Friday, December 11, 2009

The War on Christmas: a conservative fallacy

With Christmastime fast approaching, most Americans have dedicated their time towards finding gifts for loved ones, decorating the house, and making preparations for the all-important Christmas dinner. For many conservative pundits, however, Christmastime signals a time of desperation, of placing blame on those dirty liberals who like to ruin the holiday season, and of inciting fear among otherwise decent Americans who don't want their religious rights violated.

Even Congressional Republicans, who earlier this year railed Democrats for frivolous bills, are pushing a resolution in the House calling for the holiday of Christmas to be respected (as if it hasn't had the past month and a half dedicated towards it already). One conservative mayor even mused that Barack Obama's speech on Afghanistan was purposefully scheduled to knock Charlie Brown's Christmas Special off the air.

Though quieter than previous years, the campaign against the supposed "War on Christmas" annually waged by conservative pundits like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh continues on this year. Some have even criticized the Obama family for having "holiday," and not Christmas, cards.

Liberals get a bad rap every year for their supposed suppression of Christmas spirit. They get chastised for taking down Christmas symbols on government property or in public parks, and berated for insisting that employees at shopping malls or other centers of commerce say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas."

However, these accusations are, on their face, unfounded. The true liberal "vendetta" is inclusiveness, not intolerance. Symbols on government property must reflect everyone in the community, not just an exclusive religious belief. As such, a liberal in that community might insist that all religious symbols be allowed to be placed on government property, not just a Christian one. When the government refuses a request by another religious belief to place a different symbol on public grounds (when it has already allowed another symbol by a "preferred" belief), it violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Liberals are perfectly content to have a Christian display on state grounds. It's when other displays other than Christian ones are denied that same right that liberals get upset about things.

The issue of replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" is one that is mistakenly blamed on liberalism. If a liberal has a problem with a place of business saying "Merry Christmas," they're not going to do anything about it except take their business elsewhere; and the liberals that do that are far and few between (most liberals are in fact Christian). It's the business owners themselves, not the liberals in the community, that have CHOSEN to say "Happy Holidays" in order to appeal to customers who aren't Christian.

These two points make the "War on Christmas" a conservative fallacy. Liberals have no interest in ruining Christmas, in becoming proverbial Grinches. They want everyone to celebrate the holidays however they'd like. When it comes to the state, it doesn't even bother most liberals when Christian symbols are placed outside city hall, so long as other symbols are allowed that right as well. And if businesses want to say "Merry Christmas," they have that right, too.

So I say to my conservative colleagues: Let's stop the charade already and end the War on Christmas once and for all. After all, no one wants to get coal this Christmas -- or holiday -- season.

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