War on Christmas

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War on Christmas

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Author: Marty Martorella

   There was a time when Christians objected to the commercialization of Christmas. Some thirty years ago there was a real concern that too much emphasis was being put on retailers making a buck rather than on the real meaning of Christmas. For many the holiday has become nothing more than an excuse for self indulgence. In today’s world Christmas has become little more than a holiday and the Christmas tree has become a holiday tree with many material goods under it. In this sort of Christmas there is little room for Christ and without Him all we have is a holiday.

   There are those who are trying to make political points by claiming that there is a war on Christmas. They say that because some retailers have greetings that say happy holidays rather than Merry Christmas. It would seem that some are more caught up in the merchandizing of Christmas than in the message of Christmas. Such is the case with the opportunist Bill O’Reilly who put this spin in it.

The O'Reilly Factor, with guest and fellow Fox News host John Gibson about “which American stores are using 'Christmas' in advertising this Christmas season and which are not.” Gibson is the author of “The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought.”

O'REILLY: “We continue our reporting on which American stores are using “Christmas” in advertising this Christmas season and which are not… Again, our litmus test is which operations are using the greeting “Merry Christmas” in their advertising and which are not.” … “it's all part of the secular progressive agenda … to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square.” He then added: “[B]ecause if you look at what happened in Western Europe and Canada, if you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs.” Media Matters

   Mr. O’Reilly is missing the point that Christmas is not about saying “Merry Christmas” but about Jesus coming to save the world. If he realized that the answer to all the world’s ills are found in Christ and not in saying the magic words of “Merry Christmas” or in having a profitable Christmas, maybe he would not have been caught in those scandles.

   It should not be a surprise to anyone that market place is unlikely to display the true message of Christ. For Jesus was not about making money but rather about reaching out to the lost and broken world. The Christ that I know would feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and offer shelter to the homeless. He would go to those who need Him most, instead of the self-righteous and the rich. He would not have attack those who suffer the most in their lives. Jesus would have healed the sick free of charge. He would not have worried about those with a different life style. He would treat the aged with respect and dignity. He would show love to the world, for He came not to condemn the world rather to save it. So, He would reach out to this sick and dying world with hope and a vision of a new life. I say all this because He is the God of love who brings the promise of brighter tomorrows. Maybe the problem is not whether people say “MERRY CHRISTMAS” but rather it is that far too many say it void of Jesus Christ.

   I was wondering why O’Reilly and Fox was spinning this so much until it came out that they were using this to promote Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. Now I have no problem with anyone wanting Alito, but to use this dishonest ploy should be a red flag to everyone.

This year, some conservative groups hope to add a new name to that pantheon of heroes: Judge Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court nominee.

“Liberal groups like People for the American Way and the ACLU have opposed public Christmas and Hanukkah displays and even fought to keep Christmas carols out of school,” declares a radio commercial paid for by the conservative Committee for Justice. The ad began running Monday in Colorado, Wisconsin and West Virginia, states whose senators are considered pivotal votes on Alito. . . .

The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the Christmas appeals were “just political pandering.” Link

   Using Christmas or Christianity to promote a political agenda is the same as taking the Lord’s name in vain. It is as much profane to use God for ones own desires as it is to use profanity with a reference to God. This poll asks for your opinion as to such misuse of Christmas and Christianity.







Focus on the Family Reported a related story which calls for the boycott of Target stores:

The American Family Association is launching a boycott of Target stores this Thanksgiving weekend in response to the retail giant’s ban of the Salvation Army at their stores and the phrase “Merry Christmas” from their advertising. Target spokesperson, Carolyn Brookter says it’s true, the Salvation Army is not allowed to solicit in front of their stores. The ban started last year.

   This is verified at Urban Legends. I wrote Target to ask why they had banned the Salvation Army, this is their reply however they never answered the question as to why.


Dear Marty,

We notified the Salvation Army in January 2004 that we would no longer allow the seasonal bell ringers due to our no-solicitation policy which ensures a distraction-free shopping environment for all our guests. Our policy decision remains unchanged.

This holiday season, Target has teamed together with the Salvation Army to create  Target/Salvation Army Wish List, an online site to provide essential items for those impacted by recent hurricanes, and other individuals and families in need across the country. From November 25, 2005 through January 25, 2006 visitors to Target.com/salvationarmy can view and purchase clothing, household items, personal products and Gift Cards to be donated to families across the country. The Salvation Army will distribute the purchased items. 

Although we don’t allow the placement of kettles outside of our stores, our support of the great work that the Salvation Army does in local communities continues and we have explored innovative fundraising initiatives that benefit their work. In fact, Target was the primary underwriter of “Shelter From the Storm,” an entertainment fundraising event, which recently raised more than $30 million, with proceeds going to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army for hurricane relief.

Target provides grants to faith-based organizations, including the Salvation Army, to be used for non-religious purposes such as programs providing food and shelter. Through our Take Charge of Education program, we've provided millions of dollars in support to parochial education. Any tax exempt organization that meets our guidelines for giving may apply for a Target grant. Any information you’ve heard that Target doesn’t give to faith-based Christian and Jewish organizations is simply untrue.

Target supports the work of many local Salvation Army chapters across the country under our corporate grants and giving guidelines. Here are a few examples of grants provided to local Salvation Army chapters in 2005:
- Monroe, LA – Educational Services Organization
- Passaic, NJ – Salvation Army Family Enrichment (SAFE)
- Dallas, TX – Domestic Violence Prevention Program
- Phoenix, AZ – Domestic Violence Shelter
- Monterey Bay Peninsula, CA, - Building Confident Families

If you’d like to donate to the Salvation Army personally, just call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visit their Web site at Salvationarmy.org.

Thanks for taking the time to share your questions, thoughts and comments.


Jennifer Hanson
Target Executive Offices

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