Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
  Press Releases
  Media Bias Videos
  30-Day Archive
  The Watchdog
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  Planned Giving
  What Others Say
  Take Action
  Gala and DisHonors
  Best of NQ Archive
MRC Resources
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
  Contact MRC
  Comic Commentary
  MRC Bookstore
  Job Openings
  News Division
  NewsBusters Blog
  Business & Media Institute
  Culture and Media Institute

Support the MRC

Volume 1 ■ Issue 2 ■ December 7, 2006

Santa’s Helpers Battle Grinches in the War for Christmas
By Kristen Fyfe
Culture & Media Institute

12/13/2006 9:45:28 AM

Crowds on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., watch the annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree, attended by President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, Thursday evening, Dec. 7, 2006, during the 2006 Christmas Pageant of Peace. White House photo by Paul MorseIt seems almost ridiculous that acknowledging Christmas should be controversial.  In a country where 96% of the citizens celebrate it, why do so many feel like Christmas is under attack?  An online poll done by the Chicago Tribune last week showed that 68% of respondents think there is a war on Christmas.  Why?

Because, Tiny Tim, there is.

Led predominantly by the ACLU (they’ll deny it of course, but ask the folks in Wilson County, Tennessee who are currently in court fighting the ACLU over – among other charges -- a kindergarten class singing two Christmas carols), the attacks against the only legal federal holiday in December have been mounting aggressively the past several years.  It seemed to culminate last year with Wal-Mart’s decision to forbid its employees to greet customers with “Merry Christmas.” The backlash was intense and led the giant retailer to reverse itself this year.  A Wal-Mart spokeswoman says the company learned its lesson and “this year we’re not afraid to say ‘Merry Christmas.’”

Afraid to say “Merry Christmas?!”

Is that really where we are as a nation?  A lot of folks think so, which is why a growing grassroots movement is fighting to reclaim Christmas.  Led by Christian organizations like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Catholic League, Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund, the push back against Politically Correct Christmas is gaining momentum. 

And as part of that effort the Culture and Media Institute is unveiling its first annual Christmas Lists of Santa’s Helpers and Grinches – a Who’s Who in the War for Christmas.  The list recognizes some of the heroes in the fight to restore Christmas to a place of respect and honor in the public square, and drops lumps of coal in the stockings of those out to eradicate any mention of the C-word in public.  Not limited to retailers, CMI’s list comprises organizations, businesses, media and individuals who are taking a stand for-- and against--Christmas.

Take for instance the Young Conservatives at the University of Texas. They rate as Helpers because theyrecently put up a creative “ACLU Nativity Scene” in Austin to point out the extremity of what the ACLU promotes.  Their nativity scene features Gary and Joseph, not Mary and Joseph, because the ACLU is an ardent supporter of same-sex “marriage.”  The three Wise Men are Lenin, Stalin and Marx because, the Young Conservatives say, “the founders of the ACLU were strident supporters of Soviet style Communism.”  Executive Director Joseph Wyly states, “The ACLU and other left-wing extremist groups are working diligently to destroy American’s rights to the free expression of religion.”

And he’s right.

The ACLU is suing the Wilson County school system near Nashville, Tennessee for the “irreparable damage” suffered by the plaintiffs for whom they brought the case.  What supposedly caused the horrific damage?  Among other things, a kindergarten concert performance of “Away in the Manger” and “Joy to the World.”

A recent poll by Rasmussen Reports found that 69% of Americans would prefer retailers use the greeting “Merry Christmas” rather than the generic, PC “Happy Holidays.”  And yet a recent poll of this writer’s mailbox found that 63% of the catalogs received in the last two weeks used some form of “Holiday” title.  Only 25% used the word “Christmas” and 12% used secular pictures of Santa, reindeer and wreaths, with no mention of “Holiday” or “Christmas” – talk about playing it safe!

“We’re seeing a re-run of ‘Holidaysiacs Gone Wild,’” said Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Media Institute. “’Holidaysiacs are people so terrified of offending anyone that they reflexively replace the word ‘Christmas’ with ‘holiday’ even when it’s a specific reference to Christmas. Holidaysiacs need to relax, sip a little eggnog and dump the political correctness out near the curb. We wish them a Merry Christmas.”

The war on Christmas is not a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians, as the liberal media would have you believe.

Here is CMI’s first annual list of Santa’s Helpers and Grinches on the Christmas battlefield.

Santa’s Helpers

Manuel Zamorano and the Committee to Save Merry Christmas - This California-based activist launched a boycott of Federated Department Stores two years ago to get Macy’s’ attention. It appears to have worked. Now, Macy’s and a growing number of retailers are acknowledging Christmas.

Liberty Counsel/ Alliance Defense Fund/American Center for Law and Justice – These organizations provide information and legal resources to battle Christmas censorship. Liberty Counsel also publishes a “Naughty and Nice” listing of retailers for consumers interested in supporting businesses that are not afraid of the word “Christmas.”

American Family Association/ The Catholic League/Concerned Women For America/Focus on the Family – The AFA and Catholic League urged members to boycott Wal-Mart last year and many credit their actions with the retailer’s change of heart this Christmas season. CWA and Focus on the Family regularly stand with the ADF in its annual efforts to save Christmas.

Bill O’Reilly – the Fox News Channel commentator was a major champion for Christmas last year and has already taken a stand with his first column and broadcast salvo about the War on Christmas.

Wal-Mart /Macy’s/Kohl’s/ Sears/JCPenney/L.L. Bean/Kmart/Walgreens/Target – These major retailers are all using “Christmas” in their customer greetings and advertising.  A Wal-Mart spokesperson has been quoted in the press saying the company, “learned its lesson” after last year’s disastrous attempts to direct employees not to say “Merry Christmas.”

Food Lion grocery stores will use “Merry Christmas” in stores this season.  In past years it has been the company’s policy to use a generic holiday message.

John Gibson of Fox News Channel -- His book The War on Christmas put the issue in the spotlight in 2005 and increased public awareness of the growing censorship of Christmas and the “casual, accepted anti-Christian bias” that tends to show up around Christmastime.

“God Squad” in Chicago – In Chicago, the Nativity Scene Committee (the official name of the self-dubbed “God Squad) is a non-denominational cadre of volunteer policemen, electricians and carpenters who take time every year to set up a life-size nativity scene in downtown Chicago’s Daley Plaza.

Hallmark Channel – The network’s movie The Christmas Card translated into a real-life network campaign to send cards to American troops this Christmas. The campaign called “Cards for Troops” is an initiative being launched with the Department of Defense to send letters, packages, calling cards and even frequent flier miles to troops serving overseas.

University of Texas Young Conservatives – This group of college students in Austin set up an “ACLU Nativity Scene” on campus to draw attention to the leftist organization’s extreme views and persecution of Christianity. The couple is Gary and Joseph, and the three Wise Men are Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Baby Jesus is – of course – missing from the display.

Katherine DeBrecht – The children’s book author just released a book titled Help! Mom! The Ninth Circuit Nabbed the Nativity! which tells the story of two boys who witness the school Christmas program come under attack when the judges from the Ninth Circuit court show up and put an end to the festivities in the name of diversity, global warming and toenails.  The story has a happy Christmas ending.

Chicago Tribune – The paper’s editorialists chastised Windy City leaders for strong-arming organizers of a Christmas market to drop the creators of The Nativity Story as an event sponsor.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Chattanooga Times Free Press weighed in on the lack of common sense too.

The Dallas Morning News – for their editorial pointing the finger at the city of Dallas for putting up a “downtown holiday tree.”  Says the editorial writer: “Yeah, like synagogues everywhere are dusting off their holiday candelabras.”

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes club at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia – The student group organized a showing of The Nativity Story at their high school --and didn’t draw fire from the ACLU.

Magic Tree, Inc. – This start-up company is marketing the DVD Santa’s Sing-a-long, a children’s video that includes stories about the meaning and genesis of some classic Christmas carols.  Creator Joseph Wheeler says the DVD was created after Wal-Mart’s refusal to allow employees to say “Merry Christmas” last year.  He wanted to create a DVD for children that teaches them about traditional Christmas values. [Not surprisingly the DVD has come under attack.  The attacks, according to the product’s creator, are coming from reviewers who don’t typically review children’s DVDs, which leads him to believe it is really an attack on Christmas itself.]


CBS and the writers of Two and a Half Men - “CBS apparently is trying to outdo NBC in being offensive to Christians,” said Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Media Institute. On the Dec. 11th episode of Two and a Half Men, playboy character Charlie (Charlie Sheen) sings “Joy to the World, I’m getting laid.”  Employing the tune of the Christmas carol Joy to the World, the song was filled with raunchy lyrics, as were other carols adapted to the sexual theme.  Later in the show the child character gets drunk on egg nog and the maid adapts a line from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life to fit the sex-obsessed episode when she says, “Every time a guy gets laid an angel gets a stiffy.” 

“Perverting one of the most beloved carols of all time goes over the line,” Knight continued.  “But then, Two and Half Men is not about real men. Real men marry and cherish women. This show is about the liberal media’s alley cat culture, in which men are compulsive, promiscuous freaks who top out at an emotional age of 14 and who worship at the altar of sex. Throwing a child into the middle of this meltdown is even more unconscionable.”   

Orlando Cloisters retirement facility in Orlando, FL – Management of the senior citizens’ living facility issued instructions to strip the common areas of any religious symbols or words in Christmas displays.  One employee was directed to cut the wings off the angel atop the Christmas tree and other angels were removed from display as well.  A Santa Claus figure replaced the angel on the tree. Management told residents only secular images of Christmas would be allowed, but they are allowing a menorah to be displayed. Menorahs are religious symbols associated with Hanukkah.

Brandeis Elementary School in Louisville – KY – A teacher got in trouble for displaying the words “Santa’s Helpers” over a paper Christmas tree made from cut-outs of student handprints, representing all of the students in the class.  Another teacher found the tree offensive, so the principal said the Christmas tree could stay but the words “Santa’s Helpers” had to come down.  The Catholic League quotes the principal as saying, “Of course the children in her classroom that were Indian or Muslim probably did not believe in Santa Claus.”  The principal suggested the words “Holiday Helpers” or “Winter Helpers” could replace “Santa’s Helpers” because that would “make it more inclusive.”

Said the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, “We have entered a new day when those on the public payroll are spending their time worrying if some non-Christian kid’s hands helped to make a secular symbol. Their selective interest in inclusion, which just happens to bud every December—and just for Christmas—is nothing but a ruse to disguise their bigotry.” 

Howell Public Schools, Detroit, MI – The school system has set a quota – 30 percent -- on religious songs that can be performed at school concerts.

Seattle-Tacoma Airport – The airport had brightened its atmosphere with several Christmas trees as it has done for decades.  A rabbi threatened to sue, demanding that a menorah be included in the holiday décor.  Rather than add a menorah, airport officials took down the Christmas trees. They said that all faiths and cultures in the Seattle area would have to be represented, or none. An airport spokesgrinch said the airport didn’t have time to play “cultural anthropologist” during its busiest time of the year.  After intense public pressure and media scrutiny the airport revoked its own decision and has put the trees back up.  However, in announcing the decision the Port of Seattle spokesman said (emphasis added), “We look forward to sitting down after the first of the year …to make sure there's an appropriate winter holiday representation for all faiths. We want to find out a way to celebrate the winter holidays that is sensitive to all faiths.”  They still can’t bring themselves to embrace Christmas.

MGM, Harvey and Bob Weinstein – These Hollywood garbage peddlers will release the slasher movie Black Christmas … on Christmas day.  Promos for the gore-fest apparently tout the movie’s “slay ride” body count and mock “people who express outrage.” The Weinsteins were behind 2003’s crude Bad Santa, an “uncut” version of which has been released on video.

Britain’s Royal Mail – The 2006 series of Christmas stamps feature a reindeer, Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, and a snowman.  But no stamp features anything having to do with the birth of Christ.

Christmas card makers in Britain – According to an article in the Daily Mail, only one Christmas card in 100 has any religious imagery, and many were mocking it. One featured shepherds smoking sheep dung, implying that the angel they saw was a hallucination.

ACLU – This organization has placed more fear into the hearts of school districts and local governments than Ebenezer Scrooge ever instilled in anyone.  Most recently the Chief Grinch is suing a Wilson County, TN school district for – among other things - “irreparable damages” caused to plaintiffs by the singing of “Away in a Manger” and “Joy to the World.”

Berkley (MI) City Council – The council voted to remove a nativity scene from public property this year after being threatened with a lawsuit by the ACLU.  The nativity scene, which had been present outside the city hall for decades, will be displayed on church property this year.  A Berkeley resident reports that hundreds of locals petitioned the city government not to capitulate to the ACLU and to fight in court.  The city council ignored the petitioners and voted 6-1 to move the display.

City of Chicago- The city strong-armed the organizers of the annual Christkindlmarket (Christ Child Market) into dropping New Line Cinemas as a sponsor of the event.  New Line is the studio that released The Nativity Story – a movie about Jesus’ birth – the reason there IS a Christkindlmarket in the first place.

St. Albans, WV – Driven by fear of lawsuits, the city actually removed Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus from the nativity scene in its annual Festival of Lights display.   Only after the story was picked up by the Associated Press and officials received complaints from as far away as South Korea did they change their minds.

Target – The retail giant is embracing “Merry Christmas” in stores but still banning  Salvation Army bell ringers from soliciting donations in front of their stores.  The company says it’s part of a general “no solicitation policy” they decided to start enforcing.  While Target is helping the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program with a $1 million infusion of cash, the non-profit regularly collected many times that in their kettles in front of Target stores.  Bottom line: No bell ringers in front of Target means a loss of millions of dollars to help the needy.

Holidaysiacs –  Headline writers, advertisers and community spokespeople who use only “Happy Holidays” or “Holiday” when obviously referring to Christmas.

Portland and Waterville, ME – Portland officials are calling the 55-foot blue spruce in Monument Square a “holiday tree” because, according to the city’s marketing director, the city doesn’t “want to offend anybody.”  In Waterville a new organization – Waterville Main Street - took over the annual Christmas parade and renamed it “The Parade of Lights.”

Best Buy/Lowes/Eddie Bauer/Barnes and Noble – These major retailers make no mention of “Christmas,” only “Happy Holidays” in their advertising.  Liberty Counsel reports a Best Buy spokesperson told them the company considers the use of the words “Merry Christmas” to be disrespectful.

The Sanfordville PTA in Warwick, NY – This parent group reportedly buckled under the pressure of one complaint and changed the annual “Breakfast with Santa” fundraiser to the “Winter Wonderland Breakfast” and is forcing Santa to appear with Frosty the Snowman this year.

Marine Reserves’ Toys for Tots Program –A donation of talking Jesus dolls was initially rejected because the group didn’t want to risk offending Jewish or Muslim children.  Bad publicity followed the initial decision and the group reversed course, accepting the donation and saying the dolls would be distributed to Christian children.

Norman, Oklahoma – Caving to political correctness the annual Christmas parade down Main Street has been cumbersomely renamed the Main Street Christmas Holiday Parade.

Austin Cline, regional director for the Council for Secular Humanism – His atheist website sports a poster reading “Crush a Crèche!  Keep America Free from a Religious Christmas this year!  It’s up to You!”

Oyster Bilingual School in Washington, D.C. – placed a sign that said, "Holiday Tree Sale" in English and "Venta de Arboles de Navidad" in Spanish.  Apparently it’s only acceptable to use the word "Christmas" in Spanish.

British employers – A survey of 2300 employers in England found 75% have banned Christmas decorations.  The reason most gave was fear of offending other faiths. 

Vienna, Austria – The city banned St. Nicholas from the city’s kindergartens.  City officials say that jolly St. Nick frightens children.  Conservatives accuse the city of kow-towing to a growing Muslim population.

Back to the Top



Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314