The War on Christmas is very real. Everyone has seen the massive attempt to take Christ out of Christmas. There are sparkle trees, X-mas cards and Happy Holidays. Major retailers jumped on the bandwagon and filled their advertising with joyless celebrations of an unnamed winter solstice holiday. Merry Christmas has become the war cry for millions of Americans who have fought against this politically correct mutation of the birth of the Christ Child.
The main thrust of the War on Christmas was not a direct attack but the deliberate ignoring of the feast. There was a big reaction to this offensive. Millions of Christians nationwide protested against this new winter holiday forced upon them. They organized boycotts, petitions and complaints nationwide targeting the culprits on many media. The public outcry was so great that gradually many retailers, including mighty Walmart, restored real Christmas themes to the stores. The issue even made it into the presidential elections. One fulfilled promise of the 2016 presidential campaign was the return of Merry Christmas in the White House and the return of the traditional crib scene that was unused the Christmas before.
For all practical purposes, the War on Christmas 1.0 is over. Christians have won an uneasy peace over those of questionable goodwill. There are still obstinate retailers who continue the savage practice of ignoring Christmas. Many still celebrate a winter holiday. However, for the most part, this phase is over with a reluctant admission that Christmas exists. Secular media have even gone into denial mode by saying that there never was a war against Christmas, save in the imaginations of overzealous Christians.
A New Phase in the Old War Against Christmas
Now, a new phase in the war on Christmas has appeared. It is much more insidious than the first one. The earlier version made the mistake of trying to ignore Christmas and thus eliminate its mention and presence in the public square. It had the contrary effect of galvanizing opposition into shouting out Merry Christmas all the louder.
This new second phase is much more brutal because it recognizes Christmas and seeks to either destroy, caricature or deform it. Those who oppose Christmas now weaponize it by using the feast against itself to further political and cultural agendas contrary to the meaning of Christmas. Activists are arranging their “celebrations” or spoiling the celebrations of Christians.
There are, for example, people who are displaying outside nativity scenes with two Josephs as an obvious promotion of homosexual lifestyles using a deformation of the Christmas story.
In Dedham, Mass., Saint Susanna Parish is displaying a traditional nativity set. However, there is a cage around the Infant Jesus to symbolize restrictions to immigration. There is also a fence separating the Holy Family and the Magi Kings with a sign reading “Deportation.” The parish is politicizing Christmas to promote its pro-immigrant position.
Removing Decades-Old Displays
Another front of the new War against Christmas is the dismantling of traditional Christmas displays in communities across America. Atheists have taken it upon themselves to suppress decades-old displays that community members have enjoyed for generations.
The Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists, for example, is demanding that a school district remove a large Three Wise Men display from the roof of the Newaygo Elementary School in Newaygo, Michigan. Local citizens are putting up the fight for the simple figures that were made in the forties by students. They see them as a symbol of the community and the way things have always been.
The activists, however, see things differently. With all the fervor of communist Chinese during the Cultural Revolution, they have set themselves up as a censorship board to erase all such symbols in the state. One activist even went so far as to say that the local people will get used to not having the Wise Men like citizens in other cities where Christmas displays have been taken away.
Similar censorship efforts are taking place in Ravenna, Ohio. The Freedom from Religion Foundation has flooded the offices of city officials asking them to take down a nativity scene organized by a local woman. The scene has enjoyed support from the population. One citizen pointed out that the city-sponsored Halloween displays, celebrating a pagan holiday on city property. Now outside groups are pressuring the city to ban the Christ Child even though the sponsor has followed all the rules.
Other cities across the nation are facing similar challenges by groups like the American Atheists Legal Center and others. In fact, the placing of nativity scenes on public property is legal and constitutional. Court decisions support the initiatives of citizens to do so provided rules are followed.
The Satanic Offensive
Perhaps the most egregious attacks on Christmas are those involving Satanic themes.
Across the country, Satanic groups are forcing upon the public their mutations of the feast. They take advantage of public square celebrations of the real Christmas to introduce their own decorations, tree and “manger” scenes laden with Satanic symbols and themes. They will often insist that these horrific displays be placed side by side with true depictions. Most of these attacks have no other purpose than to challenge Christmas since there is no comparable Satanic holiday at this time.
The Chicago branch of The Satanic Temple, for example, has placed a display next to Christian decorations and trees in the Illinois Capitol rotunda called “Snaketivity.” The work consists of an arm holding an apple, with a snake coiled around it. There is also a sign that reads “Knowledge Is The Greatest Gift.” The display is a parody of the Incarnation that redeemed mankind from Original Sin lost in paradise.
A group called Satanic Bay Area is displaying a Satanic-themed Christmas tree in Cesar Chavez Park in San Jose, Calif. The tree has 140 decorations, including skulls, spiders and Pentagram-themed ornaments inside a family-theme Christmas tree display. It is all part of a constant attempt to mainstream Satanic themes and presence in the public square.
The incarnation signals the coming of Christ who would vanquish the power of Satan in the world. The placing of Satanic symbols next to and equal to those of Christians seeks to deny Christ’s victory.
Protest and Prayer: Effective Means to Fight
The most effective way to fight the War on Christmas 2.0 is to protest against the efforts of those who no longer ignore Christmas but seek to distort, suppress and ridicule this most glorious feast. Organized protests, rallies and petitions can be extremely effective in affirming the right to celebrate Christmas in the public square.
Last year, for example, over 200 faithful Catholics in Florida converged on Boca Raton’s Sanborn Park Square to protest a Satanic “Christmas” display next to a Catholic nativity scene. One of the “decorations” had the slogan, “in Satan We Trust.” The protesters soon learned that the display would not be appearing largely due to their protest and a massive 50,000 name petition.
These victories are possible because those who oppose Christmas seek validation and acceptance for their extreme positions, whether they be atheistic or Satanic. When uproars make their positions unpopular, they find their efforts are working to defeat their purpose and are forced to retreat. Moreover, when good Christians defend their faith in the public square, it only serves to energize reactions to the unpopular and horrific displays. Heaven often blesses their efforts with unexpected victories.
Indeed, the War On Christmas now intensifies. It should be no surprise since the Church is Militant and is always fighting against the ways of the world, flesh and devil. The Christ Child Himself was persecuted at the time of His Birth. Christmas is a call for all those who adore Christ to defend Him and celebrate His victory over sin.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.