Is the Culture at War with Christmas?

culturechristmasmainFlipping through magazines on an airplane the other day, I found myself sighing with irritation. An advertisement for Budweiser was tagged with the headline, "Silent Nights are Overrated." A few minutes later, in a second magazine, I came across an ad for a high-end outdoor grill, which read: "Who says it's better to give than to receive?"

My first reaction was one that I've critiqued in others, to take some sort of personal, or at least tribal, offense: "Would they advertise in Turkey during Ramadan with the line, 'Fasting is Overrated?' or by asking in India, 'Who says everything is one with the universe?'"

I was missing the point -- and that matters.

Every year about this time, there's a lot of hubbub about a so-called "war on Christmas." In some instances, there are legitimate questions of religious liberty involved and complicated church/state questions that we ought to be concerned about. More commonly, though, the outrage is directed toward the commercial marketplace, for replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" and so on.

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