Wake up, Americans! There’s a plot to take the “Merry” out of “Merry Christmas”
Bill O’Reilly and his right-wing pals are beating the War on Christmas Drum, again. FOX audiences are reminded, almost daily from early November on that secular humanists, atheists, and other no-goodniks are plotting to kill Christmas.
I laugh when I hear these dire warnings of the demise of America’s favorite shopping season. Can you even imagine the consequences if those secular warriors actually kill Christmas? What would we do without Baby Jesus birthday cakes, red-nosed reindeer, and mall Santas!
The crusade to save Christmas began way back in 1959 when the John Birch Society went to battle against the first modern perpetrators of the War on Christmas.
I personally experienced this fight as my parents were John Birch Society members #1 and #2 in Chicago. When they joined the society, they embraced it with everything they had—including their daughter (me). Along with the rest of the new Birch army of super-patriots, I signed petitions, wrote letters, and attended Birch meetings. My father was a national Birch leader, so meetings went on in our living room almost every night.
One of the first projects the fledgling John Birch Society embraced was a national petition drive to stop the planned summit meeting between President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet premier, Nikita Khrushchev. This was the focus of every Birch meeting and every Birch member.
In the fall of 1959, a new project was announced.
Stop the United Nations and Save Christmas
One Saturday, Mother called me into the dining room. On the table, piles of pamphlet, letters, envelopes, and stamps waited. Mother scurried around checking the supplies. She stopped for a sip of cold tea and looked at me.
“You’re on deck,” she said.
“The summit?” I asked.
“No,” she answered. “Today we’re saving Christmas.”
“Saving Christmas . . . from what?”
“The United Nations,” she told me.
According to mother, the John Birch Society had uncovered a plot to replace the Baby Jesus with an international celebration of brotherhood. Before anyone was the wiser, traditional Christmas ornaments and trees would be replaced with United Nations insignia and flags.
“The Christmas tree at Marshall Field will be no more,” Mother said.
To thwart this assault on our Savior’s birthday, the Birch Society had published “There Goes Christmas.”
“All the Communist plans are exposed, right here,” Mother said, tapping the booklet’s cover.
I was put to work on the booklet assembly line and stuffed “There Goes Christmas” into envelopes addressed to a slew of folks. Everyone from our family Christmas-card list to the members of the local country club was sent a copy. By the time the project was over, I swore everyone in Chicago must have received one.
The United Nations did not take over Christmas that year. Marshall Field Department store in downtown Chicago had a glorious seven-story, traditionally decorated Christmas tree. Store clerks wished their customers “Merry Christmas.” Carols played, packages were tied up in bows and piled under trees. Little girls longed for a new Betsy Wetsy with her steamer trunk of accessories. Boys dreamed of their own Bat Masterson costume with a special place for a new cap gun. Grown-ups (and a few daring high schoolers) toasted the season with Canadian Club and Old Crow-spiked eggnog. It was a grand time.
While the John Birch Society claimed victory in this first battle for Christmas, they knew that the war was not won. That would take decades of effort.
Bill O’Reilly’s Christmas-Saving Army
Today, a new brigade of Christmas protectors have taken up the fight. Before the Thanksgiving left-overs are cold and the midnight shoppers are storming into Walmart , the FOX news gang is on full alert. This is, most certainly, the year that the left-wing Grinch will finally steal Christmas. If it’s December, the right goes crazy because a public school did not include “Silent Night” in the Christmas program or a city opted to skip the nativity scene in front of city hall.
In a presidential election season, one Republican candidate after another defends Christmas with every fiber of their being. These Republicans know that failing to declare “Merry Christmas” as the only allowable holiday greeting, puts their political career in extreme jeopardy. They can’t take a risk with the ever-vigilant right-wing Christmas police.
The Plain Red Cup
The 2015 War on Christmas got off to a rip-roaring start when Christians discovered that Starbucks’ Christmas cup features the green Starbucks logo on a plain red cup. The outrage machine was fueled by one Christian minister who said, “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.” Apparently, this guy equates snowflakes with Jesus. To be clear, Starbucks has never had religious Christmas symbols on their cups. But, hey, who cares about reality when there is a war to fight?
Meanwhile, the merchandising machine goes merrily along raking in the Christmas profits. For two months, America is consumed by shopping and shopping and more shopping. And just to be sure that not a penny is left unspent, December 26th ushers in After Christmas shopping.
Be honest: there is no relationship between our Christmas gift-o-rama and the birth of Jesus
But, never mind. While the war rages on, you have to be careful out there, Here’s a hint: you can tell the forces of the anti-Christmas are winning when a clerk at Target wishes you “Happy Holidays.”
More about the War on Christmas and some of the history of Christmas . . .
Savannah Cox looks at the history of Christmas and why is was banned by the Puritans in this article.
Daniel Denvinre writes a “Short History of the War on Christmas” in Politico. He takes the war right back to the John Birch Society.
Julia Simmons (Julie Jones) says
What a journey you’ve taken us on. At least I can see what is happening, thanks to you. I hope you keep educating us. Please don’t stop posting! You have guts Ms. Conner.
Thank you Claire. I have posted it on Facebook and I hope it and your book take a new life.
You two morons are hilarious. Keep fighting that war against intelligence and sanity,bozos.
Claire Conner says
Who are these two morons? As far as I can tell, the real bozos are the war on Christmas crazies. Please explain.
I agree with Troy, but add in that all except Troy are morons…including Claire…War on Christmas,….an imaginary baby, and imaginary virgin birth….an imaginary tree. Happy Holidays Troy!
Claire Conner says
Jim, perhaps you should actually read my post. I talked about the origins of the War on Christmas. It was the creation of the radical right and
it’s used every year to keep the evangelicals and other uber Christians in the right-wing fold. So, who’s the moron?
Robin Beelen says
Amen Claire. He didn’t even read it and bothers to criticize.
Julia Simmons says
Jim, There was a time I would have mocked you and your buddy Troy. I would have consoled myself with the knowledge that crazies like you could be safely ignored. No more! I no longer dismiss Ted Cruz as a flake. To do so is extremely dangerous.
Claire Conner continues to fight the most powerful and evil forces that can be imagined. There are not enough words to thank her. SHE is awesome.
Anthony D'Angelo says
I just finished your book. I found it thoughtful and well documented. Having lived through the ‘fifties’ I certainly remember the rise of the John Birch Society. In fact, they had a headquarters in Philadelphia not far from where I lived. Like you I was raised a Catholic, attended Catholic grade school, and a Jesuit Prep School and a Catholic Jesuit College. Thank God, for the Jesuits who taught us to “Accept nothing, question everything”. After college and the service, I taught in a Catholic High School. During the Vietnam War, I remember a priest who assigned his Seniors to read, “None Dare Call it Treason”. He used this book to whip up students, many of whom signed up to fight the Communists in Vietnam. Unfortunately, many of the young men he taught his fear of all things Red died in Vietnam. Having known many of the students who died in Vietnam, I went to their funerals and as a result became an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.
Alice Flynn says
Thanks for your work, Claire. I found your youtube channel a few years ago and have shared links to your videos. I remember the John Birch Society being active in the Catholic community in Helena, Montana, when I was growing up. The children of those families turned into right wing fanatics who are loyal to the cult ideas to this day. It alarmed my parents to see this kind of fear mongering in our midst and I recognized the “tea party” to be kin to JBC. Thank you again for your personal insight on this history and current threat.
It’s a wonder that we have this discussion every year. As a secularist, I find it gets funnier and funnier with every new expose. Red cups this year, next year it’ll be something equally as sinister. Thank you Claire for the insight, the blog and the intelligence.