Ever year, I spend the post-Thanksgiving weekend getting cardboard cuts on my hands, swearing at strings of lights, putting an awkwardly made synthetic tree together, and calculating my chances of electrocution. It’s the magic of Christmas — a holiday that, even as an atheist, I celebrate. To me, Christmas is about joy, cheer, crooners, Rankin-Bass specials, and giving thanks and goodwill to your fellow man.
However, to some, there is a war afoot.
Every year, after I got through the excursion of decorating my residence for the season, I am subjected to this conversation about the “War on Christmas.” According to Fundamentalists and Fox News talking-heads, atheists and secularists have decided that the term “Merry Christmas” doesn’t belong in the public square anymore, and that it’s removal is necessary when it comes to the idea of freedom of religion and/or freedom from religion. It’s a war, they say. A war against a Federal holiday in place to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
To me, this is a horseshit talking point. Here’s why:
Firstly, I want to point out that there is no “War on Christmas.” If there were a “War on Christmas”, every atheist/secularist is the country would be demanding a total removal of anything Christmas related — a total removal. On top of that, any mention of Hannukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Easter, or any other religious institution that has constitutes a holiday of some kind, would be under assault as well. Furthermore, if atheists were completely dead-set on shutting down Christmas, then they would also be pushing for Christmas to not be considered a Federal holiday, thus making it lose all of it’s other “powers”, such as being a non-work day. As far as I know, no such pushes are being made.
This “War on Christmas” bullshit are just Christians getting their panties in a bunch because a few atheists find the term “Merry Christmas” offensive. These atheists — one of which seems to be atheism’s “poster child”, David Hitchens — represent the minority. Believe it or not, most atheists don’t give a shit.
To personalize this topic, I am one of those atheists who doesn’t give a shit about it. I celebrate Christmas, because to me, Christmas is a dual-sided holiday. There is the religious connotation (despite the fact chances are Jesus was NOT born in December), but Christmas, like everything else that exists, has evolved into more than that. Christmas is also a consumerist holiday. There is a secular aspect. That’s what the trees, lights, holiday specials, Christmas music, gift giving, etc. is about. Christmas has transcended the archaic Christian traditionalism that fuels the melodramatic “Christians vs. Atheists” war, which I should point out, only seems to effectively pop up in two categories: Christmas and evolution.
I know that I don’t speak for every atheist in the world, and there may be some that really do feel that anything Christmas (or any religious holiday) should be removed from the public conscious. From my understanding and research, these people are a minority within atheism, much in the same way people like Jim Jones and David Koresh were minorities within the Christian faith. Atheism is not waging a war on Christmas, especially since Christmas’ religious aspects typically take a backseat to the secularism and consumerism of the holiday, which no one can deny is at the forefront of celebrating Christmas. Atheists who celebrate Christmas do so in a secular fashion, not as a means to degrade the traditionalism, but because the traditionalism just doesn’t matter to atheists. It doesn’t matter, so why in the hell would atheists spend all of this time and resources “waging a war on Christmas” when it takes away from time and energy atheists could spend doing what they do every year: inciting riots at the mall over doorbuster sales.