Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Chris Stedman and the War on Christmas

"Let’s not kid ourselves: There is no war on Christmas."

Chris Stedman, author of Faitheist, wrote a thought-provoking article on the CNN belief blog about the "war on Christmas". First of all, I have a good deal of respect for Stedman. He is well described by what the Infidels website describe themselves as ( but which actually does not describe them) "a drop of reason, in a pool of confusion". Stedman is a peacemaker, which certainly commends him. Stedman begins by criticizing an American Atheist billboard which he accuses of taking stabs at Christians ( around the subject of Christmas). But then he turns around and says that there really is no war on Christmas when the just-mentioned billboard seems to make a good case for just such a war. He goes on to criticize Bill O'Reilly and Fox News for peddling this concept of the "war on Christmas". He explains what is seen as the war on Christmas is really a by-product of a greater recognition of religious diversity. Stedman in essence condemns both sides of the divide.

The "war on Christmas" is really just a hyperbolic and sensationalist way of saying exactly what Stedman admitted: that there is much less of a focus on Christmas and more of a generic seasonal celebration. This has its pros and cons. Since I am a libertarian and not a social conservative I am not so intent upon enforcing a Christian culture within society. But there is a more direct campaign being fought against Christmas. It is not merely an indirect result of more consciousness of religious diversity.  The billboard that Stedman mentions is a good example of such a campaign. Another example is atheists who constantly make issues about public nativity scenes. "We see the nativity scene as a direct attack on good human values..."

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