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Has the War on Christmas Gotten Out of Hand and Out of Touch with Reality?

In the days leading up to Christmas, talk of the ‘War on Christmas’ reached a feverish pitch. Yet, while Fox News continued to fuel the flames with an interactive map showing places where “Christmas is under attack,” others, including popular televangelist Joel Osteen insisted the annual anti-fear mongering has gotten out of hand and out of proportion with reality.

Earlier this month, a Salvation Army bell-ringer became a casualty in the so-called war after a woman smacked her for wishing her ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of Merry Christmas.  Christmas warriors also flooded a San Francisco elementary school with hate mail and threats after an untrue story that a child had been suspended for saying ‘Merry Christmas’ surfaced on the web.

“The war on Christmas isn’t funny anymore,” a Christmas Eve op-ed published in SFGate demanded, insisting that when the war rhetoric incites threats and violence to protect the holiday, enough is enough. “Maybe next year, self-proclaimed defenders of Christmas can focus on ways to encourage people to take care of their neighbors and their families instead of yelling about a war on Christmas that doesn’t exist.”

Frank Wooten, assistant editor of The Post and Courier, also encouraged those taken in by the so-called demise of Christmas to look around at the signs of Christmas everywhere this holiday season.

“Before buying the notion that humanist heathens have driven the still-most-celebrated holiday in our still mostly Christian nation into a ragged retreat from Jesus, look around,” he wrote. “There are still numerous Nativity scenes in our community and beyond.”

Yet the biggest recent blow to Fox News and their much reported war came from their own broadcast. Mega-church pastor Joel Osteen admitted during a Dec. 22 Fox interview that it does not bother him when people say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’

“I’ve realized traveling a lot, not everybody believes like me, we’re not all Christians in this nation,” Osteen said. “Even some Christians believe differently, but I’m open to respect everyone and it’s not going to offend me if I pray in Jesus’ name and somebody doesn’t.”

When asked if he believed that there was a group trying to undermine and destroy Christmas, Osteen further stated he was not concerned. “I think there are certain groups that would like to,” he said. “But you know there’s still millions and millions of people of faith … something else is not going to change their minds.”

For their part, Fox News is not backing down, running a story on Christmas Eve about an unnamed Army soldier who was told not to say ‘Christmas’ during a briefing.

“Are they going to have the ‘Merry Christmas’ police going around issuing citations to a soldier who slips and says the word?” the attorney for the soldier Michael Berry said in the Fox News report. “They’re treating Christmas like it’s pornography. As a matter of fact, the Army actually treats pornography better than it does Christmas.”

Photo Credit: Buckeye Impressions/Tim Tonjes

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.