Nothing Gay from Hallmark for Christmas

Nothing Gay from Hallmark for Christmas

This almost has to been seen to be believed: Hallmark has released a new ornament featuring a Christmas sweater on a hanger that says “Don we now our fun apparel”.

Yeah, those aren’t the words.

The century-old privately owned $5 billion specialty retailer included the above ornament in their 2013 Keepsake ornaments collection, and now they’re finding they have to defend their decision to change the five-hundred year old lyrics.

“When the lyrics to ‘Deck the Halls’ were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry,” Hallmark’s Kristi Ernsting told The Huffington Post in an email. “Today it has multiple meanings … the trend of wearing festively decorated Christmas sweaters to parties is all about fun, and this ornament is intended to play into that, so the planning team decided to say what we meant: ‘fun.’”

This politically correct twisting of Christmas carols is nothing new. Can you name these other festive Christmas tunes that have been…modernized?

1. Divine natal celebration devoid of color as a hallucinatory phenomenon for me
2. Precious metal musical devices
3. Venison with vermillion olfactory appendage
4. Do you perceive the same vibrations that stimulate my auditory sense organ?
5. Vehicular homicide committed on Dad’s mom by a precipitous darling
6. Frosty the Snowperson
7. I’ll Be Home for a Short Period of Time in December
8. O Holiday Tree
9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Day of Winter
10. Higher Power Rest Ye Merry Gentlepersons

Dutch Reject UN and Criticism of Black Pete Tradition

Dutch Reject UN and Criticism of Black Pete Tradition

Hundreds of marchers in the Netherlands showed up Saturday to confront critics of the Dutch Christmas tradition of Black Pete. Earlier in the week the UN Human Rights Commission blasted the practice with comments from the Jamaican chair of a committee at the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Verene Shepherd, bluntly told Dutch television that “the practice must stop”.

“The working group cannot understand that why it is that people in the Netherlands cannot see that this is a throwback to slavery and that in the 21st century this practice should stop,” she told the Eenvandaag show on Tuesday.

“As a black person, I feel that if I was living in the Netherlands I would object to it,” she said.

Ms Shepherd provoked further Dutch fury by suggesting they adopt a US-style “Santa Claus” instead.

As many as 500 marchers, some of them dressed as Black Pete, protested for two-and-a-half hours in Malieveld,” a park in the centre of The Hague, police spokesman Cor Spruijt said.

“Black Pete” accompanies Saint Nicholas during a children’s festival on December 5, when the Dutch give gifts to each other.

The character, who arrives on a gift-filled boat from Spain, is typically dressed in a gaudy medieval costume and afro wig, with his face painted black and lips red, prompting charges of racism.

Opponents say the character recalls the time when Dutch colonists exploited slaves, notably in the Caribbean colonies of Suriname and Curacao.

Supporters of “Black Pete” angrily reject such accusations, offended at any suggestion that a character so central to Dutch culture could be racist.

A Facebook page protesting the call for ending the tradition of Black Pete has become a record-setting page for that country with more than 1 million likes in a day. The page has more than 2 million likes now.

The backlash at the UN suggestion has some backpedaling in the fight against the tradition. Marc Jacobs, a Belgian Unesco representative, the UN’s cultural organization, has denied that the Jamaican who signed the letter, was authorized to do so.

“She’s just a consultant who abused the name of the UN to bring their own agenda to the media. All the hoopla that Shepherd has caused with her letter is nothing more than a bad move in the game of pressure groups in the Netherlands,” he told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

Maine Christmas Tree Honoring Vets Called Tacky

Maine Christmas Tree Honoring Vets Called Tacky

Fox News is all over this story, as is the local media in Maine where the town council of Bar Harbor has decided to ban a Christmas tree honoring vets who fought at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II because the tree was “tacky” according to town manager Dana Reed.

The tree began just two years ago when an organization called Wreaths Across America asked for and received permission from the city council to put lights on a tree with a small plaque nearby that read:

The Christmas They Never Had. Wreaths Across America dedicates this perpetually lit tree in honor of those men and women who in service to our Country, were separated from loved ones during the holiday season. Regardless of religious beliefs or creed their sacrifice must always be remembered. July 9, 2011.

The lighted tree and plaque were particularly intended to honor and remember veterans of World War II. It was dedicated at the urging of Battle of the Bulge, POW and WWII survivor and Wreaths Across America board member Stanley Wojtusik of Philadelphia. “The Christmas They Never Had” is a reference to the holiday that was missed by members of the military in 1944.

Earlier this month, however, the Town Council declined to extend a two-year lease it had granted Wreaths Across America. It gave the organization 30 days to remove the lights.

“I don’t believe a Christmas tree is a universal symbol,” said council chair Ruth Eveland, who joined the majority in a 4-2 vote against renewing the lease.

“I believe that was the case” with some opponents, she said Friday, that they objected because the plaque referred to Christmas and they were not Christians.

“My reason for voting against it was I didn’t feel it belonged on town property,” said Eveland. “We already have a veterans memorial plaque on a different piece of town property. I felt that was adequate.”

The fact that the lighted tree was a memorial to veterans who had to miss a family holiday gathering because of the war was “too complicated a symbolism,” said Eveland, and was “not meaningful” to some, including veterans.

“I even heard it from people who said they were Christians,” she said.

The existing plaque on the village green is a “more universal symbol than a Christmas tree,” said Eveland.

Eveland said she could not quantify the number of complaints the Town Council received from constituents. She heard from as many constituents as on any of the other controversial issues that have come before the Town Council, she added. When asked about how many, she indicated approximately 10.

It sounds like the town council of Bar Harbor, Maine could use a good lesson in the American history of the Christmas tree as a symbol of freedom.

Dutch Tradition of Black Pete Under Fire at the UN

Dutch Tradition of Black Pete Under Fire at the UN

The month of November sees the launch of an annual Christmas festival for children built around the characters of Sinterklaas — the Dutch version of Santa Claus — and his noted sidekick, Zwarte Piet or Black Pete. The tradition of the festival dates back five centuries and the popularity of Black Pete in particular has grown immensely since the early 20th century. But now there groups calling the character of Black Pete a racist caricature and are asking Amsterdam city officials to pull the permit for the popular annual festival.

The media today is reporting the issue has now reached the UN Human Rights Commission.

Just as the history of Santa Claus has morphed over time so too has the history of Black Pete evolved.

Black Pete’s role has always represented a more sinister component of the celebration of Christmas for children as he carried either a stick for beating children or carried a large sack for kidnapping them. Ancient tradition tied the origin of Black Pete not to Africa, but to Spain, which occupied Holland in the 15th century.

Over the past 100 years or so the character of Black Pete has softened considerably. Once dressed in pirate garb, wearing earrings and a jaunty feather, the character morphed from the more serious imposer of punishment to a willing servant of Father Christmas whose job it was to remove hay and carrots from children’s shoes and replace them with candy and gifts.

What has not changed is the black face — and Sinterklaas shows up at the festival with dozens of Black Petes — typically white people wearing blackface makeup with red lips and curly “Afro” wigs.

On Thursday, dozens of protesters overflowed a hearing about the permit at Amsterdam City Hall.

One of 21 people who filed formal complaints, Imro Rietveld, described growing up as the only black-skinned child in his class. Every year, he said he was subjected to a month of taunts such as “your whole family is coming over in the boat” and “can you do tricks?”

He said some people are afraid to speak out against Black Pete because they are worried about being ridiculed or even losing their jobs, and he had been warned against coming.

“For the good of all the children,” Rietveld said. “This should actually be changed in the whole country.”

Opponents say the Sinterklaas festival should continue, but Pete’s appearance should be changed.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan will rule on the Amsterdam permit by the end of the month.

Backlash Growing Over Thanksgiving Retailers

Backlash Growing Over Thanksgiving Retailers

Macy’s announced a change in tradition by declaring their 800 stores will open on Thanksgiving Day. JCPenney quickly followed suit. These announcements have given rise to open revolts online by employees and shoppers who would rather keep Thanksgiving a day where stores are closed.

Nearly 7,000 people have signed on to a Facebook page declaring opposition to Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

Similar efforts were launched last year and some employees threatened to strike retailers who scheduled them to work the holiday. The effort fizzled and stores enjoyed record sales on Thanksgiving Day 2012, which was very heavily promoted.

While some contend the department stores such as Macy’s are merely squeezing an extra day out of a short holiday selling season (Thanksgiving falls on November 28th this year) others say they are merely following discounters such as Walmart and Kmart who have pushed the trend of Thanksgiving operations in recent years.

Missouri Overrides Veto of Christmas Bill

Missouri Overrides Veto of Christmas Bill

There is a battle over Christmas in Missouri — kinda, sorta, well — not really. The Missouri Merry Christmas Bill — thought to be dead in July — does not even mention Christmas. It is a simple law that says:

Prohibits any state or local governmental entity; public building, park, or school; or public setting or place from banning or restricting the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill in July, declaring it too broad.

But now that the veto has been overridden by the Missouri state legislators the real fight over the issue is about to begin.

Gregory Lipper, a senior litigation counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told the Wall Street Journal that it’s an “extremely dangerous law” that would open the door to constitutional violations.

“It could be read to allow public school teachers, while in the classroom, to reenact the virgin birth, preach the salvation of Christ, or press their students to convert to Christianity — all under the guise of celebrating Christmas,” said Mr. Lipper, whose group generally opposes the government promotion of religion.

Republican state representative Rick Brattin, who wrote the bill, was plain spoken in defense of the veto and said schools are overreacting to threats of First Amendment lawsuits by banning Christmas altogether. He said three of his kids attend an elementary school that prohibited students from throwing a Christmas Party and banned Christmas decoration.

“I’m sorry, it’s a federal holiday,” Brattin said.

Other lawmakers are lining up now against the bill and a fight is rumored to be brewing out of state to take on the law.

Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, who argued against the bill’s passage, contends the new Missouri law is “unconstitutional because it violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment”.

Tony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, says the new state law will put schools in a tough position “because they have to follow the Constitution as well as the Missouri statute.”

“If a public school teacher was proselytizing in class, that violates the establishment clause,” says Rothert. “But if that teacher now says this is part of my celebration of Christmas, I have to tell people about Jesus, that’s going to put the Missouri statute and the establishment clause in conflict and present a problem, especially in the schools.”

Rothert says he wouldn’t be surprised if the law winds up being challenged in court. “This is something the ACLU would take on,” he says. “I would say in the Missouri legislature dozens of bills are introduced that would be unconstitutional. Most don’t become law. We are very disappointed this bill became law.”

New Jersey Light Fight to Involve Liberty Counsel

New Jersey Light Fight to Involve Liberty Counsel

Mark this one as another to watch for the 2013 season of the War on Christmas: According to The Cranbury Press of New Jersey resident Keith Shaw was cited for four violations of local ordinances given for what has become known as The Christmas Spectacular in Cranbury, New Jersey.

The Christmas Spectacular is an annual lighting event in which Mr. Shaw conducts nightly light shows throughout the month of December on his front lawn at 128 N. Main Street. The shows are held at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. and are choreographed to music broadcast from a sound system located on Mr. Shaw’s property, according to his website, cranburychristmaslights.com. The display can also be viewed from the car, with the radio tuned to frequency 89.9 to hear the music.

The month-long display is put on as a fundraiser for local charitable causes, according to the website, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to causes such as the He Cares, We Care food bank at Princeton Alliance Church in Plainsboro. In 2012, the light shows raised $6,870.56 for the food bank, according to the website.

Of course, neighbors have complained about the show, which has a history dating back six years. They don’t like the traffic, the potential crime and vandalism plus the disruption to their neighboring properties.

Shaw’s potential violations include the violation of the use restriction of a residential zone, and three sign ordinance violations that had to do with size, number of signs, and advertising a permitted use. Shaw’s home is located within the Village Hamlet Residential Zone in Cranbury Township and commercial activities are not permitted in residential zones. The Christmas light display solicits donations for charities, which is a commercial activity, according to the officer who issued the citations.

When asked what his next step will be, Mr. Shaw said that he is unsure. He will be consulting with his attorneys at Liberty Counsel to decide where to go from here.

With the board’s interpretation in hand, Mr. Shaw said that regardless of any changes he might have to make, the show will go on as scheduled. ”We’re definitely going to be doing a Christmas display this year,” he said.

The announced inclusion of attorneys from Liberty Counsel is sure to elevate this fight in the media.

Texas Town Grapples with Christmas for Non-Profits

Texas Town Grapples with Christmas for Non-Profits

The Texas city of New Braunfels (near San Antonio) came under fire last year for posting banners that reminded drivers to “Keep Christ in Christmas”. For some that ignited controversy because it appears to violate the (non-existent) establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. Folks on the city council there want to avoid such trouble this year.

For $60, the city hangs banners for local non-profit organizations, giving them a way to announce upcoming events. The local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, a non-profit, wants to promote a musical titled “Keep Christ in Christmas”. See the trouble?

At the center of the argument is the separation of church and state and whether the city should allow messages like “Keep Christ in Christmas,” even if it opens up the possibility for messages from other religions or organizations that may not be as widely accepted (the Ku Klux Klan was an example used at last night’s meeting).

Mayor Gale Pospisil says the banners are not designed to advocate religious or political beliefs but are a service that NBU generously provides, and something that could just as easily be taken away.

Paula Difonzo told City Council that last year they put up 75 banners for non-profit organizations as a community service.

Difonzo told Council, quote, “As we all evaluate the purpose of the program, I hope we can understand that it’s not about whether we agree or disagree with the message, what we must think about and what we should try to understand is that we cannot discriminate between messages. So that when we allow one message that advocates a religious or political position, we must allow all such messages.”

Now that the issue has been brought up in the media you can bet targets have been drawn on the Texas town (three towns in Texas were targets last year) and that someone there will soon be receiving letters from the FFRF or the ACLU.

School District Superintendent Under Fire for Anti-Christmas Crusade

School District Superintendent Under Fire for Anti-Christmas Crusade

Kathleen Williams, superintendent of schools for the Wausau, Wisconsin School District is under fire by angry parents and students for her crusade against Christmas music. The rift started when Williams called in a local high school music teacher to meet with a school district attorney in discussing how religious Christmas music violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Even though the school district has for decades sent music groups out into the community to perform both sacred and secular Christmas music Williams expressed concerns that continuing to do so would expose the school district to lawsuits and complaints from the community. In a meeting held late last week Williams explained her belief that a group of high school kids singing some Christmas carols is prohibited under the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Caroling “is endorsing Christmas, which is a very religious holiday,” Williams declared, according to the Wausau Daily Herald. Her concern is that singing a Christmas song to old people at a nursing home violates the doctrine of separation of church and state.

In her meeting with music educators Williams instructed that no sacred works be performed for Christmas 2013.

Music teacher Phil Buch responded to the ultimatum by disbanding the elite choir group, called the Master Singers—an extracurricular group that meets before school. The choir — which turned away 60 percent of students who wanted to join this year — sings at the school’s winter concert and in venues such as nursing homes and service club meetings.

“I know, after teaching this group for 31 years, that I need 10 weeks to get these kids ready, and right now, we don’t know what we’re approved to perform,” the choir director told the Daily Herald. “There is no point in rehearsing if we don’t know what we’ll be able to sing.”

“Excluding sacred music would mean that students would get an incomplete education,” warned Julie Burgess, a music teacher in a nearby school district.

“The group is not a religious group,” said Adam Yarish, a college student who sang with the Master Singers in high school. “The singers were for hire. We caroled around the city. We’ve been around and been in demand for 30 years. People love the Master Singers.”

Williams and the school board quickly backed away from their demands against sacred Christmas music for this year and has elected instead to allow local school principals to determine the appropriate content of school music programs for this Christmas.

But for Williams the damage is done. She faces a recall petition as the community is still stewing over the attempted abrupt action of the Superintendent.

Wisconsin Christmas Music Battle Goes Viral; Students Claim Victory

Wisconsin Christmas Music Battle Goes Viral; Students Claim Victory

We reported the story last Sunday — the media ran with it Tuesday. By Wednesday Freedom From Religion Foundation got in on the act. It appears to be the first big national story in the War on Christmas 2013.

In an update after a late Thursday meeting with the school district students and parents are claiming victory and that the Christmas concerts are now back on — with traditional Christmas music put back in place.

Here’s the issue: without warning the choir director at West High School in Wausau, Wisconsin was called to discuss plans for the upcoming music events to be held in December. It was reported early on that Wausau schools three options for December concerts, which typically contain a significant amount of religious music: choose five secular, or non-religious, songs for each religious song performed; hold a concert and have no holiday music whatsoever; or postpone any concerts in December. The choir director was outraged and in response he opted not only to cancel concerts — he disbanded the music groups who would traditionally perform.

The school district claims it is merely making sure they don’t violate the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution (because educators in Wisconsin have SUCH a great track record with constitutional issues). They also say now they never came up with the plan to perform a certain amount of secular songs for every religious song performed. They claim that was a “misunderstanding”.

Needless to say, as with many battles we’ve seen before about Christmas in public schools, this one too will end with someone being very unhappy.

Freedom from Religion Foundation president Annie Laurie Gaylor claims no responsibility in this latest fight but was quick to pitch in with FFRF’s support of the school district:

“There can be a fine line, and we understand in some instances there can be sacred classical music in the schools, but it’s so easy for something like this to turn into a message of indoctrination. When you have a chorus going out to 15 places to sing religious music, it really does give the appearance that the school is celebrating Christianity.”

Yes, Christianity as gained so many converts over the decades by going to nursing homes to sing “Silent Night”.

The tip off of a problem was that the school choir director met with school district officials with an attorney present. In other words, they were ready for a fight.

According to a story on The Blaze tonight, the choir director at West High is known for his religious nature.

All this intense attention to the issue appears to have been resolved as of late Thursday. The Wausau School District has backed off on the requirements and have left the decision of local program content to school principals.

The crux of the issue comes down to this: when a school group performs Christmas music with religious themes does it in fact constitute promotion of that religion? The “establishment clause” prohibits the “establishment”…does a school group singing actually do that?

Oh, and by the way, where exactly in the Constitution is the establishment clause?

Another silly chapter in the War on Christmas.

Wisconsin School District Cancels Christmas

Wisconsin School District Cancels Christmas

The state of Wisconsin once again sits center stage in the War on Christmas. The Wausau School District has issued an edict about Christmas music that has caused several school associated music groups to either disband or cancel December performances.

Phil Buch, who has directed Wausau West High School’s choral programs since 1981, said the decision to halt rehearsals for the Master Singers was made after a meeting Thursday with district officials and Frank Sutherland, an attorney who represents the school district.

Buch said district administrators gave music educators at Wausau schools three options for December concerts, which typically contain a significant amount of religious music: choose five secular, or non-religious, songs for each religious song performed; hold a concert and have no holiday music whatsoever; or postpone any concerts in December. Because the 20-member Master Singers group is invited to sing at nearly a dozen holiday concerts each year, Buch said, those options were unacceptable.

“This group sings at Christmas programs,” Buch said. “We sing for nursing homes, grade schools, businesses. To do that without Christmas music doesn’t make sense.”

District administrators did not return calls Friday seeking information about the rules, but Wausau School Board President Michelle Schaefer said the change in direction stems from legal concerns over the amount of religious music performed in the schools. The decision will not eliminate religious music altogether but will give teachers a better idea as to how much religious music is “too much,” Schaefer said.

“From a School Board perspective, we look for music that is balanced,” Schaefer said. “Yes, we are a predominantly Christian society, but we are also a society of many faiths, and we want to respect that.”

The 15 elementary schools in the Wausau School District have jointly decided to cancel all winter concerts.[School Board member Patrick] McKee said holiday songs sung by elementary school students such as “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” don’t have religious themes, and the schools canceling those concerts because of backlash concerns him.

A Facebook page supporting students and music educators AGAINST the direction of the school district has been set up to draw attention to the controversy.

Stay tuned, this one will likely garner a lot of media attention.

More info

Canadian School Replaces Christmas Music with African Drumming

Canadian School Replaces Christmas Music with African Drumming

Canada is really making headlines this year in the War on Christmas. All year long the absence of Christmas in Quebec as a “value” has been debated in the legislature and in the media. Now a school in Winnipeg is banning Halloween and replacing Christmas music in December with African drumming.

Hastings School offers classes to children from Grade 1 to Grade 8.

Parent Stephen Meleck says he’s “pretty worked up” while parent Diane Traverse says it’s taking Halloween and Christmas away from the children.

She says both holidays have been celebrated before and she thinks to cancel them now implies they are wrong.

The Louis Riel School Division says it does not mandate what traditions and activities are practised at any particular school.

It says the parents should get in contact directly with the school’s administration.

Saskatoon Buses Can Say Merry Christmas

Saskatoon Buses Can Say Merry Christmas

In a story that just will not go away in Canada it appears the fight over whether public buses in Saskatoon can now say “Merry Christmas” is over. The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission says there isn’t enough evidence to move forward with a complaint against having “Merry Christmas” signs on Saskatoon city buses.

The commission says it has declined to file the complaint made last December by Saskatoon resident and professional anti-Christmas protestor Ashu Solo.

Solo went to the commission alleging the programmable message on the buses violated separation of religion and state and discriminated against non-Christians.

Solo said he was offended and angered that his tax money funded city buses that promote a religion he doesn’t believe in.

The city’s executive council decided to keep the message and to look at adding other cultural messages in the future.

The commission is moving forward to look into a separate complaint filed by Solo over a prayer held at a volunteer appreciation banquet.

The decision not to move forward basically acknowledges that Solo was alone in his complaint and that the phrase “Merry Christmas” is not recognized as a religious utterance.

This complaint dates back to last Christmas and has bounced around various councils of government as most have NOT wanted to deal with Solo again on this kind of issue.

Pennsylvania School District Refuses to Say Winter Instead of Christmas

Pennsylvania School District Refuses to Say Winter Instead of Christmas

Another school district is standing their ground on the whole debate of whether or not to call it “Winter Break” versus “Christmas Break”. Greensburg Salem School District, located in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania near suburban Pittsburgh, decided to retain the words “Christmas” and “Easter” on calendars after a complaint registered by resident Nina Lewis.

Lewis, who requested the changes after meeting with Superintendent Eileen Amato, said she has sought similar revisions from the district for decades.

“We’re of the Jewish faith and we don’t celebrate Christmas and Easter,” she said on Thursday. “There’s Muslims in the school district, nonreligious people. It should be called winter and spring. … There’s supposed to be a separation of church and state in the schools.

“I don’t care about the overtones it has,” she added. “I don’t celebrate any of these holidays. I want it to say winter and spring.”

Director Lee Kunkle defended using the terms, saying to many people, Christmas and Easter are celebrated but have no religious overtones.

Christmas trees, the Easter bunny and gifts are symbols of the holidays and are used in schools but are not religious, he explained, to the apparent satisfaction of most directors.

“It’s a national holiday,” Kunkle said. “We’re holding it has nothing to do with religion.”

“I see no reason for a change,” President Ron Mellinger added during the board discussion.

No director voiced a contrary opinion during the meeting, a nonvoting session. Most directors in attendance indicated support of Kunkle and Mellinger’s statements.

“Our Founding Fathers never intended that all reference to God should be eliminated, but rather that our nation should not have a national religion, such as the Church of England,” Director Frank Gazze said on Thursday. “They wanted to have religious freedom for all, but that does not eliminate God from everything.”

This isn’t the first time the district has faced this issue. In 1999, Greensburg Salem changed “Christmas parties” to “holiday parties” in a handbook after receiving a similar request, according to published accounts. At some point later, the district went back to using Christmas.

Solicitor John Scales said he knew of no legal reason compelling directors to grant the change, repeating that Christmas is a national holiday.

Perhaps Ms. Lewis should read the results of this survey that indicates as many as a third of American Jews…uh,…celebrate Christmas.

Christmas Defies Definition

Christmas Defies Definition

While the media continues to whine about Christmas before Christmas there is no doubting that Christmas is being talked about even now. A quick look around the media about Christmas finds trends that makes Christmas ever more difficult to define.

For example, today on Gawker.com there is a story titled The North Korean Christmas Tour That Can Get You Killed — an article about a travel agency promoting a tour with a Christmas theme in a place where practicing any kind of religion can get you executed. The entire assumption of the piece is that no matter what Christmas to North Korea is all about religion.

At the same time that was published the LA Times tells the story that Almost a Third of Jewish Americans Have a Christmas Tree. (The article and the survey is actually about Jews losing their religious identity but its the Christmas tree that gets the big spotlight in their headline).

Yet in Berlin they have banned any kind of public Christmas display because they don’t want to offend non-Christians.

And over at My Merry Christmas.com a recent survey reveals that 98 percent of atheists plan to celebrate Christmas.

So what is it? Is Christmas religious…or is it also for the non-religious?

This is why you will never hear the term “War on Christmas” go away.

There will forever be those who speak out against it…and those of many stripes who cling to Christmas like a white beard on Santa.

This is also exactly why folks need to understand what they read about Christmas in the media. It defies being put into a box, wrapped and put under a tree. It is about religion and it isn’t about religion.

That is why is belongs in society.