“As we see our traditions disappearing … more and more absurdity has come about in our country,” said We Celebrate US co-founder Bob Conti on Wednesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight.
Via We Celebrate US, Conti and Beverly Zaslow founded the Bring Back Christmas initiative to combat threats to “traditional, American values” from retailers’ policies prohibiting employees from wishing “Merry Christmas” to customers.
As Breitbart News reported: “Bring Back Christmas has also launched a White House petition to ensure “that public displays of the Nativity and Christianity be allowed” and “to reverse policies and to stop threatening our traditional American values.”
Via Bring Back Christmas’s website: “Now, more than ever, retailers are refusing to recognize freedom of religion which threatens our traditional, American values. Help us ensure that Americans can say ‘Merry Christmas’ no matter where they work.”
Bring Back Christmas compiles a list of retailers — divided into “naughty” and “nice” columns — who prohibit employees from proactively wishing “Merry Christmas” to colleagues or customers.
Some retailers now refuse to publicly disclose their policies regarding holiday expressions, restricting their employees from discussing such policies with the public.
Under pressure from Bring Back Christmas and the broader public to end policies prohibiting expressions of “Merry Christmas” at the workplace, some businesses began hiding their policies on the matter, said Zaslow: “What was really interesting that happened this year is that stores won’t commit [to one policy or another]. They won’t tell you what [their policies are] … Nobody would tell our people what was going on.”
Apple refused to disclose its policies regarding its permitting or restricting of employee expressions of “Merry Christmas,” said Zaslow: “In fact, Apple even had a policy that they would not discuss it. They refused to tell anybody what they [instructed their employees to] say.”
“It’s alarming,” said Conti of attempts to corrupt Christmas’s traditions, pointing to CNN’s recent promotion of a children’s book depicting a homosexual Santa Claus married to a black man. “It blows me away,” he said.
“[We want to] stand up for traditions we cherish and love,” said Zaslow.
“I’m Jewish, too,” said Zaslow, explaining the moment she realized how “crazy” political and religious sensibilities in business had become while shopping for Hannukah items at a Target store in the 1990s:
It was actually back at the end of the nineties. I went into a Target, of all places, to get some Hannukah items for my kids, and when I went through the door, first off, they wouldn’t say, “Merry Christmas.” And I love saying, “Merry Christmas,” so when someone says it to me I might say, “Happy Hannukah” back or “Merry Christmas”; and I was never offended either way.
They told me they wouldn’t say, “Merry Christmas” at the door, because I had asked, and they said it’s because they didn’t want to offend anybody, but then in the store, most of the [seasonal merchandise] was dedicated to Christmas …
That’s when I came into this idea that this is crazy. This is a country that was founded on having religious freedom and freedom of speech, and yet they wouldn’t allow us to be different and celebrate our differences, and they also would not allow us to be the same.
Hostility to Christmas and America’s Judeo-Christian culture was a function of “political correctness,” said Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large and SiriusXM co-host Rebecca Mansour.
“There’s room for expression in faith in the public space,” said Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large and SiriusXM co-host Joel Pollak.
Pollak recounted an anecdote involving the late Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson who encouraged the public display of Hannukah decorations to celebrate the Jewish holiday in conjunction with the Christian celebration of Christmas.
This act of celebrating one’s faith in the public space “didn’t mean you were telling someone else to convert your faith; rather it was an expression of your belief,” explained Pollak.
“There’s room for expression in faith in the public space,” said Pollak.
“Americans are so tolerant and accepting,” added Pollak. “It’s not a threat to anybody to simply wish them ‘Merry Christmas,’ and it’s not a threat to anyone who says it or anyone who hears it.”
Heralding the American ethos of e pluribus unum, We Celebrate US describes its mission as “bringing people together through entertainment and the arts.”
Recalling an expression of the late Andrew Breitbart, We Celebrate US declares: “Politics is downstream of Culture.”
Breitbart News Tonight airs nightly on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 between 9 p.m. and midnight Eastern (6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.