The War on Christmas

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


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Of course, Wallis’ 40 year career of religious and political activism reveals his understanding of Christianity as a protest movement against American imperialism, a demand for coercive wealth redistribution, and steadfast pacifism.  In contrast, the defenders of traditional Christmas understand it as a celebration of a divine savior come to save a sinful world.   The Religious Left is usually too busy for salvation, and largely thinks only wealthy imperialists are sinful.

Wallis insists “making sure that shopping malls and stores greet their customers with ‘Merry Christmas’ is entirely irrelevant” to the birth of Jesus.  Instead, the “consumer frenzy” is the real “blasphemy,” citing $450 billion reputedly spent on Christmas.  Has Wallis pondered how many millions of poor people around the world are probably employed producing goods for Americans selfishly celebrating Christmas?  And is a holiday centered on gift giving really the most sinister use of money?

Even taking a swipe at Christmas trees, Wallis denounces them and other greenery as “borrowed from ancient Roman and Germanic winter solstice celebrations, assimilated and co-opted by the church after Constantine made peace between his empire and the Christians.”  So there you have it. Christmas hoopla is actually the idolatrous fruit of Constantinianism, the ultimate bugaboo for pacifist Religious Leftists.

Wallis somewhat resembles the old English Puritans who forswore Christmas as a papist holiday without roots in Scripture.  But at least the Puritans believed in a transcendent power beyond government and rejected utopia.  They industriously created their own wealth and did not demand entitlements from others.   Wallis cites the Magnificat from the Virgin Mary, which foresees Jesus having “lifted the lowly…and sent the rich empty away,” and which he sarcastically comments Fox News would condemn as “class warfare.”  Then Wallis concludes:  “So if there is a war on Christmas it’s the one being waged by Fox News”

Who are the “lowly” and who are the “rich?”  Fox News watching working class shoppers at Wal-Mart who prefer “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays” may indeed better qualify as “lowly” than the multiculturalist elites ensconced in the commanding heights of culture who sneer against religion and cultural traditions.

A pastor and religious editor blogging for the Huffington Post echoes Wallis’ suspicions of popularized Christmas celebrations.  Rev. Skye Jethani berates Christmas as aholiday of dubious origin,” that the Puritans “correctly” thought was a “pagan festival now masquerading as a Christian one.”   He faults Santa Claus for becoming a “marketing juggernaut for retailers” who touted Christmas for profits.  And Rev. Jethani laments that “conservative Christians” who defend Christmas merely illustrate their own sad “captivity to consumerism.”   So bah humbug!

Maybe the holier than thou Religious Left purists can escape all the American consumerist nastiest by slipping down to the closest Occupy Wall Street demonstration on Christmas morning to drink free trade coffee.  But most Americans, along with hundreds of millions around the world, most of whom are quite poor, prefer robustly to celebrate a Christmas full of “dubious” cultural symbols and even some lavish gift giving among family and friends.  To all of the unsophisticated consumerists, rich and poor, who choose tradition over elitist snobbery:  Merry Christmas!

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  • BS77

    Religious Left….now there's an oxymoron….a real contradiction in terms.

    • http://baersart.com Jane Larson

      yes, why don't they simply not go to church?

  • John_Kelly

    Funny how the illustrious Commander in Chief Obama (PBUH) claims to be a Christian but NEVER makes a single comment to defend anything connected to Christianity or Christian traditions.

    Obama was quick to defend Major Nidal Malik Hasan the MUSLIM TERRORIST who slaughtered 14 American soldiers.

    Obama is quick to celebrate the EID Muslim Festival (ending Ramadam) in the White House but NEVER will this despicable liar speak up to defend Christians who are being slaughtered by Muslims in Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, Dafur etc

    Obama is a chronic liar and the only way to deal with SUCH a liar is to work from the premise that EVERYTHING HE SAYS IS A LIE.

    • Asher

      Muslims don't care about honor, they are all about deception, Whatever it takes to dupe the enemy.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Everything, exactly so John, everything……………….William

  • Scotty

    Jim Wallis and his ilk would strip all the joy from the lives of the faithful to impose a particular species of politicized religition that he thinks is Christianity. What an unhappy person he must be.

  • Scotty

    *religion*

  • meekee

    Christmas is for christians .. who cares if other denigrate it? As long as the attempts by the government and leftists are rebuffed and christian beliefs are protected in law, who cares? We KNOW Jesus came to save the world.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Lucky for us Christians that God judges the heart but says nothing about what is in
    the billfold. Charity is at it's peak during the Christmas and Haunakkah celebrations.
    Having a good time and a celebration is anathema to leftists like Wallis if it does not
    promote leftist/communist agendas, he is a social fraud, leftist churches are there
    to destroy tradition, American historical context and faith in our Nation…….William

    • Asher

      International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, Salvation army, and other Charities have done well with contributions from Christians who have good hearts and do care about others welfare, not just having a good time or going to parties.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        You are exactly right…………………………..Merry Christmas………………William

    • John_Kelly

      William thanks for the many thought provoking and challenging comments you continue to post on this site.

      Keep up the great work and I sincerely hope you have a very happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Thank you John, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.
        Conservative individualists like yourself make for a better future for our
        posterity, the future can be free for America and together we can work
        towards that……………..Regards…………………William

  • Eric G

    Wallis' campaign reminds me at least somewhat of the Nazi promotion of "Positive Cristianity", which focused on the historical Jesus as a character in a story but ignored his divinity (too passive) and rejected his Jewish heritage (too mercantile).

    • meekee

      Yes, that is an accurate comparison .. the intrinsic values of Christianity provide too much of a barrier to the ambitions and schemes of the leftists.

  • tanstaafl

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

  • Josh

    I am an observant Jew and I’m wishing everyone Merry Christmas.

    Christmas is not a holiday that my family observes or directly participates in, but it is America’s national holiday and it’s about cheer, treating your fellow human well, and some religious stuff that isn’t mine but isn’t bad. I’m happy to say it just to challenge the political correctness, too. I’ve been saying Merry Christmas to my doctor, my rabbi (orthodox, like me), the mail man, and every person I meet. It feels good.

    Dear Christian friends, thank you for the holiday.

    Josh

    • UCSPanther

      And I hope you had a safe and happy Hannukah.

    • intrcptr2

      Chag Sameach, Josh!

      thanks

    • mlcblog

      Bless you, Josh!! Happy and blessed New Year to you and yours.

    • Papadakis

      Happy Hannukah Josh :)

    • Asher

      May everyone celebrate this Christmas and be blessed in some way through the spirit of Good and Compassion for mankind.

    • John Kelly

      Shalom Josh & Happy Hannukah.

      Numbers 6:24 – 27
      יברכך יהוה וישׁמרך׃
      יאר יהוה פניו אליך ויחנך׃
      ישׂא יהוה פניו אליך וישׂם לך שׁלום׃
      ושׂמו את־שׁמי על־בני ישׂראל ואני אברכם׃

  • http://baersart.com Jane Larson

    I'm Swedish-American…in my heritage, Christmas celebrations incorporate the pre-Christian "Yule" and why is that wrong? Christianity didn't arrive to a blank canvas culturally, it simply grew on the people who converted. Protestantism is Catholism with the influence of Pre-Christian Northern European more gender-equal cultures. what is wrong with that…we used the best of both with the most recent (Christianity) being the most important to our hearts.

    • Northanhymbre Heathen

      Good points here – I still celebrate the old Heathen Yule, going from Modraniht on the solstice eve, through to New Year's Day, but I still wish people a Merry Christmas, because that's what most other people are celebrating at this time of year!

  • Fred Dawes

    Its a WAR Some want to win for one reason to take down this nation and place it inside islam

  • Ben

    BS77- 'religious left… oxymoron"- what about churches that support left movements,trade unions,Palestinians,anti-capitalist`s "social justice"?
    I prefer the conservative atheists who don`t see believers and religios as their enemies,who hate leftist propaganda and power and see the free capitalism as the driving force of the contemporary world.

    • BS77

      Most of the these so called progressive leftists use the church as a "moral" platform to promote irreligious Marxist indoctrination, income redistribution, socialism, Orwellian brainwash, compulsory conformism….you know, the same bleak world of the 1950s East Germany, North Korea, Romania under Ceaucescu ….most leftists are willfully ignorant people…they are like little children playing with matches.

      • Northanhymbre Heathen

        Many of the churches over here (UK) are supporting the "Occupy" movement and coming out as anti-capitalists, since they appear to see a leftist stance as somehow more "moral". It's all rather twee, overly polite and shallow really, with nobody wanting to state the obvious, either about the poor history of socialism in solving any actual social problems (not to mention its persecution of religion), or about the distinctly immoral behaviour of many of the protestors. Ho hum…

  • sedoanman

    "…the ongoing absurdities of the 'War on Christmas,' which sometimes even include banning green and red from classrooms."

    Apparently blue is OK, which is kinda ironic: blue is the color of Advent, which demonstrates that the schools almost never know what they are doing.

  • mrbean

    Bah Humbug! Are there no debtors prisons? All these moochers expecting a handout from me? Christmas is just a scam to sell toys with inflated prices to spoiled little brats who have to much anyway. Bah Humbug. It is beyond doubt that Christmas was originally a pagan festival. The time of the year and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin. Isis, the Egyptian title for the "queen of heaven," gave birth to a son at this very time, about the time of the winter solstice. The term "Yule" is the Chaldee (Babylonian) name for "infant" or "little child." This pagan festival not only commemorated the figurative birthday of the sun in the renewal of its course, but it also was celebrated (on December 24) among the Sabeans of Arabia, as the birthday of the "Lord Moon."

    • meekee

      You are indeed a knowledgeable person and I thank you for that information. However, all that is in the past when the Church commandeered pagan festival occasions and superimposed Christian rituals on the pagan feasts. This fact does nothing to demystify the miracle of the birth of Jesus as the Son of God. If you do not believe it, pity on you .. you may need it one day.

    • Ghostwriter

      You must really like Ebeneezer Scrooge,don't you,mrbean? He had your attitude. Hopefully,it won't take three ghosts to change your mind.

    • Loupdegarre

      Actually Christians were celebrating the Epiphany, that's where the Magi arrived and proclaimed Jesus King of Kings and Lord of Lords, around the same time as the pagan festivals. It is fixed on January 6th by the Orthodox Church so it appears what the Christians did was start their celebration on the 25th of Dec and ended it on the 6th of Jan. This is where the 12 Days of Christmas comes from. Jesus was probably born around Sept 21st but the Magi arrived in Judea about the 25th of Dec and found the Holy Family on the 6th and made their proclamation to the world. It's like receiving a birth announcement; they always come after the fact. So it appears what we actually celebrate at this time of year is the announcement to the world of Jesus' birth and the proclamation by the Magi of him being King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

  • http://Vnnforum.com Deshawn

    Yeah so despite your attempts to sensor me, I’m back. Hey christians: you know that the war on christmas is led by satanic zionist jews, right? they hate you goyim and consider you cattle. Most so called atheists are actually jews. you never hear them complaining about jew decorations in public, do you? Yeah that’d right. Keep sucking up to these parasites, foolish goyim. They will stab you in the back eventually.

    • UCSPanther

      It seems evil in the form of scum like Deshawn never sleeps, not even around Christmas.

      This clown has real nerve calling himself a "christian" considering that #1, Christianity was an offshoot of Judaism and #2, Hitler himself hated Christianity and was planning to make it share the same fate as the Jews once his "Reich" was established.

    • UCSPanther

      I'm also LDS as well, bottomfeeder, a church that stands proudly for Israel.

    • meekee

      People as deluded as you obviously need help and prayers, so PBUY.

    • ziontruth

      DeSchutzstaffel,

      "Hey christians: you know that the war on christmas is led by satanic zionist jews, right?"

      Yes, as proved by Josh's post above. /sarc

      "Keep sucking up to these parasites, foolish goyim. They will stab you in the back eventually."

      You shouldn't post here so much. It cuts off your time for licking Mohammedan derriere.

    • Nakba1948

      Deshawn, you're an idiot.Your inane Jew-hatred is as ridiculous as the Islamophobia the loons on this website express for Muslims and Arabs. Judaism and Zionism aren't the same thing. Real Judaism rejects Zionism. You only feed the paranoia of the neocon crowd here by spouting this sort of racist nonsense. Get a clue.

      • ziontruth

        Shorter Nakba1948: "Hey Deshawn, could you just tone down the truthful face a bit? You're making it difficult for me to hide my Jew-hatred under the mask of anti-Zionism!"

  • Ghostwriter

    I'm not a religious person but I enjoy Christmas. I'm not offended by Christmas decorations and I enjoy them. Scrooges like mrbean and Deshawn are idiots who wouldn't know anything joyful if they were both hit in the head with a candy cane. Also,Deshawn's disgusting antisemitism has no place here. Those who want to take away or ban Christmas are a bunch of hardhearted creeps who have too much time on their hands. I'm going to enjoy Christmas in spite of you pinheads. Oh,and Merry Christmas all the same.

  • mlcblog

    I have had many a terrible Christmas because of dysfunctional all-American family issues, but I wouldn't trade this holiday for anything. How great is a national holiday of giving?!!

  • Papadakis

    The left's glossy, pastel-colored narratives may seem all rah rah multicultural "respect all cultures" but one theme always runs counter to this "we're just fluffy bunnies" image they put out there which is they hate Christian culture or anything derived or associated with Christian culture and attack it at every opp. People can say ah lighten up, but I say no because that's Cultural Persecution this Willis jerk is openly engaging in and he and people like him deserve contempt and rebuke not "tolerance" which is short for tolerating their calls for persecution and erasure of my culture. What's this guy gonna say next – I can't celebrate Christmas in my own home cause I might offend someone? This Willis guy is taking lessons from the Salafists. He's preaching "moderate" Islam. 'Keep it out of sight, Christians' he seems to be saying. Dude, that's Islam.

  • Papadakis

    *Wallis…whatever thy name is mud.

  • Papadakis

    Ok, my last comment was a little out there, but seriously I don't see Wallis writing articles about the Copts. If he even knows about them cause he probably gets his news from MSNBC or yahoo or Oprah something. Instead, no he's cooped up all cozy in his safe, trendy anti-America echo chamber, with his lobotomized gaggle of intellectually-inbred commenters all singing a one note tune in response like they are praising the Fuhrer under pain of death or something: "OMG, like Jim, that's so rad dude. Down with America bro, right on. Fight the power." Meanwhile, what's happening in Egypt demonstrates just how irrelevant and narcissistic Jim Willis' choice of topics really is. Is that being a good Christian? Living in a comfortable, myopic, self-obsessed, intellectually-hedonistic bubble?

  • Asher

    There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
    Born in Judea of Bethlehem, Luke 2:11 The Lion of the Tribe of Judah Reigns. The Light shines through the darkness, and the Dark has never been able to put it out.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    For those who are wondering were all of the anti-Christian and anti-Jewish
    ranters have gone and why they are not plying their hate today, it is simple.
    They are at the North Pole getting their sacks of coal and will then be on their
    way to North Korea to honor the dearly departed Satan elf Little Leader.
    Surely though as the Sun shines they will be back………………….William

  • Ray Czar

    Pilate said to Him, Then you are a King?

    Certainly I'am a King! That is why I was born, for this
    cause, to bring truth into the world!

    All who love the truth are my followers!

    Merry Christmas to all truth lovers!

  • Flowerknife_us

    It really must irk Mr. Wallas to know that so many people, take one special day, in a massive redistribution of wealth he has no say over Given the volume of wealth so cheerfully and willingly redistributed suggests that his opinions and like minded followers comprise an increadibly small number. Even the "leftist" interests seek a winfall to their cause at this time of year.
    If ever the need comes for a new Grinch to steal CHRISTmass- Wallas is a prime canidate

  • elihew

    Jim Wallis is a 'professing' Christian. He wouldn't know true Christian doctrine if it jumped out and bit him on the behind. He's just another heretic.

  • ebonystone

    At least one of the PCMC Left's strategies in the war on Christmas seems to have been given up on as a failure; namely Kwanza. This supposedly "African" holiday period, actually dreamed up by an American professor some 40 years ago as a black holiday alternative to Christmas, has been getting less and less publicity every year, and this year I didn't see a single article or story about it. Its demise is no loss.

  • dpking

    Merry Christmas