The War on Christmas?


The term “Christmas” or its religious aspects was being increasingly censored, avoided, or discouraged by a number of advertisers, retailers, government (prominently schools), and other public and secular organisations.

Controversy has arisen regarding the celebration, throughout the holiday’s history. In the 17th century, the Puritans had laws forbidding the celebration of Christmas, unlike the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church, the latter of which they separated from. With the atheistic Cult of Reason in power during the era of Revolutionary France, Christian Christmas religious services were banned and the three kings cake was forcibly renamed the “equality cake” under anticlerical government policies. Later, in the 20th century, Christmas celebrations were prohibited under doctrine of the state atheism in the Soviet Union.

In the USSR, the League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, and encouraged them to spit on crucifixes as protest against this holiday; the League established an anti-religious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement. Likewise, in Nazi Germany, “because Nazi ideologues saw organised religion as an enemy of the totalitarian state, propagandists sought to de-emphasise—or eliminate altogether—the Christian aspects of the holiday” and as a result “propagandists tirelessly promoted numerous Nazified Christmas songs, which replaced Christian themes with the regime’s racial ideologies.”

Modern-day controversy, often associated with use of the term “war on Christmas”, occurs mainly in countries such as the United States, Canada, and to a much lesser extent the United Kingdom. This often involves objections to government or corporate avoidance of the day’s association with Christianity in efforts to be multiculturally sensitive. In some cases, popular aspects of Christmas, such as Christmas trees, lights, and decorating are still prominently showcased, but are associated with unspecified “holidays” rather than with Christmas.

The controversy also includes objections to policies that prohibit government or schools from forcing unwilling participants to take part in Christmas ceremonies. In other cases, the Christmas tree, as well as Nativity scenes, have not been permitted to be displayed in public settings altogether. Also, several US chain retailers, such as Walmart, Macy’s, and Sears, have experimented with greeting their customers with “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” rather than with “Merry Christmas”. Some opponents have denounced the generic term “Holidays” and avoidance of using the term “Christmas” as being politically correct.

Personally, I’d rather be able to wish people a Merry Christmas this week without having to worry if they’ll be offended. I’d also rather have people wish me Happy Hanukkah, Happy Diwali or Eid Mubarak when those holidays come around. It makes me feel more a part of their celebration. If we need a generic holiday, we have already got the New Year, which touches all people and cultures.



source: Lowe, Scott C. (2011). Christmas. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1444341456. On the mainland, seventeenth-century Puritan New England had laws forbidding the observance of Christmas. The Christian groups who broke with the Catholic Church and the Church of England deemphasized Christmas in the early colonial period.

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