Republican House Member Introduces Resolution To Fight The ‘War On Christmas’

A Colorado Republican Congressman has introduced a resolution meant to involve our nation's representatives in the non-existent 'War On Christmas.'

Capitol Building Christmas Tree

A group of House Republicans apparently feels it necessary to get involved in the phony ‘War On Christmas’ meme this year:

A group of House Republicans has signed onto legislation declaring support for Christmas.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) has introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the House that “the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas” amid warnings from the right that religion is being pushed out of the holiday.

The resolution states that the House “strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas” and “expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.”

Thirty-five fellow Republicans have signed onto the resolution as co-sponsors.

The measure comes after Starbucks encountered controversy this holiday season for unveiling minimalist red cups.

Some Christians accused the coffee chain of trying to downplay the role of faith in the holiday season, calling it the latest example of a “war on Christmas.”

Joshua Feuerstein, an Arizona-based evangelist with nearly 2 million followers on Facebook, said “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.” He further called on his followers to give their names as “Merry Christmas” when ordering drinks as a means of forcing Starbucks baristas to say the phrase.

As I noted when I wrote about the ridiculous Starbucks controversy earlier last month, the company changed it cups to the so-called “minimalist” red design after several years of using cups that featured symbols such as snowflakes, reindeer, snowmen, and other quite obviously non-religious, and argument even not directly Christmas, renderings on the cups that it used for the month between the beginning of November and the end of the year. Despite this, these cups somehow became the latest example of the so-called ‘War On Christmas’ that has seemingly become an annual narrative around this time of year in which many so-called Christians claim that popular culture is engaging in a “war” on Christianity in general and Christmas specifically by attempting to strip the holiday of any religious meaning. The argument is ridiculous, of course, for several reasons. First of all, it has long been the case that, for many Americans Christmas has become cultural holiday that isn’t necessarily specifically religious even though it it intended to mark the birth of Jesus Christ, which by most accounts probably didn’t happen in December to begin with. Whether its Christmas trees, lights, Santa Claus, gift-giving, or any other number of holiday traditions, the fact of the matter is that the ways in which most of us celebrate Christmas aren’t necessarily religious, or at least not exclusively religious. Secondly, while most of the popular symbols of the holiday season are secular, there’s also plenty about it that is religious, including numerous popular Christmas Carols that are explicitly religious in nature as well as religious elements such as creches and other representations of the birth of Christ. Finally, it simply has to be said that if there ever was a ‘War On Christmas,” it’s blindingly clear that Christmas won a long time ago. The season is one that seems to start earlier and earlier every year, and it’s virtually impossible to go anywhere in public and not be bombarded with Christmas something. That’s not something I object to mind you, but I say it to make the point that the people who argue that some unseen force has been trying to push Christmas out of the public square are either being completely disingenuous, or they are utterly blind to the world around them.

All that being said, the fact that this “War On Christmas” meme is something that seems to come up every year is, in the end, harmless. It gives Fox News Channel and talk radio something to talk about during a time when the news is otherwise slow, I suppose, and it gives the other networks something to “respond” to. Ultimately, it’s harmless. Why any member of Congress feels the need to enter into this silliness, though, is just a pathetic representation of what our politics has turned into. This resolution, which may or may not even reach the floor of the House, is utterly meaningless and has no enforcement power. It is being introduced and co-sponsored, though, by Members of Congress who are quite obviously pandering to a certain wing of the Republican Party that clings to the largely idiotic belief that Christianity is under siege in the United States, and it helps to fuel other aspects of our political culture that are, in the end, not healthy.

On some level, I suppose it’s better that Congress spend its time on this meaningless foolishness rather than anything where it could do real damage, but at the same time it’s unfortunate that politicians feel its necessary to buy into this idiocy.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Popular Culture, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    If you really doubt the hegemonic nature of Christmas, you should spend time in Japan. The streetlamps are decorated, there are Santas everywhere, and you would think you are on Any Main Street in the US.

  2. Mikey says:

    As usual The Onion has the best take on this nonsense:

    Nation’s Oppressed Christians Huddle Underground To Light Single Shriveled Christmas Shrub

    UNDISCLOSED LOCATION—Persecuted and driven into hiding because of their beliefs, the nation’s oppressed Christians reportedly huddled in a secret underground bunker late Wednesday night to decorate and light a single withered Christmas shrub.

  3. Mikey says:

    Also, the following needed modification for accuracy:

    Joshua Feuerstein, an Arizona-based evangelist hate-mongering, bigoted asshole

  4. Pch101 says:

    Fundamentalists want to transform the US into a Christian theocracy. When they get all stirred up about this non-existent sharia law problem, it seems that their main concern is not for freedom and liberty but their fear of the competition.

    At some point, the business wing of the GOP is going to have to do something to subdue these jihadists in their base. The business establishment’s willingness to negotiate with terrorists is starting to backfire; the business-religious-nativist coalition fashioned by Reagan that threw a few bones to the Religious Right but otherwise kept them at the back of the bus is beginning to unravel.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    You know…it’s not like this Republican Congress is doing anything else…you know…like attempting to govern. We only pay those f’ers $174K a year…certainly we don’t expect them to work for it.
    223 million christians in this country and all they have to worry about is this kind of crap.
    Religion…ppphhhhtttttt………

  6. steve says:

    Hah! I am devoted to the War on Christmas and we will win. They will have to pry my reindeer gun out of my cold, dead hands.

    Steve

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The War on Christmas is over. Wal Mart won. Meanwhile, bak to stringing the lights on my Christmas AK-47. Do you think the tinsel might be a little over the top?

  8. anjin-san says:

    If these idiots want to honor Jesus they should get off their asses and help the sick and poor.

  9. CSK says:

    Oh, Christmas is all over the place (I enjoy all the lights and decorations myself). What these people are objecting to is the fact that there’s no longer a life-sized animatronic manger scene in the registry of motor vehicles, the county courthouse, and every other federal, state, and local government office.

  10. Mikey says:

    @CSK:

    What these people are objecting to is the fact that there’s no longer a life-sized animatronic manger scene in the registry of motor vehicles, the county courthouse, and every other federal, state, and local government office.

    To those who’ve always benefited from privilege, its removal is often perceived as oppression.

  11. Pete S says:

    On some level, I suppose it’s better that Congress spend its time on this meaningless foolishness rather than anything where it could do real damage, but at the same time it’s unfortunate that politicians feel its necessary to buy into this idiocy.

    I suspect that Paul Ryan quietly suggested that these idiots work on this resolution while he was busy trying to finish up budget negotiations. It keeps them out of the way. Kind of like my daughter gets sent to “help” me shovel snow when my wife wants to wrap presents without interruptions.

  12. J-Dub says:

    The War on Christmas was fought long ago. Sears and Macy’s defeated the Christians with a Shock and Awe sales campaign. Later, the NFL would finish off the Christians when it claimed their day of the week as its own. The Christians would go on to blame the Atheists for their downfall, because, well, they love football and shopping.

  13. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    To those who’ve always benefited from privilege, its removal is often perceived as oppression.

    In the GOP’s America, “religious liberty” = the right of fundamentalist Christians to bully everyone else.

  14. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @anjin-san: Double triple up vote!

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @Pete S: Plus the fact that the sort of yahoos who are having conniption fits about this sort of stuff are EXACTLY the sort of guys you don’t want near you in the kitchen when you’re working on the national budget extension dish….

  16. Monala says:

    @Mikey: So funny! There is a term I’ve heard, “persecution envy.” (Or less charitably, “martyrbation.”). A lot of American Christians grow up hearing stories of Christians of yore or in other lands enduring persecution for their faith and standing strong, and they want to imagine themselves to be similarly heroic. Since they’re not actually undergoing persecution, however, they need to make it up.

  17. edmondo says:

    If you really doubt the hegemonic nature of Christmas, you should spend time in Japan. The streetlamps are decorated, there are Santas everywhere, and you would think you are on Any Main Street in the US.

    See, the House resolution is already having an impact across the globe.

  18. Pete S says:

    @anjin-san: A lot of Christians really do care about the sick and poor. (A lot of non-Christians do as well, it is not remotely a uniquely Christian trait). But there seems to be little overlap between people who make a big show of their “Christian beliefs” and people who really care about the sick and poor.

  19. Mr. Prosser says:

    Doug Lamborn represents the 5th Colorado congressional district, which is primarily Colorado Springs, in which Focus on the Family has its HQ. Not much else has to be said.

  20. anjin-san says:

    @Pete S:

    A lot of Christians really do care about the sick and poor.

    No doubt about this, my wife is one of them 🙂

  21. CSK says:

    @Pete S:

    I think you’re right about that. Most Christians (and Jews, and Hindus, and Buddhists, and Muslims, plus any other religion you can name, as well as atheists, agnostics, and the religiously indifferent) who do good for the sick and the poor do not spend a lot of time telling you how swell they are for doing good.

    Just as a side note, I’ve always wondered why Sarah Palin, who constantly professes publicly her profound Christian beliefs, and who has a Down’s Syndrome son, did not choose to set up a foundation and an advocacy agency for children and adults similarly afflicted. It would seem the “Christian” thing to do, right?

  22. Moosebreath says:

    “Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) has introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the House that “the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas””

    Okey-dokey. Does this resolution mean that the symbols of Christmas are not permitted to be used by those who do not celebrate it? So that Starbucks would be forbidden from giving a coffee cup with Santa on it to a Jew, or Wal-Mart would not be able to give a bag with reindeer on it to a Muslim?

  23. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    “Alle Jahre wieder …”

  24. James Pearce says:

    Ultimately, it’s harmless.

    Not harmless is this idea that it’s un-PC to say “Merry Christmas.”

    That hurts my butt.

  25. anjin-san says:

    the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas

    Do these guys even know that Santa Claus is a marketing gimmick?

  26. Mikey says:

    @Monala:

    “martyrbation.”

    That is utter genius. Henceforth it will be my official term for self-styled persecutees.

  27. Pete S says:

    @anjin-san: They probably don’t realize the “Christmas” tree is a pagan symbol either.

  28. ernieyeball says:

    Thirty-five fellow Republicans have signed onto the resolution as co-sponsors.

    “The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster cruel vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging three headed beast like god one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes fools and hypocrites. ”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

  29. Slugger says:

    I strongly recommend an amendment to this bill to rid Christmas of Wotanic ideas and symbols. Evergreens, lights, mistletoe, and flying reindeer are clearly Norse incursions. Actually, real Americans such as George Washington thought that December 25 celebrations were Germanic excesses, and he used the date to famously move his troops across the Delaware.

  30. Pch101 says:

    The irony is that our beloved Puritan Pilgrim settlers were opposed to Christmas celebrations. I suppose that expecting today’s right wingnut zealots to crack a history book would be too much to ask.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/opinion/the-puritan-war-on-christmas.html

  31. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: @Pete S:

    Actually, it is the “enemies of Christmas” who don’t comprehend the secular nature of Santa Claus or the Christmas tree. Several attacks have called for Christmas trees and Santa be banned so as not to offend non-believers. Just this year, the University of Tennessee diversity office sent directions insisting that all “holiday” parties not have any indication of Christmas so as not to offend.

    I remember way back when I was stationed in DC around 2002, the little wide spot in the tracks, Washington Grove, banned Santa in their Christmas parade as a Christian symbol. This, of course, meant that half the crowd was dressed as Santa on the offending day.

    Personally, I’d ban all work and non-religious celebrations of the time formally known for Christmas. People, Christians, Jews, Kwanza celebrators, could then concentrate on their religious celebrations. Then in January, secular parties could be arranged to break up the winter and after all the stress of the “holidays”.

  32. JKB says:

    The amusing things about the Starbucks cups is that they are more like the red SOLO cups popular with Rednecks and probably distressing to Starbucks pretentious customers.

  33. ernieyeball says:

    @JKB:..The amusing things about the Starbucks cups is that they are more like the red SOLO cups popular with Rednecks and probably distressing to Starbucks pretentious customers.

    U just make this sh!t up as U go along don’t ya’.

  34. ernieyeball says:

    What War on Christmas?

    I havent had a drink this evenin, baby
    But Im all lit up like a Christmas tree

    B.B. King Merry Christmas Baby
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emSUJzapDQo

  35. Mikey says:

    @JKB:

    the secular nature of Santa Claus

    Santa Claus is derived from Saint Nikolaus, a Christian bishop who lived in what is now Turkey in the late 3rd to mid 4th century. Christians have celebrated his day on December 6 for centuries.

    Many of the modern trappings of Christmas are of secular derivation, but Santa is Christian from the get-go.

  36. Tyrell says:

    I remember some time ago when our pastor and other people were absolutely aghast and railed against the Christmas carols being played in stores, on television commercials. manger scenes in stores, and other Christmas religious symbols being used as props and set pieces to sell something. Back then a lot of churches were more strict about how, and when, Christmas was observed in the church. The correct symbols on the tree, the correct colors on the altar, Advent wreath and candles, and the number of days to observe Christmas. It was not ditch all the stuff the day after Christmas. And that is the way a lot of people had it in our homes: Advent calendars, the tree definitely not up before Thanksgiving, and not taken down three hours after Christmas.
    They felt that Christmas religious observances belonged in people’s homes and churches. And definitely not on some government property.
    Starbucks: red, green, and white cups ? They have the right idea: the seasonal colors, and simple, clean. But blue is also heavily Christmas too.

  37. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mikey: Don’t go that way; it only plays into the hands of these knotheaded “war on Christmas/Christianity” true believers.

  38. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @J-Dub: The first winter I was teaching in Korea, I asked some of my ESL adult students “do Koreans celebrate Christmas very much.” Most of my students noted that Christmas was very seriously celebrated by the 30% of the population that identifies as Christian, but my favorite answer was

    Lotte (department store) celebrates Christmas, Home Plus and EMart (big box discount retailers) celebrate Christmas, Koreans–not as much.

    The children that I taught told me that the most important thing about Christmas was the same as it was for Buddha’s Birthday–they were allowed to go to PC rooms to play computer games.

    Shock and awe indeed!

  39. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Thanks! That explains a lot!

  40. Franklin says:

    @James Pearce: Judging by your avatar, we would definitely not want to hurt that butt.

  41. anjin-san says:

    @Mikey:

    Santa Claus is derived from Saint Nikolaus, a Christian bishop who lived in what is now Turkey in the late 3rd to mid 4th century.

    True enough, but the modern Santa Claus that Americans know was created for a Coca Cola marketing campaign by an artist named Haddon Sundblom.

    Santa & Coke

  42. sam says:

    Here’s the real war on Christmas: Green Christmas.

    To Stan Freberg in Heaven.

  43. KM says:

    Pro-tip from someone who was in customer service: If a customer gets in your face for saying “Happy Holidays” as required by your store, they are and have always been an a-hole in disguise. I’m not talking about the ones ones who answer back “Merry Christmas” or make a face but those who need to loudly berate you for following the directives of your supervisor. They don’t care this is something upper management told you do, they don’t care you’re unthinkingly mumbling a formulaic send-off while trying to complete a task – they’re going to take it out on the poor cashier who just wants you to move so they can wait on the next 15 customers. It makes them feel good to harass someone in a low-paying job that’s probably heard this several times today and will carry that frustration with them the rest of their shift.

    I despise the pushy Merry Christmas whiners because they focus their anger on the wrong people. The barista at Starbucks doesn’t pick the cups’ design, they just fill them. Wanna know why customer service typically takes a nose-dive around this time of year? Imagine the stress of all the massive influx of customers and now some of them randomly go off on you because of a farewell. That’s not promoting the spirit of the season, it’s making people actively hate on it.

  44. Grumpy Realist says:

    Just would like to let everyone know that the scuttlebutt about one of the Japanese department stores coming out with a crucified Santa Claus poster is in fact true. My business partner, who was living in Japan at the time, swears he saw one being posted in the train station. (He went back later to grab it but by that time they had already taken it down.)

    It was more of an oopsie than something with a long existence, but yes, it did exist.

  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Christians and their never-ending persecution complex. Ever notice that you’ll never hear us kvetching about a war on Chanukah?

    Especially relevant because there actually was one ...

  46. Nan says:

    @anjin-san: The coca-cola themed Santa, yes; however, the 21st century patron saint of retail is derived from the 3rd century Bishop of Myra, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who performed many miracles and although being from a wealthy family, gave money to the poor, in particular to a man’s three daughters, by throwing bags of gold down their chimney so the women had dowries.

  47. Tyrell says:

    This is being talked about a lot the last few days: Johnson County, Kentucky school system censors elementary school Christmas play ! Now this is going too far to the other side. Seems like the superintendent of schools in that county let one misguided individual decide the entire course of a childrens’ Christmas program. He ordered them to take all religious references out of the classic “Charlie Brown Christmas”. That in itself is censorship and should have gone through the proper committees for a decision. It also probably violates copyright laws by re-writing the play without permission of the author and publisher. More than that, this superintendent has shown a total lack of good judgement, and courage by letting himself be pushed around by one misguided individual. This play has been performed countless times in front of parents and their friends. The tv movie is shown in countless classrooms this time of year. This was a very poor decision on this man’s part. And I wonder why the school board did not take action.
    Again, this is a situation of things going to the extreme concerning this issue. The superintendent should reverse his decision and apologize to those children.