Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Good Manners Don't Constitute a War on Christmas

I’ve watched the religious right’s campaign against the so-called war on Christmas with a combination of amusement and dismay.

If I understand this correctly, they’re upset because some of us use the word "holiday" instead of "Christmas" in verbal greetings and cards. They’re organizing boycotts against stores that advertise holiday specials and railing against schools that call their December vacation a winter break instead of a Christmas vacation.

And now, they’re mad at their favorite president.

Excuse me while I pick myself off from the floor. It turns out that I actually agree with George W. Bush for once.

According to the Washington Post, Bush and family sent holiday greetings to 1.4 million of their very close friends, wishing them a happy "holiday season."

From the Post:
Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."
Not only does the card contain the allegedly offensive "holiday season," but the cover is down-right secular. It shows the president's pets, two dogs and a cat, "frolicking on a snowy White House lawn."

Why did the Bushes do such a thing?

From the Post:

"Certainly President and Mrs. Bush, because of their faith, celebrate Christmas," said Susan Whitson, Laura Bush's press secretary. "Their cards in recent years have included best wishes for a holiday season, rather than Christmas wishes, because they are sent to people of all faiths."
In other words, George and Laura, along with millions of the rest of us, are doing nothing more evil than exercising good manners when we wish people a happy holiday season.

From the Post:
But the White House's explanation does not satisfy the groups -- which have grown in number in recent years -- that believe there is, in the words of the Heritage Foundation, a "war on Christmas" involving an "ever-stronger push toward a neutered 'holiday' season so that non-Christians won't be even the slightest bit offended."
Ah, now I get it.

The REAL problem is that we (and George and Laura, at least this time) are considerate of other people’s feelings. I wonder if it’s time to talk about the religious right’s War on Manners or would it be more appropriate to call it their War on Compassion?

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