Not since Iraqi WMD has there been a bogus news story more loved by the conservative media than the quote-unquote "War against Christmas." So complete is their martyrdom-like passion for this myth that you'd think we lived in a time when Christians were regularly being fed to Coliseum lions. Therefore, while I rather like the holiday myself, as editor of "The Nation" I feel duty bound to provide their empty, bloviated rhetoric with some ammo. Here are my three battles against Xmas.
1) Family-photo Christmas cards that married people send to their single, childless friends. Would you send a Thanksgiving card to starving people? A Fourth of July card to the Queen? These are not gifts; they are taunts. And they should be banned.
2) Corporate America's year-end decisions to reduce health and pension benefits to boost their annual earnings statements. Would Santa threaten to open a factory in Shanghai to bring the elf union to the negotiating table? What could be more bah-humbug than the news that daddy can never afford to retire? This Scrooge-like practice should be banned.
3) Christmas office parties. Sure, they seem fun, but nothing spells sexual harassment lawsuit like an open bar, mistletoe, and the prospect of spending the holidays alone or with an angry spouse. I think this is one area where Bill O'Reilly and I can agree: Christmas office parties should be banned.
What's really going on? The guys over at Fox, like O'Reilly and John Gibson (author of the new book, "The War On Christmas") are using this battle because they'd like to see America trend theocratic. But despite the hours of attention the rightwing media have devoted to this manufactured crisis, they're unlikely to win. And it's not because they're up against a liberal plot. Gimme a break. It's because they're on the side of intolerance.
By Katrina Vanden Heuvel
Reprinted with permission from The Nation