Sunday, December 11, 2005

O'Reilly Defends "Happy Holidays;" But Not Really

A caller to his radio show claimed a waitress at Olive Garden -- a "red" restaurant, meaning Republican -- wished him "Happy Holidays," so he wanted to punch her in the face and didn't tip her. Audio at Crooks and Liars.

After years of blaming secularists for their "attacks" on Christmas, and fantasizing about hurting and killing people, O'Reilly chastises the guy for being a jerk to an apparent secularist attacking Christmas. After all, says O'Reilly -- who must have upped his dosage to achieve a moment of lucidity -- she doesn't know who her customers are, and wouldn't want to offend a Muslim or Jew by wishing them a "Merry Christmas."

I think a smart business person would want everyone to feel included and welcome, not just one group, and wouldn't make assumptions about a person's beliefs.

But then O'Reilly clarifies his position. Individuals are allowed to say whatever they want, but companies are not. Specifically, he is opposed to companies that "ban" Christmas.

I, however, cannot find any company the American Family Association complains about that bans Christmas. I have seen companies that have decided to use "Happy Holidays" on signs and in advertisements to be more inclusive of their shoppers, and which encourage, not order, their employees to say "Happy Holidays," since they don't know which holiday a person is shopping for.

The AFA lists the companies they threaten to boycott for using "Happy Holidays,"
Kmart, Sears, Kohl's, Home Depot, Lowe's, Target, JC Penney, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Office Max, Walgreens, Staples, BJ's, and Dell.

I'm not familiar with what's going on with all those stores, but I'm pretty sure they all have some sort of Christmas-related displays, so they're not "banning" Christmas. Of the stores I've been in this season -- JC Penney, King Sooper's (Kroger), Target -- they all sell Christmas items and have decorations up. I never notice much in the way of Hanukkah decorations, and have never seen Kwanzaa or any type of pagan or other celebration decorations. Christmas still dominates.

Wal-Mart explained their position to the Urban Legends Reference Pages
Wal-Mart is proud to welcome customers of all faith, and celebrants of all holidays.

With more than 138 million customers coming through our stores every week and a variety of holidays that they celebrate throughout this season, "Happy Holidays" is a pleasant greeting that applies to everyone and every celebration. It's simply our way of wishing our customers a good time with their family and friends during this time of year.

So the problem the AFA and O'Reilly have is that stores are not excluding all other religions and celebrations by saying only "Merry Christmas."

And both have stated that they want stores to help spread Christianity to the exclusion of all other religions and celebrations.

From the AFA's boycott form
If they don't care if they offend me by failing to recognize the Reason for the season, there are other companies that do with whom I can do business.

[emphasis added]
They want the whole season.

O'Reilly
...millions of Americans have had enough of denigrating the birth of Jesus.

[emphasis added]
See, acknowledging that not everyone is Christian and worships Christ is a denigration of the birth of Jesus.

And let's look at the essay I got that last quote from.
The federal holiday of Christmas is once again under siege this year by secular forces that want to wipe out any public display of America's Judeo-Christian traditions.

Putting up "Happy Holidays" signs means that Congress will soon be cancelling the federal holiday of Christmas? Christmas is a Judeo-Christian tradition?
Back in 1870, President U.S. Grant signed a law making Christmas a holiday for all American citizens.

Wrong. Back in 1870, Grant signed a law making Christmas a holiday for Federal workers in the District of Columbia. Today, Christmas is still not necessarily a holiday for all American citizens ... neither for a day off or to even get overtime or holiday pay.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations or holidays (federal or otherwise). These benefits are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative).

Those who are covered by the FLSA, signed into law in 1938 and upheld by Supreme Court in 1941 -- which actually is most working Americans -- have President Roosevelt and the labor movement to thank. It was done not to honor or worship Christ, but to protect workers from being exploited by employers. Gee, which, in a way does honor Christ, and his philosophy of protecting the weak. So of course those who support Christmas also support the FLSA, OSHA, and labor unions.
Eighty-five percent of Americans call themselves Christians, and believe me, many of them are not happy with "Happy Holidays" as the imposed greeting of the season.

People who call themselves Christians are greedily claiming the entire season, from October to February, as their own. Screw the 15% who are not happy with the imposed greeting of "Merry Christmas." Except that I doubt all 85% percent of those who call themselves Christians really give a damn.
All these corporate geniuses have to do is incorporate all the greetings into the store brochures and displays. Most Christians are more than happy to acknowledge Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Time or whatever. Use them all, and to all a good night.

What are there, two dozen separate holiday greetings the corporations should have to include in brochures, ads, banners, and store greetings? Well, it would teach patience, and would help the economies of advertisers and printing companies who charge per word. "Happy Holidays" is such a compact, all-encompassing, communist phrase.

See also:
Jesus Hates American Christmas Traditions

Update: My instincts are finely tuned with the pulse of American thought and opinion. 42% of Americans (according to a Fox News poll) think there is a "War on Christmas." That means 43% of Christians think O'Reilly is a dumbass.

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