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Operation: Just Say "Merry Christmas" - News

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Christmas Is Gone -- In More Ways Than One
War on Christmas Will Continue for Years
U.S. House Votes 372-9 to Pass Resolution Supporting Christmas and Christianity

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Christmas Is Gone -- In More Ways Than One     Date added: 12/30/2007
  Christmas Is Gone -- In More Ways Than One

March 2005

When your Editor was a kid in the 1950s, at Christmas time, he always heard the refrain, "Let's Put Christ Back in Christmas." Back then, Christmas had become commercialized and consumerized, and it's gotten much worse since then. Now the "Season's Greetings" displays often go up in the stores before Halloween.

But at least back then, virtually everyone said "Merry Christmas." But nowadays to say that to someone you don't know to be a rather serious Christian is risky. Now people say "Happy Holidays" instead.

We noticed that when President Bush, reputed to be the most religious president ever, spoke recently at a December news conference, he said "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas," not once but three times. President Bush is a macho guy, but still he doesn't want to offend people needlessly. Yes, President Bush is willing to offend people -- a good sign in a politician -- but not with something so trivial, shall we say, as Merry Christmas. That even President Bush says "Happy Holidays" should tell us Christians about the sorry state of Christmas.

On the other hand -- but not really -- there's a new A.M. radio station nationwide called Air America. It's hard Left. Every host we've heard is quite hostile to Christianity, but not to Islam or Judaism. They don't much like "conservative" Catholics, but they truly hate "fundamentalist" Protestants. (The worst offenders are the gentile hosts; the Jewish hosts tone it down a bit.) There are of course the usual station announcements, and in the month of December it was "Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year." Of course they didn't really mean have a Merry Christmas. It was really a clever taunt. That secular Lefties would mockingly say "Merry Christmas" is just another reminder of the sorry state of Christmas.

But every other radio station says "Happy Holidays," as do the commercials. Businesses, above all, don't want to offend potential customers -- the Salvation Army was banned from Target stores -- and for many businesses it is the month of December that keeps them out of the red. Indeed, for our national economy, the month of December is usually make or break.

So Happy Holidays has basically replaced Merry Christmas, which appears to be some kind of obscenity for many people. But does Happy Holidays really cut it? In mid-December, your Editor got a haircut. My barberette is Oriental. Did I wish her Happy Holidays? No. Did I wish her a Merry Christmas? No. Rather, I asked, "Are you a Christian?" She said, "No, I'm Buddhist." So I said, "I can't wish you Happy Holidays." She said, "That's right." I detected an inscrutable note of appreciation.

In December on National Public Radio there was a commentary by a fellow -- identifying himself as a believing Christian -- who had an uncommon idea. Instead of trying fruitlessly to put Christ back into Christmas, he said, let's take Christ out of Christmas. Enough of this profanation. The capitalists have thoroughly colonized Christmas, so let it be the secular holiday it has already become. The fellow suggested that we put our religious energies into Easter. Maybe he has a point.

That Christ was born in a manger is interesting, but that He died for the sins of those who believe in Him and that He rose physically from the dead is what Christianity is all about. As St. Paul said: "if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins" (1 Cor. 15:17).

If we serious Christians want to take Christ out of "Christmas," what would happen? Would it be rough on the kids? Would it save Christian parents a whole bunch of stress and strain? Would it even save some marriages? Would Christians avoid the whirl of so-called Christmas parties?

So shall we let them have their Winter Solstice, their Kwanzaa, or whatever? If we Christians take Christ out of "Christmas" -- basically forget all the "Holiday Greetings," as the Buddhists do -- we could avoid the merry-go-round atmosphere, but could we also slyly put Christ back into Christmas in our families? Or is that utterly utopian?

In any case, let us put Christ into Annunciation Day -- March 25, exactly nine months before Christmas. Annunciation Day announces the Incarnation of Christ as well as the conception of Christ. It's interesting that Christ was born, but it's much more interesting that He was conceived, because it makes a statement that life begins at conception and that abortion is a heinous crime. Can we please build up this holy day? We can guarantee you that the capitalists and the multiculturalists won't come anywhere near Annunciation Day.

War on Christmas Will Continue for Years     Date added: 12/26/2007

December 26, 2007

Persistence paid off for Frances Burke, a senior resident of Bayside, New York.  For many years, the Bayside Hills Civic Association refused Burke's request to include a nativity display in its annual holiday celebration which included a menorah and tree lighting ceremony at the public park. 

This year, however, Burke teamed up with the Thomas More Law Center, a national Christian public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which seeks to restore public acknowledgment of the religious significance of Christmas. As a result, for the first time in its history, the Bayside Hills Civic Association prominently displayed a nativity scene as part of its holiday celebration.  

The Law Center was assisted in its endeavor on behalf of Burke by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which donated the nativity display, and New York Councilman Tony Avella, who assisted with obtaining the proper permits from the New York City Parks Department. 

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Law Center, commented, "Frances Burke's perseverance and willingness to fight for the nativity display and against the Civic Association's discriminatory practice is an example to all Christians.  There is a clear and growing trend among municipalities, public schools and universities, major commercial establishments and corporations to secularize and even ignore the reason for celebrating Christmas - the birth of Christ.  As long as groups like the ACLU exist, the War on Christmas will continue.  The antidote to the ACLU is more Frances Burkes."

Earlier in the Christmas season, the Thomas More Law Center armed its 500 pro bono attorneys with a legal memorandum on how to deal with local issues surrounding the celebration of Christmas by public entities. Each year the Thomas More Law Center handles scores of inquiries and disputes regarding the recognition and celebration of Christmas.  Many of these cases, like the Burke case, are favorably resolved without recourse to court action.  

Robert Muise, the Thomas More Law Center attorney who handled Frances Burke's case stated, "A crèche depicts the historical origins of Christmas, which has long been recognized as a National Holiday.  To exclude this one passive symbol from year-end holiday displays demonstrates hostility toward the Christian faith."

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at

U.S. House Votes 372-9 to Pass Resolution Supporting Christmas and Christianity     Date added: 12/13/2007
  U.S. House Votes 372-9 to Pass Resolution Supporting Christmas and Christianity
December 13, 2007

On Tuesday, the U.S. House passed a resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith by a vote of 372 to 9. Nine members voted against the resolution, ten refused to support it by voting "present," and 40 others members did not vote.

All but two of the representatives voting "present" or against the Christmas Resolution voted in favor of a resolution recognizing Ramadan, which passed by a 376-0 vote in October. The Ramadan Resolution stated that the House "recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world...expresses friendship and support for Muslims...acknowledges the onset of Ramadan...and conveys its respect to Muslims...rejects hatred, bigotry, and violence directed against Muslims...commends Muslims... who have privately and publicly rejected interpretations and movements of Islam that justify and encourage hatred, violence, and terror".

The Christmas Resolution uses similar language, stating that the House recognizes "the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world...expresses continued support for Christians...acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith...acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization...rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians...and expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world".

The nine members who voted against the Christmas Resolution were all Democrats: Ackerman (NY), Clarke (NY), DeGette (CO), Hastings (FL), Lee (CA), McDermott (WA), Scott (VA), Stark (CA) and Woolsey (CA). The 10 who answered "present" without entering a vote were also Democrats except one: Conyers (MI), Frank (MA), Holt (NJ), Payne (NJ), Pence (Republican from IN), Schakowsky (PA), Schwartz (PA), Wasserman-Schultz (FL), Welch (VT) and Yarmuth (KY).


Poll: 1 in 8 Britons Know Christmas Story in Depth


A new survey by the public theology think thank Theos has found that only 12 percent of adults in Britain have detailed knowledge of the Christmas story.

Sat, Dec. 08, 2007 Posted: 08:38:28 AM EST

LONDON – A new survey by the public theology think thank Theos has found that only 12 percent of adults in Britain have detailed knowledge of the Christmas story.

The poll asked 1,000 adults questions about the Christmas story as narrated in the Bible and found that the vast majority – 73 percent – were familiar enough with the ”classic elements” of the Christmas story such as the appearance of an angel to Mary or the birth of Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Substantial gaps in knowledge of the Bible story appeared, however, when the questions probed more deeply. While 48 percent of those polled were able to identify John the Baptist as Jesus’ cousin, only 22 percent knew that Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s massacre of the innocents.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Theos Director Paul Woolley said: "These findings provide us with a good snapshot of our national relationship with Christianity. They show that the Christmas story, in its classic formulation is still very much in our cultural blood stream, as indeed is the Christian story as a whole.

"However, when you probe in any depth, you discover that our knowledge and understanding is rather more shaky.”

The poll also found that knowledge of the Christmas story varied with age. The youngest people questioned (aged 18-24) knew the least about the story of the birth of Jesus, with only 7 percent knowing the correct answers to all the questions asked. Middle aged people (aged 55-64) were found to know the most, with 18 percent answering all questions correctly.

"The fact that younger people are the least knowledgeable about the Christmas story may reflect a decline in the telling of Bible stories in schools and the popularity of Nativity plays,” said Woolley.

Biblical literacy also varied from region to region, with those living in the Midlands emerging as the most knowledgeable in the Bible, followed by Wales and the South West, the South East and Northern England respectively. Scotland knew the least about the Christmas story with the lowest average number of correct answers given.

Unsurprisingly, the poll found that Christian churchgoers knew the story best with 36 percent answering all questions correctly, compared with only 5 percent of atheists.

"No-one seriously thinks that being a Christian or a member of the established Church is the same thing as being British today. But, at the same time, if we are serious about social cohesion we can't afford to ignore the stories that have bound us together as a culture for a thousand years,” said Woolley.

"Any attempts to down-play the Christmas story in order to help social cohesion are likely to be counterproductive."

Earlier in the week, The Times reported the findings of a Saga Populus survey, which found widespread concern among people in Britain over the age of 50 who feel that traditional Christian practices have been downgraded “out of a sensitivity to multi-culturalism.”

Among those polled, 85 percent protested the replacing of “Christmas” lights with “winter” lights by local authorities and the fact that nativity plays were being replaced by non-religious performances, the London-based newspaper reported.

The poll results were announced as Conservative MP Mark Pritchard led a debate in Parliament in which he complained of “Christianophobia” in the United Kingdom, directing his attack at the “politically correct brigade” in particular.

He said that attempts to marginalize Christian traditions in British life had “gone far enough” and spoke of his desire to “recognize and protect the Christian tradition of this nation”.

Maria Mackay
Christian Post Correspondent

'Naughty or Nice' List Advises Christians Where to Shop for Christmas     Date added: 11/15/2007

'Naughty or Nice' List Advises Christians Where to Shop for Christmas


This Christmas season, whether a store greets you with “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” makes all the difference where you should do your shopping, says a Christian legal group.

Wed, Nov. 14, 2007 Posted: 08:24:48 AM EST

This Christmas season, whether a store greets you with “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” makes all the difference where you should do your shopping, says a Christian legal group.

Liberty Counsel is urging Christians to fight back to save Christmas from being erased from the public sphere by shopping at stores that honor instead of disregard Christmas.

The Fla.-based legal group released the first draft of its “Naughty & Nice” checklist Monday to advise consumers on which businesses to support.

Businesses and retailers are placed on the “Nice” list if they recognize Christmas and on the “Naughty” list if they censor or exclude the Dec. 25 holiday.

“Every consumer should make a list and check it twice, stop patronizing retailers which are naughty and shop at those which are nice,” said Mathew D. Staver, the group’s founder and chairman.

“Retailers which seek to profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist should realize they have offended the vast majority of Americans who enjoy Christmas,” added Staver.

Home Depot was among the stores that made the “Naughty” list. Phrases such as “Holiday Gift Center” and “Holiday Decorations” adorn the store’s website without any mention of Christmas. Even Christmas trees are simply described as “Artificial Trees.”

Other business on the “Naughty” list included K-Mart, Nordstorm, Best Buy, Gap, Sprint, and Office Max, among others.

Some “Nice” businesses included Amazon, Macy’s, JC Penny, WalMart, and American Eagle Outfitters.

“Customers have a choice,” said Staver, “and they will not patronize corporate Scrooges.”

The list was released as part of Liberty Counsel’s fifth annual Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign, in which the group is pledging to be a "Friend" to those entities which do not censor Christmas and a "Foe" to those that do.

The “Naughty or Nice” list was compiled from information gathered by individual consumers and is updated whenever new information is received.


Supreme Court Won't Review New York City Ban on Nativity Scenes in Public Schools

Tuesday , February 20, 2007


The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided not to review a New York City policy that bans public school displays of nativity scenes but allows Santa Claus, reindeers, Christmas trees and symbols of Jewish and Islamic holidays.

The nation's highest court chose not to re-examine an appeals court decision against the claim filed by Andrea Skoros, a Roman Catholic mother of two sons who attended public schools. She first filed the case in 2002 in Brooklyn federal court.

Skoros had claimed that the city's policy promoted and endorsed the religions of Judaism and Islam and conveyed a message of disapproval toward Christianity.

The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded last year that no objective observer would believe it was the city's purpose to denigrate Christianity, even if the Department of Education erred in characterizing a Jewish menorah and an Islamic star and crescent as secular symbols.

Instead, the court said, the actual and perceived purpose of the holiday display policy was to use holiday celebrations to encourage respect for the city's diverse cultural traditions.

The policy affects more than one million students enrolled in 1,200 public schools and programs in the nation's largest public school system. City public school students speak 140 different languages and more than 125,000 students are enrolled in programs to learn English.

Cardinal Bertone Defends Nativity Scenes
by Redacción
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2007 ( The Nativity scene is a work of art that promotes fraternity and friendship, and should not be feared, says the Vatican secretary of state.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone made these statements today when visiting the Nativity scene built by Rome's street sweepers. He commented on recent controversies before Christmas over the presence of religious symbols in public places.

The cardinal said: "No one should fear the Nativity scene; it is a sign of fraternity, intimacy and friendship that harms no one.

"This year there were those who feared the Nativity scene, and it seems, did not want it in schools, cities or public places."

Cardinal Bertone added that the scene "is a memento for those who believe and those who do not believe, an invitation to an intimacy of families and also to a positive relationship with God."

The Nativity scene of Rome's street sweepers, located near the Vatican and open year-round, was built in 1972.

He said of the work: "Every symbol is beautiful and it is also beautiful to recall, as the author of this Nativity scene does, the whole biblical history prior to the Lord's birth, therefore, the whole of Jewish history."

THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS, AND CHRIST, IS REAL     Date added: 01/01/2007

The war on Christmas, and Christ, is real


Tim Heffron

Heffron lives in Roanoke.

It's amazing that the rantings of a lunatic can be passed off as good media. It's even more amazing that the lunatic making the rantings claims to be doing it for good or even noble causes. Such are the rantings of that well-known, or maybe not-so-well-known editorial page editor of The Roanoke Times, Dan Radmacher. Okay, so that was unfair, but your condemnation of Bill O'Reilly is of the same vein ("Christmas bullies manufactured this 'war on Christmas,'" Dec. 17).

No I do not agree that O'Reilly manufactured the war on Christmas. There is ample evidence of its existence, and your diatribe is just a small scuff on the surface.

The war is plainly evident when stores block their employees from wishing Merry Christmas rather than allow the smallest possibility that shoppers be reminded the meaning of this season.

The American holiday is not St. Nicholas or Santa Claus day; it's not the Kwanzaa season; it's not the Official Celebration of Winterfest; it is not the End of Year Shopping Extravaganza Sale Season! It is in fact the celebration of the birth of the savior of the world, Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

We celebrate the birth of the Messiah, the Emanuel, the promised one of God, the King of Kings! That is the meaning of the season. Only a bigot would decry the well-wishes of Christians who want to herald his coming and include all men and women in their joy at his birth and the fulfillment of the promise of God.

It is not insensitive to wish Merry Christmas any more than it is harmful and insensitive to wish someone a good day. It is wishing them happiness and a share in the joy of the season. Denying the right to say "Merry Christmas" is bigoted. I don't think it is harmful or insensitive if a Jewish person wishes me Happy Hanukkah, or a Muslim wishes happy Ramadan, or an atheist wishes me a good day. All are positive greetings and wishes.

The war on Christians has not ceased since the appearance of Christ at his birth, and so you should feel you are doing nothing worse than Herod or the Pharisees did in persecuting Christ and his church. But at the same time, that is not what humanity is called to, is it?

If you want to truly be progressive and open-minded, you should welcome the sharing of all cultures. In the great melting pot that America is supposed to be, it seems only radical liberals want to silence viewpoints. They claim openness, but their hypocrisy is astounding.

You may not feel called to visit a church this Christmastime, but you should feel welcome to do so if you like. Similarly, I would hope you would feel open to share your deeply held beliefs with anyone around you. Denying that to others is truly a shameful act, and I would hope you might change your tone regarding Christians who love their faith and want to share their joy.

Do not take it as an assault (though I know some zealous people do present it that way). Pope John Paul II used to say that "the Church proposes, it does not mandate." Faith to be true must be held in the heart. It is not something that can be forced upon someone the way communism is.

Love is a decision and a response to the love we received from God through creation and through human beings. It is not the irresponsible acceptance of perversions of the human condition. So your viewpoints should be open to be presented. However, in love it is not anyone's responsibility to accept your viewpoints as worthwhile or as good.

Discrimination is good, while prejudice is bad. It seems discriminating between good and bad is to liberals the gravest of sins. I guess for the godless it is the presentation and proof of truth and goodness which most infuriate them. I don't know their reasoning, but it seems the denial of all that is good and wholesome is the only road for those who deny God.

Anything else would point them inevitably toward God, who is the source of all goodness, and since they hate him because they can't be him, they can only choose to be his opposite.

Go figure.


The crib is a simple way of remembering Christ, says Pope


ICN -- Vatican City -- Pope Benedict has encouraged Catholics to set up cribs as "a simple and eloquent way of remembering Christ".

Speaking to pilgrims in St Peter's Square during his General Audience yesterday, the Holy Father said: "It is my hope that such an important element not only of our spirituality, but also of our culture and art, continues to be a simple and eloquent way of remembering Christ."

Pope Benedict also urged Christians to defend the spirit of Christmas against secular trends.

"False prophets continue to offer cheap salvation which ends up in deep delusions," he said.

"It is the duty of Christians to spread through a witness of life the truth of Christmas, which Christ brings to every man and woman of good will."

"Today many consider God irrelevant. Even believers sometimes seek tempting but illusory shortcuts to happiness. And yet perhaps even because of this confusion, humanity seeks a saviour, and awaits the coming of Christ," the Pope said.

The Holy Father wished pilgrims a 'Happy Christmas' in seven languages.

The Silence of St. Joseph in a World Full of Noise

December 25, 2006

In remarks to the faithful prior to praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI considered the figure of St. Joseph. Addressing thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled how the evangelist Matthew presents the saint as the model "of the 'just' man who, in perfect harmony with his wife, welcomes the Son of God-made-man, and watches over His human development."

He added: "For this reason, in the days prior to Christmas, it is more important than ever to establish a kind of spiritual dialogue with St. Joseph, because he helps us to experience fully this great mystery of the faith."

John Paul II was greatly devoted to St. Joseph, said the Holy Father, and left us a meditation dedicated to him in the Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer), in which the late Pope "particularly stressed the silence of St. Joseph; a silence permeated by contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of complete openness to the divine will. In other words, St. Joseph's silence was not an expression of interior emptiness, but on the contrary, of the fullness of faith that he carried in his heart, and that guided his every thought and deed.

"A silence through which Joseph, together with Mary, safeguarded the Word of God and continually compared it with the events of Jesus' life; a silence interwoven with constant prayer and with unreserved trust in Divine providence. It is no exaggeration to say that from His 'father' Joseph, Jesus learnt — at a human level — the vigorous interior life that is a premise of true justice, the 'superior justice' that one day He would teach His disciples."

Benedict XVI concluded: "Let us allow ourselves to be 'infected' by St. Joseph's silence! We need it greatly, in a world that is often too noisy, that does not favor meditation or listening to the voice of God. During this period of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior meditation, in order to welcome and safeguard Jesus in our lives."

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