Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

The War on Xmas: The Christian Persecution Complex

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on November 22, 2008

xmasIt might seem a little early to be talking about Christmas, but if you have been in any of the large household goods stores like Target or Wal-Mart, you know that, commercially speaking, it has been Christmas since Halloween. As Christmas approaches, I anticipate that I will have to take my yearly dose of Christian paranoia concerning the elimination of Christ from Christmas. In fairness to my Christian friends, some of this fear is justified. I am thinking specifically of the over-commercialization of every holiday American retailers get their hands on. Still, the fact that Wal-Mart sells a made-in-China, nine-foot, inflatable Santa Claus on a chopper doesn’t mean that someone is waging a war on your imaginary friend Jesus. It simply means that Wal-Mart is hoping to make a few bucks off of the Harley-Davidson demographic.

The one Evangelical claim that bugs me the most during this season is that the “X” in “Xmas” is an attempt to remove “the reason for the season” from the holiday. The thing that disturbs me the most about this paranoid claim is what it reveals about the person who believes it; it reveals an individual who is quick to believe and repeat what he/she has been told without bothering to do any research (would it be gratuitous to mention the similarity to sheep at this juncture?) All I had to do was type “Xmas” into Wikipedia to find out the true history of the use of this abbreviation. To summarize: “X” has been used as an abbreviation for Christ dating back to the early days of the church. It is not, contrary to what the modern Evangelical Christian movement would like you to believe, an attempt to literally cross Christ out of Christmas.

There is a good summary of the recent “secularization of Christmas” here. Specifically, the entry discusses the decision by some retailers to switch their use of the term “Christmas” to a less specific term like “holiday” or “season” in their sales promotions. I think it is no small point to remember what the primary purpose of retailers is. They are in business to make money. They were not involved in a conspiracy to “censor” Christmas, as some of the nut-jobs on FoxNews keep screeching. These businesses figured that they would make more money if they widened their customer base by avoiding the term “Christmas.” That way, Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist customers wouldn’t feel alienated as they shopped. Clearly, these retailers did not anticipate the the backlash that would come from the Christian community. (They obviously don’t know Evangelicals the way I do!)    

So what is the moral to the story for businesses this holiday season? Don’t mess with the Christian sales demographic! They have a persecution complex and they will go ape shit on you!


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