Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"The War on Christmas"

Right-wing media, led by Fox News, has made a big deal in recent years of a so-called secular "War on Christmas." The latest installment from this camp was a recent column from conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg.

I think conservatives have the better of the argument, of course. Every year there are enough “war on Christmas” horror stories to lend validity to the complaints...Incapable of getting around the inconvenient first six letters of the word “Christmas,” more and more people have decided to duck the issue entirely. Increasing numbers of public schools insist on celebrating “winter solstice.” Congress cannot send out “Christmas” cards. The governor of Rhode Island declared that the traditional Christmas tree would henceforth be christened — whoops! I mean called — a “holiday tree.”

Evangelical writer Jim Wallis has a response to this on Sojourners.

The real Christmas announces the birth of Jesus to a world of poverty, pain, and sin, and offers the hope of salvation and justice. The Fox News Christmas heralds the steady promotion of consumerism, the defense of wealth and power, the adulation of money and markets, and the regular belittling or attacking of efforts to overcome poverty.

The real Christmas offers the joyful promise of peace and the hope of reconciliation with God and between humankind. The Fox News Christmas proffers the constant drumbeat of war, the reliance on military solutions to every conflict, the demonizing of our enemies, and the gospel of American dominance.

To his credit, Goldberg denounces the corrosive effect of commercialism on the spiritual observance of the season elsewhere in his column. However, he still seems to confuse the less spiritual symbols of the season (Santa, trees) with the story of the birth of Jesus. The bigger issue is the frequent tendency of those on the Right to confuse disagreement with personal attack.

As is frequently said on Fox, we report, you decide.

--Ballard Burgher

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