanukkah recalls the war fought by the Maccabees in the cause of religious freedom.

horizontal rule

USA: Family Research Council reports victory over "the grinches:"

In Tony Perkins' Washington Update newsletter of 2005-NOV-29, he reported:

"There are signs that the pushback against the ACLU and its cohorts is gaining ground. In Boston, the Christmas tree is once again a Christmas tree. The White House yesterday received its Christmas tree carried in a picturesque horse-drawn wagon. And now, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has restored the Capitol Christmas Tree. 'The Speaker believes a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree, and it's as simple as that,' said Ron Bonjean, his spokesman. I thank the Speaker for his forthrightness. FRC has received word that the U.S. Supreme Court will continue the late Chief Justice Rehnquist's practice and erect a Christmas tree in its rotunda. All of these are good indicators that popular resistance to the grinches is having an impact. But many corporations are still knuckling under to the politically correct crowd." 2

Perkins refers to people who want to include recognition of all faiths at this time of year as "grinches." This is presumably a reference to the movie: "The Grinch that Stole Christmas."

However, according to Bob Dart of Cox News Service, there is no constitutional problem with Christmas trees being installed in government buildings, on government land, in public schools, on public school land, etc. He writes:

"Christmas trees -- such as the ones displayed on the U.S. Capitol grounds and behind the White House each year -- have been found by courts to be secular holiday symbols permitted on public property."

If the Family Research Council is correct, then a concerted drive by conservative Christians has defeated the organizations which promote separation of church and state. If Bob Dart is correct, then no problem exists; Christmas trees are secular symbols that can be set up anywhere. 3

horizontal rule

USA: White House sends out "Happy Holiday" cards:

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State noted that:

"The White Houseís 2005 holiday card is just out, and it doesnít mention the word 'Christmas' once.

The card, mailed under the auspices of the Republican National Committee and signed by the president and his wife, reads, 'With best wishes for a holiday season of hope and happiness 2005.' It also includes a passage from the Old Testament Book of Psalms."

"The front cover is an artistís rendition of the White House and grounds covered with snow while the presidential pets, two dogs and a cat, frolic on the lawn. It contains no religious symbolism."

" 'Have President Bush and the first lady joined the so-called war on Christmas?' asked the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. 'Where are the howls of protest from Jerry Falwell? When will he stand up and save Christmas from this mean-spirited, anti-God attack?' "

"Lynn noted that Laura Bush piled on Monday during a White House ceremony unveiling a Christmas tree remarking, 'Well, "all things bright and beautiful" is the theme this year. I think it will be really bright and beautiful with this fabulous tree. But thank you all very much. Happy holidays'." 4

A spokesperson for Laura Bush said that the first couple wanted to be inclusive and respectful of other traditions. 5

Christianity Today magazine held a poll, noting that "Some Christian groups are upset that this year's White House Christmas card says 'holiday' but not 'Christmas.' Does this bother you, too?

They offered three choices:

bullet63% selected "Yes; our culture should stop taking Christ out of Christmas."
bullet23% selected "No; it's okay because the White House card goes to people of all faiths."
bullet14% selected "Christians should lighten up; it's the spirit behind the card that's important."

Christianity Today is the leading Evangelical magazine in the U.S. So, this poll would probably reflect mainly the views of conservative Protestants.

horizontal rule

horizontal rule

USA: Capitol tree renamed:

Each year since the 1990s, a "Capital Holiday Tree" has been installed on the Capitol's West Lawn in early December. In 2005-NOV, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) wrote to Architect of the Capitol Alan Hantman urging that the holiday tree be renamed the "Capitol Christmas Tree" -- its original title. Hasert wrote: "I fully understand your desire to make all holiday displays as inclusive as possible. There are many ways to accomplish this." 5

horizontal rule

USA: Denis Leary's holiday TV program:

Comedian Denis Leary hosted what he called an "Anti-Christmas Christmas special" on Comedy Central, DEC-17. It allegedly contained material denying the virgin birth, and has a skit showing a group of lesbian nuns. The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) is mounting a pressure campaign to have the show cancelled. "...the TFP web site is activating its 35,000 email subscriber network in a massive e-protest, aimed at convincing Comedy Central president Doug Herzog to refuse to air the show on December 17."

horizontal rule

USA: Some megachurches closing for Christmas:

An Associated Press article by Rachel Zoll stated that several megachurches -- including Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, Southland Christian Church in Nicholasville, KY, Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX, and North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA -- will be closed on Christmas day, even though it falls on a Sunday this year. Some of these churches require hundreds of volunteers per service. By shutting down on Christmas, their volunteers will be able to spend the full day with their families. Ms. Zoll writes:

"Critics within the evangelical community, more accustomed to doing battle with department stores and public schools over keeping religion in Christmas, are stunned by the shutdown."

"It is almost unheard of for a Christian church to cancel services on a Sunday, and opponents of the closures are accusing these congregations of bowing to secular culture."

" 'This is a consumer mentality at work: "Let's not impose the church on people. Let's not make church in any way inconvenient'," said David Wells, professor of history and systematic theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a leading evangelical school in Hamilton, MA. 'I think what this does is feed into the individualism that is found throughout American culture, where everyone does their own thing'."

However, they will have additional services on the days leading up to Christmas.

Cally Parkinson, a spokesperson for the Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL noted that few people came to church in Christmas in 1994 -- the most recent year when Christmas fell on a Sunday. She said:

"If our target and our mission is to reach the unchurched, basically the people who don't go to church, how likely is it that they'll be going to church on Christmas morning?" 6

Hector Sabido, a spokesperson for the Mighty Wind Worship Center in Waco TX said:

"We thought it'd be best for our members and our visitors to spend that quality time with their families...We also did that in recognition that we are going to have church services on Saturday evening so we thought that would be plenty for our members to still come and worship the Lord right before Christmas and yet on Christmas Day still spend time with their family." 7

horizontal rule

Environmental considerations of December holidays:

"This is Trueô" operates a neat service. They send a weekly article via Email which describes some of the wackier events in the news. The 2005-DEC-24 edition examined the effect on the environment that various religious celebrations cause at this time of year.


Christmas: Kristi Chester Vance of San Francisco, CA, decided to decorate a Christmas tree in her home. said: "I'm a forest activist, and there's a dead tree in the middle of my house. Geez, if I have a tree, why not nail the last snow leopard to the wall, too?" But, on second thought, she realized that most Christmas Trees are grown in tree lots, "kind of like corn."


Judaism: Another environmentalist, Eric Antebi of the Sierra Club, said: "Allow me to put in a plug for Hanukkah, which celebrates the miracle of a little bit of oil lasting eight days. You've got to love a holiday that's all about energy efficiency." 8

And then there is:


Wicca and some other Neopagan religions: Neopagans typically celebrate Yule at the time of the Winter Solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is often too cold to hold rituals out of doors. Many cast a circle in their home. Their rituals typically involve some consumables: they burn candles; they scatter droplets of salt and water. Compensating for the burning of candle wax, they often turn out the room lights during rituals and save electricity. The water and salt eventually are recycled to the environment. All said, Neopagan celebrations have little impact on the enviornment.

horizontal rule

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Christmas proclamation under fire from Jewish group," CBC News, 2005-DEC-01, at: http://www.cbc.ca/
  2. "Tony Perkins, "Christmas Spirited," Washington Update, Family Research Council, 2005-NOV-29.
  3. Bob Dart, "Right charges war on Christmas," Cox News Service, 2005-DEC-03, at: http://www.theledger.com/
  4. "Have President Bush, First Lady, and Republican National Committee joined 'War on Christmas'?" Newsletter, Americans United, 2005-NOV-30.
  5. Elizabeth White, "Capitol tree gets Christmas moniker back," Associated Press, 2005-DEC-08, at: http://www.phillyburbs.com/
  6. Rachel Zoll, "Some Megachurches Closing for Christmas," Associated Press, 2005-DEC-06, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  7. Chris Severy, "Some churches call off Christmas Day services," KCEN-TV, Waco TX, undated, at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/
  8. Randy Cassingham at "This is True" distributes a free and a premium paid version of their weekly message. See: http://www.thisistrue.com

horizontal rule

Site navigation:

Home > Religious information > Christmas > Conflict > here

Home > Christianity > Beliefs, practices, etc > Holy days > Christmas > Conflict > here

Home > Religious hatred & conflicts > Specific conflicts > Xmas conflict > here

horizontal rule

Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2005-NOV-22
Latest update: 2005-DEC-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)

horizontal rule

Go to the previous page, or to the "Conflict at Christmastime" menu, or choose:

Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Hot, controversial topics

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.