Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Great Defence of Christmas

O'Reilly's War, originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

Or...The Big War In Bill O’Reilly’s Mind

The Great Defence of Christmas
The Big War In Bill O’Reilly’s Mind

O'Reilly's making big noises about this "War On Christmas" inside his head. Here are two of his “Talking Points” from December 6 and 7 of just this week. Here’s December 6th:

"Christmas Humbugs Strike Back
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
By Bill O'Reilly
The humbugs strike back on Christmas: that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
As you most likely know, there is a very small minority of Americans who want Christmas out of the public square, but they've made big inroads into America's most revered tradition.
However, Christmas is making a come back. Some companies who used to avoid saying "Merry Christmas" have reversed themselves. And all over the country, lawsuits are being filed to keep Christmas on public display.
That's not playing well in the secular progressive movement, which wants to diminish Christmas and all vestiges of Christian power. The SPs realize that to get gay marriage, legalized drugs, euthanasia, and other parts of their agenda passed, they need to marginalize religious forces. That is what is behind the assault on Christmas in the USA.
Over the weekend, some liberal newspapers stepped up to the plate. The Baltimore Sun said, "Groups such as the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State say Christmas is under no threat from them or anyone else."
Well, that's reassuring! Thank you, Baltimore Sun!
The Richmond Times Dispatch editorialized, "To hear some voices — Bill O'Reilly's, for instance — Christmas lies under siege. To refer to Christmas vacation as 'winter break' in no way demeans the occasion."
Of course not, Richmond Times. Not calling Christmas vacation Christmas vacation doesn't demean it at all.
But the absolute best comes from the most enthusiastic secular newspaper in the country, The New York Times, our pals. Editorial writer Adam Cohen, who met a — never met a secular cause he didn't like writes, "The Christmas that Mr. O'Reilly and his allies are promoting -- one closely aligned by retailers, with a smackdown attitude toward nonobservers fits their campaign to make America more like a theocracy, with Christian displays on public property and Christian prayer in public schools."
Of course, Mr. Cohen has no idea what he's talking about. I don't have a smackdown attitude toward nonobservers. They can do what they want. I don't care. I don't want a theocracy. And I don't want Christian prayers in public schools.
But Mr. Cohen is not interested in the truth. He wants to demonize. He wants Americans to believe this whole Christmas campaign is to promote Christianity.
What "Talking Points" is really promoting is respect, respect for a holiday that's celebrated by 95 percent of Americans. It's insane to diminish Christmas. It's also wrong.
Most Americans love this federal holiday and they don't want it tarnished by nutty far left fanatics. Get that, Adam?
More than 100,000 of you voted in our poll, which asks, will you shop at stores that do not say `Merry Christmas'? 81 percent said no. Nineteen percent said yes.
So the secular progressives are going to lose the fight. But as I said, they're not happy about it. And they'll do what they always, attack.
And that's "The Memo."”

And now December 7th:

“What Christmas Controversy?
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
By Bill O'Reilly
Writing in The Los Angeles Times, wise guy columnist Joel Stein has declared there is no war on Christmas. That's the far left line, that religious nuts have fabricated a Christmas controversy in order to turn the USA into a theocracy. And The New York Times printed that opinion last weekend.
So far, we've also seen this nonsense in The Baltimore Sun, newspapers in Orlando and Richmond, and now The L.A.Times. I'm sure that's all coincidental.
The L.A. situation is interesting. The Times' parent company recently let go of the paper's editor and editorial director, two men who had turned The Times into a far left brochure, causing circulation to plummet.
The new people at The L.A. Times seem to be trying. And the paper has become more fair in its presentation. But now, Stein has mucked it all up. Here's what he wrote today.
"In fact [John] Gibson and fellow Fox anchor Bill O'Reilly are so upset [about the Christmas controversy' that they have organized a boycott of Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sears, and Costco for using the phrase `Happy Holidays' in their ads instead of `Merry Christmas.'"
Well, that's news to me. Here's what I said on "The Radio Factor".
There is a move under foot to discourage people from buying in stores that do not use 'Merry Christmas' in their advertising. I am not a part of that. I am not a part of that movement. And I'll tell you why.
I want you to make up your own mind on this. I don't want to be telling you where to buy and where not to buy.
So Stein did not write the truth. What a shock. L.A. Times editors, embarrassed, say they will issue a correction. You may have noticed I lead the league in corrections.
The importance the Christmas controversy is that it has become the centerpiece become the culture war between traditional Americans and secular progressives. Outside of the war on terror, this culture war is the most important thing happening in the country today. At stake, whether the USA will turn into a secular country that mirrors Western Europe, or maintain its emphasis on Judeo-Christian values.
The L.A. Times and much of the media is firmly in the secular corner. "Talking Points" is rooting for the traditionalists. So the battle lines are drawn. Too bad Christmas has to be in the middle of it.
And that's "The Memo."

Bill's got the best of both his puny little worlds here. In any other conflict, he's forced to be an imaginary soldier in a real war. Here, he can be a toy soldier in a war out of his own imagination.

In the real world, people could care less about what the outward displays say, or do not say. They may pass a comment, a sentiment or two, but they know, that THEY are the true custodians of Christmas, not the self-appointed busy-body bloviators like Mr. O'Reilly.

In his addled state of mind, O'Reilly seems to imagine that a few "far left" liberals like those in the "LA Times," or the "New York Times", are dead set on destroying Christmas to gain a foothold in their war on Christian values:

“That's not playing well in the secular progressive movement, which wants to diminish Christmas and all vestiges of Christian power. The SPs realize that to get gay marriage, legalized drugs, euthanasia, and other parts of their agenda passed, they need to marginalize religious forces. That is what is behind the assault on Christmas in the USA.”

Only trouble is that when I read the same article that O'Reilly cited in Talking Points 2, I found that the author Joel Stein had a more or less patronizing attitude toward the "defenders of Christmas, and admitted it is by far a more interesting holiday than Chanukah:

“I get that I live in a Christian nation. And I'm fine with it. I like you guys. I think it's adorable that you ring giant, white pipe cleaners around streetlights and make everything taste like peppermint and thought the world was going to end when the calendar went to three zeros in a row. It's like living with children.

I'm grateful that our Constitution separates religion from our law and our non-Kansas schools. But that doesn't mean the culture of a country with a higher percentage of Christians than Israel has Jews isn't going to be all into the Jesus thing. That's why Christmas is a national holiday and Yom Kippur isn't. And that's why Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand put out Christmas albums.”

And Joel Stein is NOT OFFENDED by the milieu of Christmas at this time, he understands that your right to religious speech is the same as his, and therefore treats the “I’ll pray anywhere I wanted to “ crowd with bemused indifference.

“Last Thursday, a group called Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, where founding member Jackie Mason spoke out against the war on Christmas. He basically argued that if people can't say "Merry Christmas," then he won't be allowed to wish people an "Exceptional Purim." That one doesn't translate from Yiddish well.”

He knows that Christmas traditions are much more fun than those of Chanukah, and he is rather thankful:

“So please, go nuts with your celebration, with your lying to children about where presents come from and your beverages made from raw eggs and your desperate use of greenery to get women to kiss you.

No, there's no war on Christmas. But this attempt to be inclusive by tamping down on the Christ birth stuff, while well intentioned, is just making us non-Christians feel worse. All I want from you is to admit — whether you're religious or not — that these customs are inexorably tied in to the birth of your savior. Then I'll be happy to celebrate your culture with you, if you want me to. Because it beats my people trying to persuade me to whoop it up over a story about an extra-long-lasting candle and a toy that's so obviously just a badly made top.”

Let's get one thing straight! What happens in the marketplace belongs to everyone. What happens in the home, belongs in the home, and is free from ANYONE'S interference, including Bill O'Reilly's. People will look at these things make some comment, and then quietly, maybe even laughingly go home and sing carols wish each other “Merry Christmas” put up their pagan tree with a star on top, nativity scene below, fill the room with presents, observe whatever traditions and meals their culture prescribes and have a happy holiday as only their family can. Christmas in our time was always a holiday of the hearth and home with only vestigial remains of the public holiday it once was. And we give unto the public that which it deserves. And it’s true Mr. O’Reilly, that we are mostly a Christian nation, but we understand the need for religious tolerance, especially in the public square. I agree that communities that substitute the word “holiday” for “Christmas” are cowardly. But look closely Mr. O’Reilly, under that “Holiday” banner you may find a nativity scene, a menorah, and a star with a crescent moon. And you’ll know, that that community’s citizens get it, and don’t feel insulted. The public square is everybody’s refuge, everybody’s trust. You know, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and render unto God that which is God's?"

Incidentally Born Again Evangelical George W. Bush & CO. sent out a ''Happy Holidays!" card. I expect that after the sour reception of his "base," that will be ended faster than Harry Myers's SCOTUS candidacy. Oh, and I’m glad to see that The Fox Store and O’Reilly Factor Gear changed the sentiment on their items from “Happy Holidays” to “Merry Christmas”. Now go tell Laura to do the same! Merry Xmas!

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