There are signs that the "war on Christmas" is abating. In 1994, a year after I took over as president of the Catholic League, we successfully pressed Barneys, the upscale clothier on Madison Avenue, to remove an obscene manger scene from its storefront window.
We erected a nativity scene in Central Park a year later, something we've done every year since. In subsequent years, we've been actively engaged in scores of skirmishes, winning some and losing some. Now it seems that things are calming down.
An examination of Catholic League activities in the war on Christmas is not dispositive, but it is an index of what has been happening in the dominant culture.
Our records show that our involvement peaked in the years 2005-2007. Those were the years when we took on Walmart, exacting an apology after we threatened a boycott following revelations that the megastore was discriminating in its treatment of Christmas.
Things got so bad that Jackie Mason and other Jewish leaders joined with us in protesting anti-Christmas attacks. TV shows and movies also featured assaults on Christian sensibilities during those years.
This year we have seen a clear downward tick in attempts to bash Christmas. Indeed, even vandalism is down: the number of nativity scenes being trashed is relatively low. But not all is well.
In 2013, as compared to previous years, the war on Christmas is being led more by national organizations, and less by local activists, than ever before. American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, and various humanist organizations are leading the way. Their weapon of choice is an array of billboards designed to denigrate Christmas.
The Catholic League answered by erecting an enormous pro-Christmas billboard in Times Square, and two digital ones in New Jersey.
Militant atheists have also targeted the schools, seeking to deny any religious component to classroom celebrations, and Christmas-themed events. But there is a decided pushback, and it is not being led by the Catholic League or any other national organization: The good news is that Christians are taking things into their own hands, pressuring local authorities to accede to their reasonable demands.
Contrary to those who sell the bogus idea that the war on Christmas is not real, Christians who are fighting back are not obsessed with who is saying "Happy Holidays," and who is saying "Merry Christmas."
On the contrary, they are engaged in serious efforts to stop those who want to censor Christmas. The evidence is clear that a small minority are hell bent on banning, trashing, and diluting the public expression of Christmas.
Nearly 80 percent of Americans are Christian, and 96 percent celebrate Christmas. Of the remaining four percent, most are indifferent, but are not hostile, to Christmas.
That leaves a small, but dogmatically extreme, band of secularists (many of whom are ex-Christians) who are seeking to impose their agenda on the rest of us. It is up to decent Americans of all faiths, and indeed no faith, to see to it that the cultural fascists do not win the day.
Dr. William Donohue is the president of and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. The publisher of the Catholic League journal, Catalyst, Bill is a former Bradley Resident Scholar at the Heritage Foundation and served for two decades on the board of directors of the National Association of Scholars. The author of five books, two on the ACLU, and the winner of several teaching awards and many awards from the Catholic community, Donohue has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows speaking on civil liberties and social issues. Read more reports from Bill Donohue — Click Here Now.
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