It’s really a war on Hanukkah |

It’s really a war on Hanukkah

Matt Zalaznick

Lighting Hanukkah candles while taking the ornaments down from my Christmas tree could have inspired me to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, had the reverie not been interrupted by the pounding of the deceitful rhetorical artillery in the so-called “War on Christmas.”Who is waging it? Shadowy secular insurgents? Jewish lawyers in the ACLU? Atheists with lumps of coal in their spiritual stockings? What are their goals? The end of Santa and Rudolph as we know them? Pagan-solstice sales at Target? Why are they so angry? Because they can’t remember all the lords-a-leaping and quails-a-quacking and saints-a-shoutin’ in “The 12 Days of Christmas?” Because they didn’t get Xboxes or video iPods? Taking down my Christmas lights after reciting the menorah prayer, it came to me: There is no war on Christmas. St. Nick is safe from the Anti-Defamation League. PETA can’t take away the old man’s reindeer. The Grinch has come down from Meanie Mountain to break bread with the believers. The so-called war on Christmas is really a Christmas offensive – a war on Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and all other things not-Christmas. It’s covert bullying by a fringe group that seems bothered or threatened by the people out there who don’t nail sacred glow-in-the dark wise men to their lawns. This Christmas-crisis crowd doesn’t want to look like religious thugs. One of its top propaganda peddlers is Fox News’ John Gibson, who has, as many other columnists have pointed out, creepily forgiven non-Christians for following the “wrong religion.” Gibson took up the call to arms and actually wrote a book about his Yuletide persecution fantasies called: “The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought.”Can it be long before Fox News puts up a War on Christmas threat-level graphic? When Americans are channel surfing, Fox’s elevated Tannenbaum-terror warnings will really stand out among all the Christmas specials, Christmas movies, celebrities yakking about Christmas, athletes yakking about Christmas, politicians yakking about Christmas and news stories about the size of Christmas shopping crowds and other seasonal miracles. In TV and radio interviews, Gibson has even had the audacity accuse us skulking heathens of being intolerant of the poor oppressed dominant religion’s practices. He’s said Christians in America have really put themselves out over the last couple of hundred years being tolerant of the non-believers. Just who’s being threatened here? As for tolerance, forget how welcoming American Christians were when Jews, blacks and Asians showed up in the land of the free, American Christians haven’t always been tolerant of other Christian immigrants.And Gibson’s style of Christmas cheer is the same phony compassion some Americans exhibited after Sept. 11 when they plastered Americans flags all over the windows of their cars and still drove like idiots, tailgating and cutting off their fellow endangered patriots. So just like William Randolph Hearst did to sell newspapers, a war had to be manufactured. In this case, the goal of the War on Not-Christmas is to try to intimidate anyone caught not chirping “Merry Christmas” on their way into Wal-Mart to trample their fellow man at the discount-DVD player sale.They are playing the victim to cover their assault, and the mission will be accomplished when Christmas is finally crammed into the few corners of America where it isn’t twinkling 24 hours a day. What’s wrong with a few Christmas-free zones, like school and other public places where non-believers can escape the Christmas barrage? Or maybe it’s a plot to draw Americans’ attention away from the war in which actual Christians – and Jews, Muslims and atheists – are actually dying. The same group that likes to froth about the war on Christmas likes to say how well things are going in Iraq. And its the same group that isn’t all that interested in intervening in Darfur, another place where Christians are actually being killed for their beliefs. (And don’t mention those Christians are black.) City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14620, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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