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.