The editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle has had enough with the “war on Christmas.” The “war on Christmas that doesn’t exist” is preventing people from rightly celebrating the holiday, writes the board, chiding it as an excuse for liberals to make fun of “silly hicks” and “culture warriors” to cause a false stir.
In an editorial that laments the lack of holiday cheer surrounding the debate over the religious underpinnings of the holiday, the board argues that the real Christmas problem is that people are “not doing enough to love our neighbors.” The board cites a particular incident in which a satirical magazine wrote a piece reporting the fake story of a child being suspended from an elementary school for saying “Merry Christmas.” The story caused angry Christians to call into a school with a similar name as the one in the article, scaring the school’s administration so much that they hired a guard. “It became a security threat for the school,” the board notes, arguing that there are serious, dangerous repercussions for people when the war on Christmas is taken seriously.
Even when it isn’t, the board argues, it brings out the worst in either side. “Culture warriors could feel good about pushing back against an ever more politically correct culture,” they write, “and liberals could feel amused at the overreaction of these silly hicks, who didn’t seem to realize that everybody loves Christmas.” As writers for a large media outlet in arguably the most liberal city in America, it is difficult not to arrive at the conclusion that they themselves are confessing to partaking in such scorn, especially since they use the questionable moniker “culture warriors” right in the sentence before. It’s a rare moment of honesty about how little they think of an opinion, ensconced in a larger argument about discrediting something of which they think so little.
The Chronicle piece concludes that the Christmas spirit is more important than the religion from which the Christmas spirit arises–or, in other words, that whether there is an impulse on the left to silence overt manifestations of religious faith should not be considered such a severe cultural problem that it overshadows a greater sense of community. It is a difficult fence to saddle, and the editorial doesn’t quite succeed. “The real danger to Christmas is the same as it’s always been,” it concludes, “that we’re not doing enough to love our neighbors, as the holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ urges us to do.” Because brotherly love “transcends religions,” the argument concludes, it is more important to emphasize warmth than religious freedom.
Of course, the argument fails by supposing that it is mutually exclusive–that those who have publicly called for more openness in religious expression have somehow forgotten to properly celebrate Christmas in their zeal to celebrate Christmas. That may be true in San Francisco, but nationally, the 24th and 25th came and went with the same celebratory warmth and expressions of love as they always do, aided by the strength in their efforts not to let political correctness rain on their parade.