Amer­i­cans fa­vor ‘Merry Christ­mas’ over generic greet­ings

The Washington Times Weekly - - Front Page - By Jen­nifer Harper

Go ahead, say “Merry Christ­mas.” Amer­i­cans want it that way, ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey, which found that 69 per­cent of us pre­fer the tra­di­tional greet­ing over a generic “happy holi- days,” which gar­nered a mere 23 per­cent of the vote.

There are some par­ti­san dif­fer­ences, though. The sur­vey by Ras­mussen Re­ports found that 85 per­cent of Repub­li­cans pre­fer “Merry Christ­mas,” com­pared with 61 per­cent of Democrats.

“The grow­ing trend of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness runs against the tide of pop­u­lar opin­ion,” the sur­vey of 1,000 adults stated. It was con­ducted Nov. 18-19 with a mar­gin of er­ror of three per­cent­age points.

Other polls had sim­i­lar find­ings. A sur­vey of 1,000 adults con­ducted by Amer­ica’s Re­search Group re­leased Nov. 29 found that 53 per­cent were “both­ered” if mer­chants omit­ted “Merry Christ­mas” in their stores and sig­nage. A CNBC sur­vey re­leased Nov. 27 also found that “most Amer­i­cans

said they pre­fer ‘Merry Christ­mas’ to the more non­de­nom­i­na­tional ‘Happy Hol­i­days.’ ”

The Al­liance De­fense Fund is riled up over the Christ­mas cause. The Ari­zona-based le­gal group, which spe­cial­izes in de­fend­ing re­li­gious lib­erty, has lined up 930 at­tor­neys na­tion­wide to chal­lenge “im­proper at­tempts to cen­sor the cel­e­bra­tion of Christ­mas” on pub­lic prop­erty or schools.

“It’s ridicu­lous that Amer­i­cans have to think twice about whether it’s OK to say Merry Christ­mas,” said ADF spokesman Alan Sears. “Thanks to the [Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union] and its al­lies, Christ­mas isn’t what it used to be. It’s time to re­pair the dam­age that such or­ga­ni­za­tions have done to Amer­ica’s fa­vorite hol­i­day.”

There still are wide con­trasts around the na­tion. While the U.S. Capi­tol show­cases “The Capi­tol Christ­mas Tree,” New York state will light “The Em­pire State Hol­i­day Tree,” for ex­am­ple. Chicago Mayor Richard Da­ley is still try­ing to ap­pease lo­cals of­fended by his de­ci­sion to dis­cour­age pro­duc­ers of “The Na­tiv­ity Story” from spon­sor­ing a down­town Christ­mas fes­ti­val, on the grounds that such an event might “of­fend” peo­ple of other faiths.

“What man­ner of spirit vis­ited City Hall?” the Chicago Tri­bune asked in an edi­to­rial. “The ghost of Ge­orge Or­well?”

Mean­while, some re­tail­ers have light­ened up on sec­u­lar lean­ings. Wal-mart, Tar­get, Kohl’s, Macy’s and oth­ers are vig­or­ously em­brac­ing Christ­mas this year af­ter pre­vi­ous bans of the “C-word” re­sulted in sev­eral pub­lic re­la­tions dis­as­ters. WalMart has even tai­lored their in­store Christ­mas mu­sic from re­gion to re­gion to fos­ter “the Christ­mas spirit,” ac­cord­ing to spokesman Tom Red­wine.

“Last year, the Christ­mas wars bor­dered on the ab­surd, and per­haps we’ve turned the tide,” ob­served David Jeremiah, se­nior pas­tor of Cal­i­for­nia’s Shadow Moun­tain Com­mu­nity Church.

Best Buy, Ed­die Bauer and Pet Smart are among those which con­tinue to em­brace “happy hol­i­days,” prompt­ing protests from the Amer­i­can Fam­ily As­so­ci­a­tion and the Lib­erty Coun­sel, which main­tains a list of “naughty and nice” mer­chants who openly cel­e­brate — or ban — Christ­mas.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and MSNBC’s Keith Ol­ber­mann traded pot­shots last week over Mr. O’Reilly’s crit­i­cism of Crate and Bar­rel, which does not en­cour­age em­ploy­ees to bid a “Merry Christ­mas” to cus­tomers.

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