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  Cup o' Joel  

The War on Christmas has begun at The Gap

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…and in the best tradition of George W. Bush, it’s a pre-emptive and unnecessary war:

The Mississippi-based American Family Assn. last week issued a fatwa against Gap Inc. — the retailing giant whose brands include Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic — calling for a “two-month boycott over the company’s failure to use the word ‘Christmas’ in its advertising to Christmas shoppers.”

Surf on over to YouTube and watch Gap’s latest 30-second spot, titled “Go Ho Ho” (Crispin Porter + Bogusky). The spot — which is in heavy rotation on network and cable TV — features a group of insanely athletic dancers leaping and twirling and stomp-cheering around a white log-cabin set. They chant, “Go Christmas, go Hanukkah, go Kwanzaa, go solstice. . . . Do whatever you wannukkah and to all a cheery night.”

There it is, right up front, enjoying pride of place: the C-word.

(Sigh.) The “War on Christmas” is, of course, one of the stupidest things ever — one of those culture war items that pretty well ensures I’ll never return to the church because, fer Pete’s sake, I’d rather not be anything like them.

There is, after all, a certain cultural arrogance required to feel persecuted just because you feel like your holiday — one of several associated with the winter season — isn’t always singled out for pandering. Maybe there’s a war over Christmas, but it’s entirely  instigated by Bill O’Reilly  and conservative Christian outlets like the American Family Association.

  1. brendancalling Says: Nov 17 10:30 AM

    and ya know, the best part of the war on christmas is that you can’t win.
    if you don’t plaster the words “jesus” and “christmas” over everything, the drooling fundamentalists have a hissy fit.
    But if you DO plaster the words “jesus” and “christmas” over everything, the same drooling fundamentalists complain that you’re commercializing the holiday.

  2. Stephen Says: Nov 17 11:47 AM

    You ever feel like an entire group is being pigeon-holed into a stereotype because of the most outspoken members of the (hugely diverse) bunch?

  3. Radley Says: Nov 17 4:32 PM

    Stephen, yes. I can’t say I feel like I could have an intelligent/logical discussion with someone who is ready to dismiss an entire religion based on the actions/words of one sect of said religion. I’m an Orthodox Christian, and I’m not sure if I’m more worried about the sects of ignorant fundamentalists or those people who seem to think that the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells are the bearers of the true Christian faith. Also, for those unfamiliar with the differences among Christian sects/denominations, Protestants traditionally rely on biblical scripture alone for spiritual instruction. I think everyone here can agree upon the ease with which one can take a verse out of context and manipulate its meaning to say whatever one pleases. This is how people like the aforementioned parties can seemingly justify hatred of or violence towards whoever they please. If you are curious, please don’t give up on the Christian faith. Check out Orthodoxy…many intelligent and logical people have done so and not found it to be hypocritical, hateful or oppressive as per the common accusations. In fact, the true principle is complete and uncompromising love of fellow men and women. Good luck, and if you’re interested, reply to this message and I can steer you in the right direction. I don’t want to be pushy, but it sounds like you’re feeling the same thing I did up until I decided to give Christianity another try (I was raised Protestant and left the church after being fed up with a number of things).

  4. Joel Mathis Says: Nov 17 4:43 PM

    That was … glib of me.

    Christian faith isn’t for me, for a variety of reasons I don’t need to go into here. I have a great many Christian friends — and relatives — to this day. I respect their faith and don’t wish to undermine it; to the extent they reciprocate those feelings, we’re all cool.

    But the stupidity I reference above is one reason — among many — that I’m not interested in returning to the faith. (Put aside my very real doubts about the existence/nature of God.) I think there’s a tendency for people who think they understand God to get *aggressive* in getting other people to share that understanding. And for good reason: It’s GOD we’re talking about!

    I don’t have the patience for that process anymore. I don’t have enough faith to try to be one of the “good guys” working inside the church — however broadly or narrowly you define it — to counter that silliness. So the silly people win. I’m out.

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