Okay. As you may or may not have heard, a hobby horse that the Fox folk like John Gibson and especially Bill O'Reilly are riding once again this year is, to steal a title from the great Norman Corwin, "The Plot To Overthrow Christmas."
Basically it's just more carrying on designed to convince people-
Whose faith is recognized by the federal goverment in days off school and work
Whose god is mentioned on the money
And whose president keeps trying to strike down the separation of church and state
-that they are an oppressed minority.
The poor dears. A blog called The Y Files has a good entry up about this curious war on phantom Grinches.
The "save Christmas" hysteria this year seems to be worse than ever (though that's what I thought last year, too). I mean, okay, some of the ACLU-type handwringing over creches on public grounds gets ridiculous, but John Gibson carrying on about "the plot to ban the sacred Christian holiday"? Bill O'Reilly urging a boycott of stores that use "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," and pursuing investigative reports on various stores' Christmas policies with a zeal he normally reserves for criminal-coddling judges? O'Reilly has become truly unhinged on the subject. One of his latest rants is analyzed by Michael Stickings at The Moderate Voice: O'Reilly carries on about a "very secret plan," funded by his bogeyman George Soros, to "diminish Christian philosophy in the U.S.A." by attacking Christmas. (Stickings also picks up on one of O'Reilly's favorite rhetorical tricks: to get around that pesky "establishment of religion" problem, he'll argue that things like Ten Commandment displays in government buildings are not about "religion" but about "Judeo-Christian philosophy.")
They pretend to be worked up over what they frenetically call these attempts to "ban a sacred Christian holiday." Excuse me? Sacred? I'm sorry, but that train left the station a long time ago. Since before I (and mostly likely you) was born, the most Christian philosophy most people in the U.S.A. got out of Christmas was Linus reading from the Bible. (A tasteful, well-played, and altogether inoffensive scene no matter what your religious beliefs, I've always thought.)
The religion was leeched out of Christmas years ago, and the ACLU had nothing to do with it. Madison Avenue did. Stan Freberg, the revered satirist (and himself the son of a Reverend), once made a record that caused quite a bit of controversy in its day (the 1950s). Called "Green Christma$", it was a part-musical, part spoken-word spin on "A Christmas Carol" in which Scrooge was an advertising man looking to profit from Christmas. Bob Cratchet was a lowly employee trying to prod his consience.
Near the finale, the following dialogue takes place:
CRATCHET: The people keep hoping you'll remember. But you never do.
SCROOGE: Remember what?
CRATCHET: Whose birthday we're celebrating.
And in the finale itself, we hear "Jingle Bells" punctuated with the sound of a cash register.
I wonder whether O'Reilly would play it on his radio show? But no, I don't wonder that. Not really. Fox folk have nothing against Madison Avenue-that's where the God to whom they pray lives.
Tonight, I tuned in to The O'Reilly Factor near the end to see an interview with the Rev. Tim Bumgardner, a pastor in Wellington, Florida, who is fighting to have a nativity scene included in his town's holiday display (which currently has a Christmas tree and a menorah)...When O'Reilly gave the Reverend the last word, the following exchange occurred (transcribed by yours truly from the taped rerun):
Rev. Tim Bumgardner: I think they should put a Nativity scene -- be American! Hey, celebrate Christmas -- people spend more money! Jesus makes people want to spend money!
On November 30, Media Matters reported that in apparent defiance of the O'Reilly/Gibson anti-"Happy Holidays" crusade, the Fox News online store was using the phrases "holiday ornaments" and "holiday tree." One day later, the Fox website changed "holiday" to "Christmas."