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Monday, December 05, 2005

This Season's War Cry: Commercialize Christmas, or Else - New York Times: "By the 1920's, the retail industry had adopted Christmas as its own, sponsoring annual ceremonies to kick off the 'Christmas shopping season.'
Religious leaders objected strongly. The Christmas that emerged had an inherent tension: merchants tried to make it about buying, while clergymen tried to keep commerce out. A 1931 Times roundup of Christmas sermons reported a common theme: 'the suggestion that Christmas could not survive if Christ were thrust into the background by materialism.' A 1953 Methodist sermon broadcast on NBC - typical of countless such sermons - lamented that Christmas had become a 'profit-seeking period.' This ethic found popular expression in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' In the 1965 TV special, Charlie Brown ignores Lucy's advice to 'get the biggest aluminum tree you can find' and her assertion that Christmas is 'a big commercial racket,' and finds a more spiritual way to observe the day.
This year's Christmas 'defenders' are not just tolerating commercialization - they're insisting on it. They are also rewriting Christmas history on another key point: non-Christians' objection to having the holiday forced on them.
The campaign's leaders insist this is a new phenomenon - a 'liberal plot,' in Mr. Gibson's words. But as early as 1906, the Committee on Elementary Schools in New York City urged that Christmas hymns be banned from the classroom, after a boycott by more than 20,000 Jewish students. In 1946, the Rabbinical Assembly of America declared that calling on Jewish children to sing Christmas carols was 'an infringement on their rights as Americans.'"

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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not