Trump Singles Out Macy’s — But There is a Small Problem

Trump Singles Out Macy’s — But There is a Small Problem

Presidential candidate Donald Trump told a faith-based gathering in Iowa over the weekend that he would fight for Christians and for Christmas — in fact, he singled out Macy’s as an anti-Christmas retailer.

“You take your boy to Macy’s and you take your boy to these stores and they don’t have the word. And I want Christmas … I want people to be able to celebrate Christmas,” said Trump to a loud ovations from the audience.

Well there’s just one small problem. Macy’s is actually one of the retailers who make liberal use of the word “Christmas” in their season advertising. In fact, that’s been their policy since 2005 — during the height of the “war on Christmas”.

Politics aside (not our thing), this is an ongoing problem in the debate over the so-called “war on Christmas” — the over generalization of what is actually happening. One side claims that “retailers refuse to say Merry Christmas” when in fact there are actually fewer retailers than ever that do that. The other side will claim, “Christmas is coming earlier and earlier each year!” as they complain about Christmas displays in retail stores — and yet Christmas comes the same time every year.

What makes Trumps claims interesting is the fact that he is making this a campaign issue — and pushing the Christian side of the war on Christmas to the forefront.

Christians are often guilty of getting some details wrong. For example, the insistent use of “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays” suggests that there is an effort to avoid saying the word Christmas. In the passion of their arguments they claim to abhor the use of “Happy Holidays”, thinking the term is anti-religious. In actuality, “Happy Holidays” is more religious than “Merry Christmas”. “Holidays” derives from the phrase “holy days”, while “Merry Christmas” (as opposed to “Happy Christmas”) derives from drinking and riotous celebration of Christmas.

On the other end of the spectrum atheist organizations claim “Christians stole Christmas from pagans, who were really celebrating Winter Solstice”. That too is a bastardization of real history. Christmas was celebrated for centuries before Christ and the Winter Solstice was a key part of the observance.

Donald Trump — who remains ambiguous as to his true faith — likely does not know any of this. Frankly he is pandering to get votes. The “war on Christmas” will yield only so much, however. Surveys consistently show that regardless of where people stand on the issues of the war on Christmas they are sick to death of hearing about it.

We will see how far it profits Trump. In the mean time, we’re certain Macy’s will likely defend themselves against this and they really should.

Spain Abandons Black Face Tradition

Spain Abandons Black Face Tradition

The issue of black-faced whites portraying Christmas characters in parades and seasonal festivities is not limited to the Netherlands. After years of controversy government officials in Madrid say that any future depiction of King Balthazar in Spain will be portrayed by a black person. In years past the part has been played by a white individual with a blackened face. Spanish tradition in Madrid includes a parade in which the three Wisemen are shown.

“This change is much more than just anecdotal,” Socialist city councillor Mar Espinar said on Wednesday. Her party has spent years championing changes to the event. “Given the increasingly large community of colour in our city, it seems absurd that this role continues to be represented by a person with their face blackened.”

Over in the Dutch capital of The Hague meanwhile, the education board said elementary schools would no longer use Santa helpers with painted black faces, another holiday tradition that had caused considerable offence.

The move, which came after the United Nations called last month for the “Black Pete” practice to be modified to avoid reflecting negative stereotypes, is the broadest measure against the practice, and will affect more than 160 schools, Reuters reported.

A majority of Dutch people reject any suggestion that Black Pete, typically played by white people in blackface, is racist. But many others disagree. Starting this year, schools in The Hague will begin phasing out the use of blackface, curly hair wigs and red painted lips, with the changes to be completed within three years. They will be replaced with visually neutral Santa servants.

It would be important to note that while Spain and other Catholic dominated societies enjoy the tradition of Three Kings Day the Bible doesn’t actually mention how many of the Magi there were or what their ethnicity might be. The names of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar are nowhere to be found in Christian scripture. Many places around the world show the Wisemen at the Nativity but the Bible says they actually did not show until the Christ child was likely more than 2 years old.

Media Explodes with Complaints of Christmas Creep

Media Explodes with Complaints of Christmas Creep

No sooner did CreditCards.com publish a survey showing that millions of Americans have started their Christmas shopping than the media exploded with complaints of Christmas creep.

In New Jersey a radio station made no attempt at journalistic integrity — they just posted every negative comment they could find from an informal poll on their Facebook page. Apparently NOBODY in New Jersey likes to see or hear about Christmas in September.

In Tampa the media declares “the Christmas creep has started — whether we like it or not”.

In Pennsylvania they noted the milestone of September 15th and the fact that marked 100 days until Christmas…but that Christmas Creep is coming, so you better watch out. (Is this getting ridiculous or what?)

In New York Christmas creep is so bad they just tell the story in pictures. They posted a grand total of two images.

TIME magazine won’t even call it Christmas creep anymore — they call it “Holiday creep” because, doggone it, they aren’t going to contribute to the madness that is “Christmas”.

But not every media outlet is covering Christmas creep this year the same way.

CNBC’s own headline told everyone to “stop complaining about Christmas creep” because many shoppers actually like Christmas shopping early.

In British Columbia a university is actually campaigning to explain Christmas creep and the many myths behind it. They say it is nothing new and that claims Christmas “comes earlier and earlier” are just false.

And in Florida, a television station reports that customers have been asking when the Christmas stuff was going to be put out.

Christmas creep is as false as the war on Christmas. It doesn’t exist. There is nothing new about Christmas in the marketplace months before Christmas. It has been well documented that from July forward Christmas has a strong presence in stores.

No doubt that it grates on the nerves of some people but the vast sentiment against Christmas is a media manufactured controversy.

Post Office Skips Religious Stamps for Christmas

Post Office Skips Religious Stamps for Christmas

A growing chorus of voices is beginning to express their displeasure at the US Postal Service due to their absence of religious themed stamps this holiday season. For generations the postal service has released festive and some times sacred images of religion figures or themes during holiday periods. The absence of such images is getting unfavorable notice.

The outcry began with the observation that the newest Christmas stamps featuring a tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas is conspicuously missing the image of Linus repeating the Christmas story on stage.

Now the exclusion of religion from this year’s stamps has even the politicos wondering if the struggling post office arm of the government is at war with religion.

As for us, we wonder if this is a big deal at all. The USPS is broke and losing money like crazy. There might be other issues contributing to this year’s decision. And it was only last Christmas that they had the Magi.

Let’s wait and see.

Farrakhan Calls for Blacks to Boycott Christmas

Farrakhan Calls for Blacks to Boycott Christmas

A new wrinkle in the lead up to Christmas 2015 comes from the lips of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who is encouraging black consumers to boycott Christmas claiming “white business” enjoys a bonanza thanks to black consumers.

Quoting Martin Luther King, Farrakhan said, “He said ‘we have to find a way to redistribute the pain,’ He talked about going to businesses that benefited from black dollars and he said, ‘We have to now withdraw our economic support, so that those who give us pain can receive some pain in return.’”

Farrakhan quickly added this disclaimer, “We intend to boycott Christmas, but not Jesus. We think that they have taken advantage of us and our consumer dollars by materializing the respect and honor of Jesus and making it a bonanza for white business.”

This is part of what is being called the “Justice or Else” campaign. ““So the ‘or else’ for us is you’re either going to treat us right or we’re going to withdraw our economic support.”

Farrakhan lamented how “a white man from the North Pole with eight reindeer can knock Jesus to the curb” and even suggested that pastors all across the country shouldn’t even be buying Christmas trees.

This rhetoric is coming at a time when racism has entered the public dialogue about Christmas like no other time in history.

Consumer Website Critical of Christmas on Sale

Consumer Website Critical of Christmas on Sale

The Consumerist — a publication advocating for consumers — has their Christmas knickers in a twist again that a store is selling Christmas lights in September. The big offender? Fred Meyer. In Alaska.

Alaska, last we looked, is a place that can get winter weather in September. Maybe, just maybe, someone there might want to hang their lights while the weather is still good.

But no. The Consumerist has spies everywhere and they have decided that there is a difference between Christmas shopping season and Christmas decorating season. They seem genuinely bent out of shape that Christmas decorations are — gasp! — for sale long before Halloween.

Where’s the crime, fellas?

It’s a store. They sell stuff. That’s what they do.

Everyone — shoppers and long distant critics alike — has their freedom of choice. They don’t have to buy the stuff.

Retailers are crazy folks. They watch trends. Typically they don’t put stuff on sale that doesn’t sell. After all, selling stuff is what they do.

We don’t think they put that Christmas stuff out to set a mood.

Christmas Creep isn’t what happens when stores put Christmas things on sale.

Christmas Creep is what happens when idiot publications and media outlets start complaining about it.

Indiana School Board Appears Ready to Fight for Nativity

Indiana School Board Appears Ready to Fight for Nativity

The Superintendent of Concord Community Schools in Elkhart, Indiana, John Trout, gave a rousing statement of support after a large public showing against the efforts of the FFRF to quell performance of a live nativity at an annual Christmas concert put on by a local high school. The event has a 30-year tradition.

He said:

“At the outset, let me state unequivocally that Concord Community Schools disagrees with the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s assertion and demand that any school celebration occurring during the Christmas holiday season must be purely secular. That is not an accurate statement of the law. Decades ago, beloved music department chair, Joe Beickman began the Spectacular, modeling it on Radio City Music Hall’s annual performance, after the high school band attended a performance following the band’s participation in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. As always, if a stuent or parent finds objectionable any portion of the Spectacular, or any school assignment for that matter, that student is free to opt out of the performance or assignment. Many students have chosen to do so in the past. The Nativity Scene participation is purely voluntary and is rehearsed only after school hours. It provides historical context to the entire holiday season and is a small portion of a two hour long performance. The Spectacular also traditionally includes secular, holiday musical favorites, such as Jingle Bells, Let It Snow and Parade of the Wooden Soldiers. For more than 30 years, the Spectacular has been an important part of the Concord High School holiday experience. It will continue to be so.
Concord Schools possesses well-established processes that allow anyone who is concerned about a course, textbook or educator to address that concern with school leadership. Concord Schools will not engage in a public media fight when outside organizations choose to contact media outlets, presumably for ulterior motives, instead of following those established procedures. To become involved in such a frenzy would not benefit our students in any fashion.”

Local sources indicate that hundred of people and several news stations were at the event held tonight.

Elkhart Rallies Around Concord High for Nativity

Elkhart Rallies Around Concord High for Nativity

The forces are gathering in Elkhart, Indiana to fight to keep a Christmas tradition alive. As we reported last week, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is pulling their annual stunt of claiming a local unnamed resident has complained about religious elements in an annual Christmas concert event sponsored by a local high school — in this case, Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana. The FFRF says to remove that part of the program or they will sue the school district.

Since then more than 6000 individuals have joined a Facebook group in support of keeping the concert as it has been and fundraisers have begun selling green t-shirts that say “The Nativity is a biblical story. A story filled with lessons that are relevant to all of us. At the core of the Nativity are illustrations of Love, Compassion, Peace, and Respect. These values are universal in nature… they are relevant to everyone.”

The FFRF has told the school district the Nativity portion of the performance is “illegal” and “inappropriate.” They claim that allowing religious music and messaging at the concert violates the separation between Church and State and that such is unconstitutional.

Concord High supporters need to answer the FFRF with a little schooling of their own:

1. They can perform whatever they want and that is protected by the First Amendment.

2. The Constitution says NOTHING about the separation of Church and State. The constitution prohibits CONGRESS from establishing a state religion. A school singing at Christmas hardly constitutes establishing a religion. It’s a concert, not a baptism.

3. Anyone who feels the content of the Christmas program is inappropriate is advised to simply not attend.

This, of course, is not about separating Church and State. This is a wholesale attack on Christianity — and education. And the FFRF does it every year.

School Board Votes to Say Merry Christmas

School Board Votes to Say Merry Christmas

A Virginia school board has voted to use the words “Merry Christmas” on school marquees later this year. Risking lawsuits and bad publicity the Powhatan County School Board in Virginia made the decision after residents approached them three times in the past year to say Merry Christmas.

Christopher Smith of Powhatan came before the board at meetings in October and December 2014 and then again in May 2015 to make the request. He spoke alone at first, but in the subsequent meetings, he brought an increasing number of supporters.

Board members had agreed in earlier meetings that for the sake of inclusiveness, having the message on school marquees presented too many potential pitfalls and was an opportunity for some group to be left off. But the superintendent of the school board took a straw poll after checking with attorneys and recent case law on the use of “Merry Christmas”.

Even still — just to be sure no one is left out and the chances of a lawsuit is minimized — the school district declared the marquees will say “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays”.

The world breathlessly awaits the public outcry over this bold decision.

The state of Virginia has not passed a “Merry Christmas” bill protecting schools from litigation on this matter so the stakes are quite high.

FFRF Begins Annual Assault on Christmas Music in Schools

FFRF Begins Annual Assault on Christmas Music in Schools

Talk about Christmas creep: the calendar just turned to September but already the Freedom From Religion Foundation is looking to impose it’s beliefs on everyone by suing a school for performing traditional Christmas carols. According to local media in Elkhart, Indiana the FFRF has claimed someone from the local community complained to them (it is NEVER to a local school board) about the traditional Christmas concert put on by Concord High School. They are threatening to sue on behalf of this individual.

As usual, the complainer is never identified. He or she may not even exist.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter last week to Superintendent John Trout calling the celebration “illegal” and “inappropriate,” and called on the district to ensure religious themes are not included in the 2015 holiday concert. And the organization said it will consider legal action against the district if the scene is repeated this holiday season.

The FFRF does this every year beginning around this time and continuing through the Christmas season. Some school districts immediately change concert plans while others make more of a fuss. It is too early to tell which way school officials at Concord High will respond.

The Christmas concert of Concord High is quite the tradition. It is a two hour program that usually features a mostly secular program of traditional holiday songs. But the climax of the program, usually the last fifteen minutes, features a nativity depiction on stage with songs such as “We Three Kings” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” being performed.

For now, school officials have only responded with this terse statement:

Recently, Concord Community Schools received a letter from the Madison, Wisconsin based Freedom From Religion Foundation questioning an aspect of one of the high school music department’s performances. As in past dealings with Concord Schools, that foundation provided copies of its letter to the local media before school administrators were able to review the letter. It is a long standing practice of Concord Schools to not publicly comment on concerns, valid or invalid, initially raised by students, parents, or patrons to the media instead of first addressing them with school administrators. Rest assured that Concord Schools routinely reviews all of its programs, curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular, to ensure not only compliance with legal and financial standards, but also the educational goals of the school corporation. Consistent with its past practice, Concord Schools will have no further public comment concerning the letter received from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Clearly the battle lines have been drawn. An event takes place like this every year thanks to the FFRF. We’ll see how this one turns out.