Contrary to the claims, there is no organized effort to shunt Christmas to the sidelines, and if there were it would likely be a) by Christians, offended by the crass commercialization of the holiday, and b) considered a complete failure by now. With the backward creep of "Black Friday," and the appearance of Christmas trimmings starting to appear in August in some places, Christmas is more visible than it ever has been.
In my opinion, the success of this faux crisis came about in a perfect storm of a number of elements:
- Conservative outrage over challenges to religious displays on public property.
- Conservative paranoia toward the ACLU, atheism, "secularism," and diversity.
- Conservative antipathy toward anything deemed to be more "inclusive" or sensitive to other beliefs.
- Occasional overboard actions or reactions by individual school administrators or jurisdictions. A declaration that the word "Christmas" be struck or replaced from a musical program, and the like. Outliers depicted as a trend, in other words.
- The tendency of conservatives to feel like a victimized minority, even though they're statistically part of the majority (read: heavily white and Christian).
- A strange confluence between the "Put the Christ back in Christmas/reason-for-the-season" sort, and the prosperity gospel, "greed-is-good" modern-day conservative base, resulting in an orgy of consumerism that must be labeled CHRISTmas!
- A populace with a limited memory, and the difficult-to-pin-down origins of the perennial "Seasons' Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" phrases.
O'Reilly claims that those two phrases were a plot, in the last 10 years or so, to supplant the word, the concept, the holiday of Christmas. This is of course, preposterous. I'm 47, and have a good memory. I know for certain that both phrases were being used in the early 70s. I'm positive they go further back. Back then, the only controversial wording was "X-Mas," and even that is misunderstood (the "X" is actually a cross, folks). So right off the bat, we know that O'Reilly is blowing smoke: the phrases have been on greeting cards and in ads for decades now. I have a program from our school winter musical, in festive, snow-capped letters, reading: "1978 Winter Holiday Concert!" That's 35 years, Bill, and it included Hava Nagila. [Story continues below]
So, we should be able to conclude that there is no conspiracy, and if there were, it isn't working. But let's flip it, shall we? Why should we take O'Reilly's side, and be forced to say "Merry Christmas" from late November until (presumably) New Year's? Why "merry" and not "happy," "festive," "joyous" or "groovy?" Why does the Christmas holiday--one day, incidentally--get to override every other holiday (and holiday party, and gift exchange, and work gathering, and Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve), with the insistence that "Merry Christmas" is the only proper and legitimate greeting? It's preposterous, as well as a little too precise when you want to wish someone a happy holiday season, rather than just the one day.
I'm no longer Christian, but I was raised one. I still celebrate Christmas, and when I can, take off the whole week. I'm not offended by the phrase "Merry Christmas," and believe me, most people aren't. Not even Jewish, Muslim or atheist people. People taking offense are almost entirely fabricated, part of this phony-baloney "war." You might find a nutty activist, trying to ban the word in some Podunk school system in Backwater, Pennsyltucky. But not a movement. FOX "News" is fighting a straw man. . .snow man?