By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What war against Christmas?

Donna Halper exposes the anti-Semitic roots of the campaign to stamp out the non-existent war against Christmas.

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Corrections and blogging standards


  1. O-FISH-L

    No Dan, Donna Halper exposes nothing but her own intolerance for Christians and Republicans. In order to make her weak arguments somewhat plausible, she avoids any mention of Christmas vacation in the schools being replaced by “Winter Recess,” all references to Christmas yanked from kindergarten musicals and long-standing traditional nativity scenes being torn down after one person –Halper herself, perhaps–takes offense. If one pretends there aren’t any battles, how can there be a war on Christmas? After all, Halper heard Christmas music being played at the store, so that settles it! Most despicable, however, is this sentence; “Looking back at magazine and newspaper essays from that era, you find there were quite a few Americans who wanted America to remain all white and all Protestant. (Sometimes I wonder if some on the religious right still think that would make America a better country.)”Obviously, “religious right” is code for Republican. Apparently Halper hopes nobody notices the likes of Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself – all Republican and black. In declaring racism the domain of the religious right, she omits the story of Michael Steele. During a 2002 debate between the black Republican Steele and Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for Maryland Lt. Governor, Townsend’s campaign handed out Oreo cookies to the audience. It was also a left-wing website that posted a repugnant, doctored picture of Mr. Steele as “Simple Sambo”. Who needs the religious right when modern-day racist Democrats abound? Perhaps this nation’s many prominent black Republicans were “forced to convert” to Republican much like the Jewish soldiers in the American Revolution who Halper alleges were forced into Christianity. In Halper’s demented world, no consideration is given to the possibility that many blacks identify more closely with Republicans, especially on moral issues or that the conversion of the colonial Jews may have come from a deeply personal and spiritual call to salvation. The notion that neither blacks nor Jews might freely break with political or religious norms is in itself racist and anti-semetic.O-FISH-L

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: Christians run the joint. If you think otherwise, you’ve got a persecution complex. A few secular nods acknowledging that not everyone is a Christian does nothing to threaten that hegemony.BTW, you engage in a rather disreputable debating tactic by telling us what Halper must have meant (“‘religious right’ is code for Republican”) and then attacking that rather than what she actually wrote.Hardly unusual in Internet discourse, unfortunately, but dubious nevertheless.

  3. Jon Garfunkel

    Now that I read the column I have two thoughts — One, I have missed the opportunity all these years to thank Donna Halper for introducing RUSH to the US. Two, she really doesn’t address the issue. The article is current and the author is local, but it’s a mishmosh of an argument.She left trailing the line about Henry Ford. So I typed it into Google… and turned up the razor-sharp comment by Hendrik Hertzberg, two years ago. Hertzberg alertly references Michelle Goldberg, who covered this well in her recent book.

  4. O-FISH-L

    Why Dan, do you really think that Halper was referring to Democrats or the unenrolled when she defiled “some on the religious right?” You don’t have to be Det. Andy Sipowicz, or Sheriff Andy Taylor (or Barney) for that matter, to figure out that Halper was smearing Republicans. Then again, maybe she was smearing the Green Party. Me disreputable and dubious? Pot, kettle?

  5. Abe

    For Fish: Why is it so hard to understand that it is not anti-Christian or anti-Christmas to take note of the fact that not all of us celebrate it? If I say Happy Birthday to you, because it is my birthday, that makes me a fool — why would I assume that you also have the same birthday that I do? Similarly, if I insist that all the children in the schools should have a Christmas holiday, because my children celebrate Christmas, that is foolish. And besides, it’s rude. Yes, most people hereabouts do celebrate Christmas, but it doesn’t make it any less rude to presume that everyone does. Fish, take a moment and be honest: Do you not understand the difference? No one is against you celebrating your holiday. No one is against Christians here and everywhere celebrating. Just stop insisting that everyone celebrate your holiday. It’s rude. (Can you not see the difference between telling a Christian “Merry Christmas,” which everyone thinks is a fine idea, and telling a stranger “Merry Christmas,” which is presumptious?) And when people point out how rude it is to insist that everyone celebrate your holiday, stop claiming that you’re being persecuted. It just makes you look silly.

  6. O-FISH-L

    This one arrived in my “in box” author unknown, but it’s relevant to this topic.”To all my friends, Democrat & Republican”To All My Democrat Friends:Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wished.To My Republican Friends:Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  7. Dan

    Dan:I’ve got to agree with Fish. Halper’s harping is a poorly veiled rant against the Christian Right and Republicans. Her hatred for both is very clear.Heck, I wouldn’t call myself religous at all but I believe most folks would agree that there’s a very small minority of the population that disdains the celebration of Christmas (which is there right). These individuals seem to work quite hard to limit the celebration of Christmas as much as they possibly can and they’ve enjoyed amazing success spreading their “holiday” wishes. By that reasoning we should never call holidays exactly what they are… a day to reflect on a certain event or person that earned the right to a national holiday in the first place. So now during Thanksgiving we should just say “Happy Holiday”?

  8. Peter Porcupine

    It somewhat frightens me that according to her biography, this lady works as a fact checker.That said, in her effort to be ‘fair’, she omits a key part of that outrage among conservatives – that similar resolutions for Ramadan and other such religious holidays were passed unanimously – it was only Christmas that prompted an outbreak of circumspection.Such resolutions are in and of themselves quite meaningless and a waste of time by legislatures, which seem addicted to them. So the members voting ‘present’ were making a rather stronger statement than Ms. Halper implies.

  9. Anonymous

    Let’s keep in mind Dan that the “war on christmas” is just myth confabulated by the o-fishies of the world to lend them a claim to “victim status.” It’s a very precious thing, that tag of victimness — it helps excuse all the rage and bile, spewed at monolithic invented enemies. take away that precious totem and o-fish stands naked. it’s a very cowardly form of demagoguery, which explains why the canard has stood as long as it has.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: She’s referring to a few people, who, yes, are probably Republicans. She’s not referring to Republicans in general. It’s you who suggests that she’s somehow smearing moderate Republicans, which she’s obviously not doing. BTW, I’m speaking as a non-Christian who celebrates Christmas!

  11. Lis Riba

    Maybe you’d prefer Sally Quinn’s essay on the same resolution. “Earlier this year the House also passed resolutions honoring Islamic and Indian holidays but nothing that so equated a single faith with America and Americans. “How could this happen, in what will soon be 2008, in a pluralistic, multicultural, multireligious society, a society based on the concepts of religious freedom and separation of church and state? What were they thinking? “This resolution was as anti-American as anything Congress has ever passed. It disenfranchised and marginalized millions and millions of men and women, reducing them to second-class citizens.

  12. Suldog

    I think the main problem with this discussion is that different people have different definitions of “war.”Are there people who would love to see Christmas eradicated from the public sphere? Undoubtedly. Are these people so organized as to constitute an army, which is generally one of the prerequisites of having a war? Maybe a platoon or two, but hardly in numbers that make a war winnable.Maybe we should call it the guerrilla action against Christmas.(Disclaimers, if needed: I’m a Christian. I celebrate Christmas as Christ’s birth, and take every opportunity to work His name into the holiday when I celebrate it. I believe that to be my moral obligation. However, I don’t recoil when someone wishes me “Happy Holidays!”, nor do I wish to see legislation of any kind passed to make ANY religious observance an official government-sponsored celebration. And I couldn’t care less about the Republican-Democrat argument going on here. I’m a Libertarian.)(As a Christian Libertarian, I don’t believe in the inevitability of either death or taxes, by the way 🙂 )

  13. Anonymous

    Thank the mainline Protestant God that the Republican Party is here to stand up for me, the white, straight, Christian-born, college-educated male in this time of horrific persecution. I could barely find a parking space at Starbucks this morning, and I can’t find my Best of Phil Collins CD.I would blame the Jewish International Conspiracy, the ACLU, illegal Guatemalan landscapers and the Loony Left for ruining my hometown, if my mainline Protestant maternal grandfather hadn’t already determined that the Irish ruined it 120 years ago.Bob in PeabodyVictim

  14. Anonymous

    I’m not anonymous– I’m really Donna, but blogger hates me…or hates my screen-name evidently. It’s probably too late to mention it, but as for fact-checking, I have the actual book (going to the sources themselves, rather than quotes about them) “The International Jew” and yes it really does say the Jews have tried to destroy Christianity and Christmas, honest it does. As for O-Fish and the false assertion that I hate Christians, that is utterly bizarre to me. I hate intolerance, no matter who is causing it. I was beaten up and called a Christ-killer when I was a kid. But I don’t hate Christians. I hate the sort of discourse that teaches you the other side is EVIL. it leads to all sorts of bad things. Happy Festivus, O-Fish!

  15. Brigid

    Here’s what I hate: People who say “Merry CHRISTMAS” to me in defiant tones, making it clear that they are not going to be having any of that “holiday” stuff. They have turned what was once a pleasant greeting into a point of contention. The folks who drummed up this fake “War on Christmas” have done more to ruin Christmas than anyone else.

  16. Lou

    I’d also remind everyone of the Jewish guy who was beaten up by 12 “Christians” when they wished him a Merry Christmas and he wished them a Happy Hannukah. He was also rescued by a…Muslim.This is what the “War on Christmas” has reduced us to.

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