NEWSWEEK's War On Christmas Historiography Credits Peter Brimelow With Starting The War
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Newsweek attempts to apply historical perspective to the War on Christmas, talking about Cromwellian suppression of Christmas in 1647, the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony who worked on Christmas Day, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which outlawed Christmas celebrations from 1659 to 1681, all of which, I've said before, is missing the point.

The Puritans, who were all Christians, banned the observance of Christmas for religious reasons, out of respect for Christianity and the Bible, rather than Christophobia.

Newsweek goes on:

All of this brings us to what we currently know as the "War on Christmas." According to the fact-checking website, the phrase entered popular usage thanks to conservative author Peter Brimelow, who launched the website (named after Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas) in 1999. There, he frequently posted about the need to "save" Christmas from people pushing secularist "Happy Holidays" themes. A December 2000 post on his site contained what's believed to be the first instance of the words "War on Christmas."

However, the concept of the "War on Christmas" really took off with conservative broadcaster Bill O'Reilly. Brimelow published annual lists of what he called attacks on the holiday, and O'Reilly followed his lead by citing similar examples during his Fox News broadcasts.

[The 'War on Christmas': A History of the Holiday Season's Biggest Cultural Debate, by Jon Jackson, Newsweek, December 22, 2020]

Links and emphases added.

It's true that Snopes said this in 2017, but it's not necessarily true that it was the first time those words were uttered.

We've traced War on Christmas examples to 1906 which featured a walkout of 20,000 Jewish students to protest the singing of Christmas carols in New York schools,, and 1955, when National Review editorialized against waffling by the NY school board.

By unspoken agreement, an officer of the Board did tell us, such aggressive symbols of religious imperialism as the manger, lighted candles and the visitation of the Magi are banned. But Santa Claus is allowed, she said soothingly; also reindeer and stars. And, presumably, candy sticks and jingle bells.

[Krismas, PDF, November 26, 1955]

Jordan Lorence, of Alliance Defending Freedom, has been fighting back against this stuff since 1987. None of this is done by Puritans who feel that mistletoe and plum pudding are the wrong way to honor Jesus Christ.

It's true that Peter Brimelow has been fighting this fight for years, since he was working at the pre-Purge National Review. (See here for John O'Sullivan's 1995 NR announcement of their War On Christmas competition in which O'Sullivan used the phrase "anti-Christmas Kulturkampf" rather than "War On Christmas".) It's also true that has been fighting the War On Christmas since its inception, and that is how I got my job here.

But what really makes Newsweek credit Peter Brimelow is that he's now more of a bogeyman than even Bill O'Reilly. It's an attempt to smear Christmas with guilt-by-association.


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