It’s that time of year again–a time of
- Christmas trees;
- Nativity scenes;
- singing carols; and
- exchanging gifts with family and friends.
Christmas is special, so, each year, the executives at Fox News find a new way to stir up emotions by resurrecting the “war on Christmas” slander.
Stirring up false controversies is a daily assignment for the alleged reporters of this company owned by Right-wing patriarch Rupert Murdoch.
In 2013, it fell to Fox hostess Megyn Kelly to carry the ball. And she did so on December 11 on “The Kelly File,” her popular Fox News program.
Referring to an article by Slate writer Aisha Harris on “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” she said:
“When I saw this headline, I kinda laughed and I said, ‘Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa.’
“And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”
Of course, Santa Claus is a completely fictional character. Arguing about his skin color is as pointless as arguing about his weight.
But Kelly wasn’t content to talk only about Santa. So she turned next to Jesus, a historical figure about whom we have not a single reference to his appearance, let alone a picture.
“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too,” Kelly said.
“He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact–as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that–but my point is: How do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?”
Santa Claus a verifiable historical figure? Not even Charlie Brown, in the annually telecast “Peanuts” special, would make that claim.
Two years later, it’s Donald Trump who has claimed center-stage in “defending” Christmas. And the target of his ire? Starbucks.
In years past, its disposable coffee cups have featured snowflakes, winter scenes, reindeer and Christmas ornaments.
But this year, Starbucks decided to go with a minimalist, all-red design, its only feature being the company’s green and white logo.
This has angered some religious conservatives, who generally care more about symbols than substance.
It’s the old “war on Christmas” mantra all over again. And Trump–who hopes to win evangelical votes in Iowa and South Carolina–is happy to become its biggest cheerleader.
“I guarantee if I become president, we’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store,” he promised during a campaign rally in October.
Fast forward to November 9, and the Starbucks “controversy.” Addressing a crowd of several thousands in Springfield, Illinois, Trump said:
“Did you read about Starbucks? No more Merry Christmas on Starbucks.
“I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. That’s the end of that lease, but who cares?
“If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”
Trump did not explain how he would coerce non-Christian Americans–such as atheists, Jews and Muslims–to observe a Christian holiday.
Those who insist (whether they believe it or not) that Christmas is an endangered species should consider the following:
- In 2013, the American retail industry generated over three trillion dollars during the Christmas holidays.
- These holiday sales reflected about 19.2% of the retail industry’s total sales that year.
- More than 768,000 temporary employees were hired throughout the United States to help stores cope with the holiday rush.
- American consumers expected to spend about $704 on average on Christmas gifts.
- There is no reference anywhere in the Bible to the month–let alone the day–of Jesus’ birth.
- Jesus never commanded his followers to celebrate his birth–but he did call on them to remember his death.
- Many of the “religious” traditions associated with Christmas stem from the pagan Roman festival, Saturnalia, which celebrated the “birthday” of the sun.
- This was celebrated from December 17-25.
- Saturnalia traditions included feasting, gift-giving, lighting candles (to ward off evil spirits) and displaying wreaths (as a sign of coming spring).
- Early Christians tried mightily to convince their members to stop celebrating the Saturnalia.
- When these efforts failed, the Roman Catholic Church, in the fourth century, “Christianised” the festival by naming Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25, as Jesus’ birthday.
In George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, Oceania is always at war with Eurasia or Eastasia. Its citizens are kept in a constant state of frenzy as they’re directed to search for endless “enemies of the state.”
This, in turn, allows the unseen rulers of Oceania to run their dictatorship without interference.
It’s a lesson well-known to hucksters like Donald Trump and the men who run Fox News.