Is there a war on Christmas? If so, how should we respond? Is it time for a new crusade to take back Christmas from the infidels? Should we invest our time, money and energy to engage this war, take no prisoners, and defeat the ACLU and all the enemies of God and Christmas?
The announcement of this war has come primarily from Tim Wildmon and the AFA (American Family Association) through the AFA media arm, One News Now, a helpful source for what is going on in government that threatens religious freedom.
I receive regular emails from One News Now with powerful evidence of this war on Christmas. It is primarily an effort by America’s retailers to replace Merry Christmas! with Happy Holidays! and AFA’s effort to force them to reverse that policy and put Christmas back in their ads, on their websites, and in the mouths of their employees. With threats of boycotts, naughty and nice lists, and appeals to the heads of these companies, the AFA has succeeded in getting numerous companies to put Christmas back in their stores. Is that a victory for Christmas and Christians? And retailers who refuse, such as Radio Shack, are listed for boycott. Is this the way to fight for our Lord?
Back to the question at the top, Is there a war on Christmas? If you mean, are America’s retailers moving toward the full secularization of the holiday and minimizing or ignoring the meaning of Christmas, Yes! No doubt! But that was true 50 years ago too! What’s happening now is that retailers are tracking the culture and no longer see the need to pay lip service to Christmas! But many are willing to retreat a few steps if it will get the AFA off of their back and get a few more customers in the store.
But the bigger question is this: Should true believers, who love Christmas for what it truly is, the celebration of the Incarnation and the birth of Jesus… should we fight to keep this at the heart of the holiday economy? If so, how? Should we threaten non-Christians to pay lip service to Christ and reward them for their hypocrisy? Should we be demanding and go on a crusade to take back the ground lost to the secularists?
How foolish and misguided!
A recent USA Today article, Not all Christians believe there is a ‘War on Christmas’ featured several Christians who tried to make the case that there is no war on Christmas. Rachel Held Evans recent and rather simplistic flowchart, Are you being persecuted? sought to counter AFA claims. She is right that the greeting “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” is hardly in the category of persecution. She may be naïve about the threat of persecution in America today, I don’t know. But when there is persecution, how should we act?
Tim Wildmon responded To those who say there is no war on Christmas with convincing arguments that there is. But whether or not there is a war on Christmas misses the point. The bigger question is how we live in an increasingly secular society. Do we demand that secularists do it our way? Is that our best witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I say No!
I’m not advocating that we neglect our place at the table of public policy. I’m not suggesting that we remain passive as government at all levels seeks to silence Christians, a growing concern with numerous examples that truly threaten religious liberty. I praise God for Christian attorneys who challenge the efforts by schools and other government entities to silence believers.
But do we best exalt Christ and honor his birth by threatening boycotts against companies who don’t say Merry Christmas? Or are we salving our guilty consciences from our own sell out to secularism, thinking that we somehow honor Jesus by only buying from stores that use Christmas in their ads instead of holiday?
Somehow I don’t think Jesus would join this boycott and waste any energy calling attention to the problem. Have we forgotten that the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world (2 Corinthians 10:4)? Aren’t we off mission when we give our energy to such things?
I was discussing this with my student ministry pastor recently who helped me turn the question toward a more positive response. Our war should be against consumerism and greed in our own lives, not demanding that the world baptize greed with religious terminology to please us. How about a call for generosity and simplicity? How about deemphasizing the focus on getting more stuff that we don’t need and focusing on the gift God has given that we really need, Jesus? How about we stop fussing and expending our energy on expecting the world to bow to us and concentrating on loving Jesus and sharing His love?
Now, I have to get to the store and buy stuff for my family so they will know I love them!
Happy Holidays Everyone! Oops! I mean, Merry Christmas!