By Bryan Fischer
According to the most recent Rasmussen Poll on the subject, 72 percent of all Americans prefer the greeting “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays,” the greeting of preference for just 22 percent of us. This is up four percent from last year.
According to Advertising Age, 91 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, which is one of the reasons more and more retailers are going back to using “Christmas” in their seasonal advertising. As a footnote, it’s worth noting that only five percent of Americans celebrate Hanukkah and just two percent celebrate Kwanzaa, the made-up holiday that doesn’t even seem to be catching on among the African-Americans for whom it was designed.
What retailers used to tell us is that they were shifting to “Happy Holidays” in advertising in order to be more “inclusive.” They’re figuring out that, if 91 percent of us celebrate Christmas, the single most inclusive thing you can do this time of year is wish somebody a “Merry Christmas.”
We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as a national holiday for the same reason we celebrate the birth dates of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Martin Luther King, Jr: because of their impact on the history of the United States and the world.
We date every legal document from the year of Christ’s birth. The Declaration of Independence is dated from the year of his birth. The Constitution is dated from the year of his birth as well as from the year of our independence, indicating that for the Founders these were the two most important events in human history.
Since retailers make the lion’s share of their profits this time of year as people shop for Christmas gifts (you ask them what they’re doing, they never say “buying holiday gifts” – they’re doing “Christmas” shopping and buying “Christmas” gifts), we think it is only proper for them to acknowledge the birthday of the One who makes this possible. In fact, it’s rather rude and gratingly ungrateful not to.
It’s a bit like the girl C.S. Lewis referred to in Mere Christianity who said the bread shortage in World War II was not a concern to her because in her house they didn’t eat bread, they ate toast. Well, no bread, no toast.
So for retailers: no Christ, no Christmas gifts. Simple courtesy ought to prompt them to acknowledge that simple fact. Retailers and the people who depend on them for jobs have more than one reason to be thankful for the birth of Christ.
The AFA has successfully convinced a number of major retailers – including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Toys-R-Us just this year – to resume the use of “Christmas” in their seasonal advertising. They’re starting to figure out that running the risk of offending 91% of your customer base by dissing America’s major holiday just isn’t good business. Office Depot has now contacted AFA in an effort to get their name off our “Naughty” list.
(Chase, it’s worth noting, looks like it’s campaigning to jump on to the “Naughty list by apparently banning all Christmas trees and decorations in its branches.)
Here’s another takeaway from the Rasmussen Poll. While 91 percent of Republicans prefer “Merry Christmas” as a greeting, just 58% of Democrats do. That’s an eye-opener.
Bottom line: it’s increasingly looking like that while the Republican party wants to be the home of the faith-based community and those who cherish historic American values, the Democrat party wants to be the home of the atheists, agnostics, pagans, and secular fundamentalists. Good luck with that.
Just last night on Chris Matthew’s Hardball program, Democrat congressman Jim McDermott disdainfully referred to the Christmas season as the time in which we talk about “the little baby Jesus in the cradle and all this stuff.” (McDermott also once pointedly omitted the words “under God” when leading the Pledge of Allegiance on the floor of the House of Representatives.)
If there is a surer way for a political party to marginalize itself in America than by showing flagrant disregard for our Judeo-Christian tradition, I don’t know what it is. The Democrats, through their rabid socialism and anti-theism, are marching in lockstep off the cliff and into an abyss of irrelevance. Their passing will be unmourned and unlamented.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, Bryan Fischer, is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, and is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. ‘Focal Point’ airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network.