Really, guys, come on.
I am soooo sick of hearing fundamentalist Christians and their media supporters claim they're being persecuted and victimized. And of course, since JC's birthday is rolling around once again, the lamentations have hit fever pitch.
Among the most egregious ululators is Fox's Bill O'Reilly. (My husband watches his show out of pure amusement, and I catch myself eavesdropping.) O'Reilly has complained about the limited observance of Christian holidays in public schools and other institutions run by the government. I disagree with him that Christmas should be celebrated unquestioningly in the public sphere, however I do think some schools and other institutions have gone too far in quashing Christmas solely to keep from offending non-Christians.
That said, O'Reilly's biggest complaining this year has been reserved for retailers. He claims many of them are perpetuating the "war on Christmas" by not mentioning the holiday by name in their advertisements and stores. I don't have any problem with retailers mentioning Christmas in their promotional materials; I mean, it's actually to their advantage to promote Christmas sales, right?
But O'Reilly is missing the boat when he focuses on retailers' failure to mention the big holiday by name as the greatest transgression. In my view, the retailers' (and O'Reilly's) spectacular promotion of consumerism at the holiday season is what really detracts from "the true meaning" of Christmas. For O'Reilly to fret over the name of the holiday is irresponsible when (a) the most meaningful aspects of Christmas are being trampled by an orgy of consumption and (b) this consumption is certainly driving many of his viewers into considerable debt (which supposedly is against Republicans' traditionally conservative financial platform).
What would Jesus do? Certainly not watch O'Reilly or shop at Wal-Mart.
On meanings of Christmas, I like the sentiments expressed here.