Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Holidays: The War on Christmas

The holidays are upon us.

Actually they were upon us sometime before Halloween: Santa now mingles freely with Dracula and Naughty Nurse, and visions of sugar plums are replaced by 20 count bags of mini-Snickers bars.

I'm bracing myself for our latest holiday tradition, the bombastic pronouncements about the "War on Christmas."

For the past several years, self-anointed protectors of Christmas  have been creating lists of which retailers are naughty or nice. This seems to boil down to who says "Holiday" in their advertising instead of "Christmas."

On the Naughty list have been such Satanic organizations as Sears, Wal-Mart, Target, The Gap, Banana Republic, Home Depot. This year's Naughty and Nice list has been helpfully compiled by the American Family Association of Tupelo, Mississippi.

You may recall the American Family Association, led by the Reverand Donald Wildmon, from their previous name, the National Federation for Decency. They reared their pointy little heads in 1977, when they campaigned against what they perceived as indecency on television. Interestingly they never seemed to care about violence, just sex.

It will come as no surprise that the AFA rails constantly against what they refer to as "the homosexual agenda." As is usually the case, they wrap their intolerance and hatred in religiosity.

Fighting immorality must be profitable: the AFA's annual budget is around $14 million. The Reverend Donald's son Tim is now President of the family business.

And a business it is, make no mistake.

In addition to their network of 28 radio stations (all Family Friendly!) they've expanded their Decency Empire to include news websites for the Christian point of view, support for home schoolers, a line of "Christian-focused" videos, estate planning, and Holy Land vacation tours.

They even hawk their very own AFA branded Internet Filter ("Use the trusted Family Filter the Wildmons use in their home!").

You can't make this shit up.

Not content to meddle in people's lives in issues such as traditional marriage, anti-pornography, anti-gay and anti-abortion activism, the AFA has branched out into non-morality issues such as deregulation of the oil industry and lobbying against labor-friendly legislation. On their homepage, you'll note a link for Tea Party activities.

Clothing retailer the Gap is currently under a boycott threat from the AFA for their transgressions:

    AFA is calling for a limited two-month boycott of Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, the three stores owned by San Francisco-based Gap Inc., over the company’s censorship of the word "Christmas."
The AFA goes on to say:
    The Gap is censoring the word Christmas, pure and simple. Yet the company wants all the people who celebrate Christmas to do their shopping at its stores? Until Gap proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio, television advertising or in-store signage, the boycott will be promoted.
Seems to me if the Gap wants to call it the "Up Your Ass with Broken Glass" sale, it's their business, nobody else's. They're paying the bills here.

Wikipedia refers to religious censorship as "the means by which any material objectionable to a certain faith is removed." and goes on to say, "Censorship by religion is a form of censorship where freedom of expression is controlled or limited using religious authority or on the basis of the teachings of the religion."

I'd say the AFA is confused about the meaning of the word censorship.

Which is not surprising given their basic misunderstanding of what it means to be Christian.


Flee said...

Amen to that Dr. Ralph!

The Whited Sepulchre said...

What the heck are you doing over here? Get back in my yard where you belong ! ! !

I was friends/housemates with a guy in college who shall remain nameless in this comment.
He had a great voice, and did radio work through school. He got his girlfriend preggers halfway through school.
He was relatively open-minded, for north Mississippi anyway.
We had plenty of gay friends & acquaintances.
When things went badly, he would cuss. Just like the rest of us.
He got out of school, started doing more and more freelance radio voice work, and wound up at AFA radio.
I have to look for them online to find them, but from time to time I hear his golden voice holding forth on the very topics you've described. Makes me crazy on levels you cannot imagine. Totally nuts.
Just thought I would get that out of my system.

Dr Ralph said...

WS -- I'm in no position to be judgmental about your friend, given my hippie sentiments and the fact that my employer is part of the Military-Industrial complex.

Sometimes it's better to eat shit than go hungry.