Declaring a Truce in the War on Christmas

Lighten up. The battle over Christmas and political correctness isn't getting us anywhere.

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The season of peace and brotherly love and good will towards men is a battleground these days thanks to what some folks call "The War on Christmas."

Don't think so? There are people in Rhode Island ready to run Gov. Lincoln Chafee out of the state on a rail because he designated the statehouse tree a "Holiday tree" instead of calling it a a "Christmas tree." All across America, traditional carols that make reference to the reason for the season have been eliminated from school pageants. Even the traditional greetings have been modified, with "Happy Holidays" taking the place of "Merry Christmas" in malls, shops and on street corners.

[Caption the Photo: National Christmas Tree Train Wreck.]

This was not the Christmas of my childhood, when the television networks could be counted on to show "The Little Drummer Boy," "Amahl and the Night Visitors," "The Night the Animals Talked" and other explicitly religious specials alongside "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town." There seemingly was, and it was not all that long ago, more respect for the holiday and the people who observed it. People where more concerned with spreading joy and glad tidings and less concerned about giving offense. Now all some people seem to want to do is to get in someone's face about it.

The age of political correctness is responsible for all that—but it hasn't changed what's in the hearts and minds of the American people. Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that 88 percent of American adults say they celebrate Christmas and that 81 percent of those do so as a religious holiday that commemorates the birth of the baby Jesus. Another 79 percent say religious holidays should be celebrated in the public schools and 70 percent say they prefer to see "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays" in malls and on signs in stores.

[See pictures of the White House Christmas decorations.]

The constant bickering, on both sides frankly, is taking a lot of the fun and some of the meaning out of Christmas. It's true that the remembrance of the Savior's birth is a time for rejoicing, but his coming into the world is far less important than the how and the why He left it. If you believe He is the light and the hope of the world, having someone wish you "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" doesn't change that.

There is nothing to be gained by either side by continuing to fight over such matters. It is unfortunate, even regrettable that fear of legal action and giving offense has manifestly changed the way the nation celebrates what is supposed to be a happy time for all. Responding to those changes in anger, even in defense of one's own beliefs, only makes matter worse. It's time for both sides to declare a truce in "The War on Christmas." Keeping it going isn't getting anyone anywhere.

  • Read about why Congress may be spending Christmas in Washington.
  • Read Peter Roff on how Obama's payroll tax Grinch act could backfire.
  • Read Washington Whispers: Obamas Showcase First Pup Bo for Christmas.
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    • Peter Roff

      Peter Roff is a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report. Formerly a senior political writer for United Press International, he's now affiliated with several public policy organizations including Let Freedom Ring, and Frontiers of Freedom. His writing has appeared in National Review, Fox News' opinion section, The Daily Caller, Politico and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @PeterRoff.

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