printed 12/20/2019

Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas? Is this country going to hell in a secular handcart? No, and it’s because the annual “war on Christmas” argument is humbug.

For a real war on Christmas, go to 1789, when the French Revolutionary government banned it as a religious celebration. Coincidentally, or not, our nation’s founders added religious freedom to the constitution just two years later, using an earlier Virginia law written by Thomas Jefferson, at the behest of the Protestant church.

Our so-called war on Christmas, however, has little to do with the law. It’s about what people say to each other as Dec. 25 approaches, and whether political correctness is stripping the country of its Christian underpinnings.

That is not the case. The real separation is between the religious observance of Christmas, which Christians practice, and the business of cultural Christmas, which Wall Street — and thousands of Christian investors — also follow.

According to numerous surveys, about 90 percent of Americans, regardless of faith, celebrate cultural Christmas, and 70-to-75 percent of them observe both the religious and cultural aspects of the holiday. Consequently, the retailers of “Happy Holidays” have asked and answered the question whether they should ignore 25 percent of the cultural Christmas market in deference to religious Christmas?

They aren’t rejecting Christmas, nor is anyone restricting the public’s right to say, “Merry Christmas” or anything else for that matter (see Religious Freedom above).

The issue this fabricated war ignores is whether society can accommodate both religious Christmas and cultural Christmas without desk-pounding conflict.

Of course, it can. Christians can, in the words of Jesus, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s” — we can recognize business for what it is and keep our religious observances separate.

Similarly, showing respect to people of other faiths this time of year borrows a line from a multitude of Christmas hymns: — “Peace on Earth and good will to men (and women),” which, considering our bellicose times, would be nice for a change.

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