The war on Christmas resurfaces
Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012
Updated: Sunday, December 2, 2012 19:12
It’s that time of year again. Now that the elections are over the holiday season is upon us, and it is time once again for Fox News to inform its viewers about the “War on Christmas.”
Every single December without fail, Fox & Friends, The O’Reilly Factor and The Sean Hannity Show focus the bulk of their programming on the supposed war being waged on people’s ability to say “Merry Christmas.” They sell bumper stickers that say things like “We say Merry Christmas” and have ridiculous segments with crazy people dressed like Jesus who wish to put the “Christ” back in Christmas.
Most of the programming they have during December, however, are stories about city celebrations that feature a “holiday tree” or about a court case which barred the city from featuring a nativity scene at their holiday festivities.
So of course this is all just a silly ploy for ratings — fear mongering to make viewers think that their Christianity is in danger. It isn’t, but Bill O’Reilly yelling at Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island about the “holiday tree” they’re featuring at the Statehouse this year makes for good television.
My almost home state of Rhode Island seems to be at the center of the “controversy” every year, particularly since Chafee became governor two years ago. Now of course calling it a holiday tree is ridiculous, but Chafee seems to almost crave the attention. There are ways to be politically correct, but surely there are better ways to do so than to rename a Christmas tradition.
The madness was even worse last year when during the Republican presidential primaries candidates who had long lost front-runner status had tried to get it back by talking about Barack Obama’s war on Christianity and Christmas (I’m looking at you, Rick Perry).
This “War on Christmas” meme is purely a function of December being an otherwise slow news month. With the elections over and politicians not really doing much until the session starts again in January, the season is really lacking for sensationalist news. This particular year the “fiscal cliff” provides ample fuel for melodramatic news coverage, but that wasn’t enough for Fox. They need the “War on Christmas” too.
However, no one needs to worry about these secular politicians and media folks waging a war on Christmas. Christmas is still able to be celebrated without any trouble, and this isn’t going to change any time soon. Governments can’t have overtly Christian celebrations of the holidays without the ACLU filing a lawsuit on separation of Church and State grounds, so if the worst they have to do is call the Christmas tree a “holiday tree” I’m OK with that.
If the alternative would be no Christmas celebration at all, is this really such a big sacrifice? Is it really worth the annual fear mongering on Fox and Friends?
Personally, I don’t think so. There are bigger problems the country has to face than whether a nativity scene is allowed to be displayed in Pawtucket, R.I., and it’s about time the media realizes this.
Keene is a junior majoring in political science, economics and public policy.