It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christ-Mess

I remember, as a child, being warned about "people trying to take 'Christ' out of 'Christmas.'"

Nowadays we have been warned that there is a "war on Christmas."

Oddly enough, some of those culture warriors who have volunteered to protect the holiday turn out to be people who are themselves taking "Christ" out of "Christmas." In fact, they seem to be promoting Pagan symbols in the guise of Christianity. (I suspect that Pagans are not particularly happy about this trademark infringement.)

But before considering this tale of the pretended war on Christmas — "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" — we must ask whether the controversy has anything to do with civil liberties, or the ACLU.

And the answer is: "It depends."

To the extent that people are concerned about what Christmas should or should not mean (whether for themselves, their families, or their religious communities), such concerns, beliefs, and expressions are all part of protected speech and religious freedom under the U.S. Constitution — and the ACLU actively works to ensure that those rights remain protected.

But some want to go beyond simply deciding what "Christmas" should mean, they want the government to adopt and promote their religious viewpoints — even when they are promoting Pagan symbols in the name of Christianity.

It's going too far to demand that the government use its powers to promote anyone's particular religious beliefs.

Take for example one of the generals in this battle, John Gibson, whose book The War on Christians has done a great deal to promote Paganism in the guise of defending traditional Christmas. Check out this remarkable statement in which he suggests he wants to protect

normal and traditional Christmas representations such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus, treetop stars, wreaths, the singing of and listening to Christmas carols or Christmas instrumental music, attending a performance of Dickens' A Christmas Carol .... (emphasis added)

"Normal and traditional"? It seems that General Gibson wants to destroy Christmas in order to save it!

Take a look at the new ACLU web pages on Christmas where we look into some of these "normal and traditional" expressions, including Santa Claus, evergreens and decorations, and that story about some very unbiblical "ghosts" who haunt Christmas Eve in A Christmas Carol.

In fact, John Gibson is so eager to defend Christmas that he's willing to take Christ out of it.

There is a simple and easy solution to all of this. Let John Gibson and his cohorts believe whatever they want to believe and let all other religious people and nonreligious people decide for themselves what symbols should mean and which are sacred and which are not. But let's keep the government out of the business of deciding which beliefs and symbols are sacred, and using its powers to promote Gibson's interpretation or mine.

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Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Thank you for posting this.

Max Blumenthal wrote an excellent piece on his Daily Beast blog about the White Nationalist origins behind O'Reilly's and Gibson's "War on Christmas". Here is his well-researched article via Huffington Post:

liberal hater

What a goddamn shame that the ACLU hates America!

Joe Sack

The harsh tone of this post is a little offensive. I'm a deep believer in freedom of speech and separation of church and state, but this post has nothing to do with that. Why should the ACLU be involved in debating whether christmas trees are pagan symbols? That goes outside its mission of protecting civil liberties, and touches on very personal religious issues. Please consider moving this post to a more appropriate forum.


Wow... non-sequitur much there, Mr. Hater?


Actually, this reminds me of a Christmas card that I got once. The inside had a beautiful Bible verse about joyous people giving gifts to one another.

Apparently the makers of the card, desperate to give "Christmas presents" a Biblical mandate, had pulled the verse out of Revelations without paying attention to the context. The verse was describing people celebrating the deaths of the righteous--not giving Christmas presents to one another.


I recently used the comments to point out the obvious pagan themes to Christmas as an example on how ignorant it is for ACLU, or anyone else, to try and sanitize the holiday of Christian ties.

It's just as bad, if not worse for ACLU to ram those pagan ties down the throats of those who wish to celebrate Christmas. You really should be ashamed of yourselves.

You think you are protecting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but what about just shutting up and allowing us the "Pursuit of Happiness" as reserved to us in the Declaration of Independence! It doesn't matter what reason we have for celebrating Christmas, but if it makes us happy to do so then you'd damn well better learn to accept it and leave us alone!

Fly By Knight


NO Christian, regardless of specific beliefs, wants government to "PROMOTE" Christianity!

Moreover, NOTHING about displaying a nativity scene, hanging a "Merry Christmas" greeting, or permitting Christmas carols at a school's concert "PROMOTES" Christianity. Those things RECOGNIZE the celebration.

Does celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday "PROMOTE" his religion?
Or, does it "PROMOTE" his race - recruiting those of us of the Caucasion Persuasion to become African-Americans?

Please stop using these relentless attacks on schools and local governments to help justify ACLU's existence. America is about CELEBRATING the richness of our MANY religious and cultural backgrounds - NOT about "PROMOTING" the absence of FAITH.


I came upon your blog because I was looking to "become a fan of" the ACLU in facebook, to show my support for the good work that you guys do. And you do do good work. But then I saw the titles of your latests blog posts, most of which were fine, except this one.

Actually, in reading the post, I agree with much of what you say, but the title itself sounds like an attack on Christianity and as someone above said the tone of the post is harsh.

My conservative friends constantly attack the ACLU and I constantly defend you guys, telling them that you are not against religion, that you would protect their rights as much as any other. It makes it all the harder to convince them when you guys write things like "Christ-mess." And frankly, it makes me wonder if I'm speaking the truth when I defend you..... I think I'll put off being a "fan" for another day.


Umm, I'm confused. I thought the article said:

"It’s going too far to demand that the government use its powers to promote anyone’s particular religious beliefs."

Seems like the author was saying that people are lobbying the govt. for intervention of Christmas, and that this is bad. Simply because the Govt. does NOT have the authority to do so as stated in the bill of rights. You should be able to celebrate any way you feel like.

It also contained the idea that it's a hard point to talk about because of what makes 'Christmas' 'Christmas' in America. It's all a bunch of handed down pagan ideas. The symbols and decorations of Christmas don't match, by any means, any part of Christianity. The IDEAS and general Reasons for Christmas are Christian though. Basically it just makes it twice as hard a subject to figure out.

I don't see why the commenters were so against this article. We want the Govt. to promote nothing. That way no one group get's their holiday while the rest get persecuted.

... But let’s keep the government out of the business of deciding which beliefs and symbols are sacred, and using its powers to promote Gibson’s interpretation or mine.

'keep the Govt.'s nose out of our business'

Why are people trashing this article?



The history of christmas, is that it is an adaptation of pagan Faith to christianize the pagan winter celebrations and has nothing to do with christen mythology. Christens have taken a sacred celebration of the gifts of nature and turned it in to a massive sales campaign, christianity is not a religion, its a business venture.


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