Announcing VDARE.COM's War Against Christmas 2006 Competition!
November 29, 2006, 04:00 AM
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WAR AGAINST CHRISTMAS 2006 COMPETITION
[blog] [II] [ III ] [ IV ] - See also: War Against Christmas 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

[Merry Christmas! VDARE.COM's Annual War Against Christmas Competition offers prizes for reporting the most outrageous attempt to abolish Christmas. And don't forget to go in through a VDARE.COM Amazon link (like this) when you buy Christmas gifts—we get a commission at no cost to you. Ho Ho!]

It's b-a-a-c-k: the War Against Christmas!

CHICAGO (AP) - A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film 'The Nativity Story' might offend non-Christians.

New Line Cinema, which said it was dropped, had planned to play a loop of the new film on televisions at the event.

'Nativity' Booted From Ill. Holiday Fair, by Don Babwin, November 27, 2006

[email Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.]

There are three nice things about this story, the loudest shot heard to date in this year's War Against Christmas:

  • it refutes the claim that the Kristmaskampf (another of our terms for the War Against Christmas, after the Kulturkampf, Bismarck's drive to reduce Catholic power in Germany) has anything to do with America's (much-exaggerated) "separation of church and state."

The Christkindlmarket is organized by a private group, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest. But the Chicago Mayor's Office of Special Events is trying to muscle in on the absurdly tenuous excuse that the fair takes place in, literally, a public square. Clearly, city spokesthing Cindy Gatziolis knows this excuse is tenuous because, when questioned, she "stressed that the city did not order organizers to drop the studio as sponsor"… (it just tried to bully them in secret).

  • It makes plain that visceral Christophobia motivates the Khristmaskampf.

As a studio executive sensibly told AP, "One would assume that if [people] were to go to Christkindlmarket, they'd know it is about Christmas." (Although apparently Christmas is sometimes mentionable in the decent obscurity of a foreign language.)  There is a nativity scene in the plaza and apparently plans for other religious symbols, including a menorah. But quite obviously the Christophobes just couldn't restrain themselves at the sight of The Nativity Story because it's a movie in the new style invented by Mel Gibson with his The Passion Of the Christ and a reminder of the unprecedented defeat it inflicted on them with its huge success in 2004. (The Nativity Story opens this Friday, December 1)

  • It illustrates the extent to which the War Against Christmas absolutely depends on a classic " spiral of silence"—individuals' failure to speak up results in everyone being intimidated—and that these spirals can dramatically reverse.

By Wednesday, as Chicagoist.com noted acidly in an item it headed City Spins Like Dreidel on Christkindlmarket Display, the Office of Special Events, "[p]roving once again that there's no hole that can't be made deeper with a few more shovels," was in retreat, claiming that the ads would be "too commercial" ("Too commercial for an event that is also sponsored by the Hard Rock Hotel, Mercedes-Benz and Lufthansa".)

My guess is that, if this spiral of silence continues to reverse, The Nativity Story ads may well be restored.

Indeed, the War Against Christmas 2006 has begun with a number of such small victories. Patrick Arsenault, who maintains his own War On Christmas website, reports:

"Target Corporation began adding a 'Merry Christmas' greeting to the end of its seasonal TV ads, and it continues to do so in its 2006 commercials. The word 'Christmas' is also abundant in its stores and on its website, where it refers to 'Christmas decorations', 'Christmas trees', and more. Although the term 'holiday' is still used, it is used interchangeably with Christmas.

"In November 2006, Wal-Mart Stores announced that it would be officially "endorsing" Christmas for its 2006 promotions, citing that fact that it would have several TV ads mentioning Christmas and showing Nativity scenes, and that merchandise and promotions labeled "holiday" in previous years would be changed to "Christmas" by 60%. Wal-Mart said this year will be an "in-your-face" Christmas campaign (see current proof on Wal-Mart's website). Bravo, Wal-Mart!

"Examples of other retailers claiming to acknowledge Christmas: Kohl's, Macy's, Sears Holdings (Sears and Kmart), and Target.

But, Arsenault notes,

"Many retailers are still using the 'Holiday' terminology that has been politically correct for years; Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, Lowe's, and many other retail and online giants.

Worse, he continues,

"The United States Postal Service recently updated its website to offer a "Holiday" section at which includes some Christmas-related imagery, yet essentially no reference to Christmas even under the most obvious circumstances. For example, it offers " Shipping deadlines for December 25 delivery" with absolutely NO mention of Christmas. Also, in the "Holiday Gift Center" page, there are stamps for the Muslim holiday Eid, as well as for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa on the front page graphic, but the one (1) Christmas Madonna stamp is at the bottom with the other three being at the top—i.e. highlighted over the Christmas stamp. There are less than 0.5%  MUSLIMS IN AMERICA! Believing Christians compose 80%!!! This really made me mad."

So we have only just begun to fight.

This is VDARE.COM's seventh War Against Christmas competition. And its antecedents lie in the distant past: I first persuaded John O'Sullivan to run a War Against Christmas Competition in National Review in the mid-1990s—no doubt contributing to his firing as Editor, after which it was promptly dropped, along with the cause of immigration reform, not coincidentally.

Looking through our now-considerable archive (check the links at the top of this article), I am impressed how much resistance has developed to the Khristmaskampf—and how fanatical the Christophobes remain. What normal woman, for example, would call the headquarters of the McDonald's hamburger chain to complain that a restaurant in Raleigh, NC, was displaying a sign saying "Jesus is the Reason for The Season," as happened last year.

Yet I am quite sure that the majority of Americans, confronted with this snarling fanaticism, just want to run away. This is why cranks rule the world.

At VDARE.COM, we crank back.

This clash between the American majority and a militant minority of Christophobic cranks had already become explicit when I announced the winner of our 2004 competition and predicted that, in 2005, they would get "nasty."

Of course, they always were nasty. But in fact, the 2005 clash took a slightly different turn. In 2005, the War Against Christmas entered the mainstream, with a number of Christian groups and Mainstream Media commentators waking up to it. The response of the Christophobes:

  1. Deny everything (nobody here but us Christophobes);
     
  2. Blame it all on Fox TV's Bill O'Reilly.

As I write this, every one of the results for "War Against Christmas" on Google News takes one or other tack, often both.

O'Reilly irritates a lot of people, including conservatives (although he was perfectly fine to me when he interviewed me about my education book The Worm In The Apple).  So a number of people who should know better have been repelled from resisting the Kristmaskampf, including, as I said reproachfully last year, my old friend Lew Rockwell of LewRockwell.com, undercutting his heroic defense of The Passion Of The Christ against the same cultural commissars. (We're watching you in 2006, Lew!)

So it's worth noting that our concern for this issue is not just crankery (not that that would stop us). What is under attack in the War Against Christmas is ultimately the nation itself, as presently constituted. Ironically, one of the most eloquent exponents of this insight in the British context is the Pakistani-born Anglican Bishop of Rochester in England, Michael Nazir-Ali, who seems to have received remarkably little attention in this country. Recently he told an interviewer:

"I have come to the view that the question now is not that of defending the place of this Church, but the very basis on which this nation was founded.

"Almost everything you touch in British culture, whether it's art, literature or the language itself has been shaped by the Judaeo-Christian tradition, by the Bible, by the church's worship and belief. But this whole idea of a multi-faith society. Well, if you mean just that there are people of different faiths in Britain, that's one thing, that's obvious. But if you go on to say that this means there is such a thing as undifferentiated faith, which somehow must be provided for—that's a completely different matter. I think we are now moving from one to the other and there are all sorts of dangers in this. I think it [multiculturalism] was a mistake. It was based on a confusion between civic morality and theological pluralism. Of course we have to recognize difference; of course people have the right to worship in the way they wish to in their own homes.

"But you need much more than that if you are going to be a cohesive nation. You need some sort of subscription to a common vision, to shared values, and that has been neglected, not so much because of the presence of other faiths but because of the spiritual and moral vacuum that has come to be at the heart of British society." [There's a moral vacuum in Britain and if we don't return to our Christian values, we may not be able to resist Islam, by Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail, November 5, 2006]

"Happy Holidays" is the war-cry of multicultural undifferentiated faith—and a spiritual, moral and national vacuum.

This just in from the frontline of the War Against Christmas—reported by VDARE.COM contributor J. Paige Straley:

"I recently wrote Jack's Christmas, a pleasant twelve-stanza poem about Jack the Bunny getting home for Christmas.  Fairly innocuous stuff, you would think.

"I sold Jack as a Christmas card last year at a couple of major Carolina Christmas shows and everyone liked it.  This made me think that if it was made up as a book, with good illustrations, it might work well as a promotion or a store-traffic incentive for a large retailer.  I set my sights on Harris-Teeter, a large grocer in the Carolinas, and got an appointment to see Mr. Kevin Crainer [send him mail] who handles many of their promotions.

"When I got in his office, Crainer took one look at my beautiful little book and told me that, aside from any considerations of content or quality, HT could not use it for a store promotion because of that word, 'Christmas', on the front cover.  Disappointed, I left.

"When Peter Brimelow asked me to write this up, I decided to call Harris-Teeter again in the interests of careful reporting.  Mr. Crainer would not talk to me after I told him why I called. He referred me to Harris-Teeter's Public Relations person, Jennifer Panetta. [ Send her mail] She said that, although it was the individual employee's decision whether to greet with a 'Merry Christmas', the company uses 'Happy Holidays' in their public communications to encompass the span from Thanksgiving through Christmas.  Ms. Panetta did not recall when HT changed from 'Merry Christmas' to 'Happy Holidays', or, indeed, if there were ever such a change.  

"Ms. Panetta was clear that HT uses 'Happy Holidays' for reasons of mass appeal and to avoid upsetting any customers. 

"She would not give me a direct contact number or email when I requested it at the end of my telephone interview. [Ask the CEO of Harris-Teeter, Fred J. Morganthall II, why not here: fmorganthall@harristeeter.com]

"The news here is not that Harris-Teeter refused my book, but rather that in modern retailing the highest holiday of Christianity and Western Civilization can no longer be mentioned by name.  Just who are these customers who are so intolerant they cannot bear the very sight of the word 'Christmas'?"

This year we'll give an autographed copy of Alien Nation, a bottle of champagne and a copy of Jack's Christmas to the reader who reports to us the most outrageous attempt to abolish Christmas.

…and a Happy New Year!

Peter Brimelow, editor of VDARE.COM and author of the much-denounced Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster (Random House - 1995) and The Worm in the Apple (HarperCollins - 2003)