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Who's Really Behind the War on Christmas?

Reported by Judy - December 9, 2005

For weeks now, the News Hounds have been covering the War on Christmas, but at last we have uncovered the truth about who's really behind the attack on this holy day for Christians. The answer will surprise you.

Bill O'Reilly has been attacking retailers for allegedly refusing to say "Merry Christmas" and earlier this week he blamed Jon Stewart of the "Daily Show" as the secular humanist master mind controlling the will of retail giants Target and Wal-Mart. Chrish's post from a few days ago exploded that myth.

And on "Bulls and Bears" last week, panelists claimed it was unnamed "consultants" who were putting guns to the head of retail clerks all over America and forcing them to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

But now, The New York Times has exposed the truth. Who is that is really taking Christ out of Christmas? It's evangelical Christian churches -- the very people who are insisting we start wishing everybody a "Merry Christmas" as soon as we've finished our pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day and before we've done the dishes.

In a story headlined "When Christmas Falls on Sunday, Megachurches Take the Day Off," Times writer Laurie Goodstein reveals that some large evangelical Christians are cancelling services on Christmas Day and telling members of their congregations to stay home with their families and watch a DVD.

Turns out, according to the Times, that cancelling services on Christmas Day isn't even new for these churches. They've been doing it for a long time. What's got some holy experts upset is that this year Christmas is also a Sunday, and Sunday is always supposed to be a day of worship.

But that doesn't bother these Christian Christmas-haters. "We're encouraging our members to do a family worship," said the pastor of one church that is only holding one service that day. "They could wake up and read Scripture and pray and sometimes sing a song, and go over the true meaning of what Christmas is, before opening up their gifts. It keeps them together and not running off to get dressed up to go off to church."

His church also will offer "streaming video" which people can "join their family around the computer and worship with us."

One of those churches cancelling services entirely says, "We've always been a church that's been on the edge of innovation. We've been willing to try and experiment, so this is another one of those innovations." I'm sorry, but not going to church on Sunday is something that was perfected long ago.

None of these churches cancelling services are mainline denominations, such as Catholic, Episcopal or Eastern Orthodox churches. Catholic churches will be bulging at the seams, even with extra masses. I can't imagine not going to Mass on Christmas Day, except in the event of a blizzard. Heck, Catholics are even supposed to go to mass on New Year's Day. Yeah, that's right. New Year's Day is a holy day, and not because there's a lot of football games on that day, although that may be part of it. New Year's being a holy day is the reason why so many people say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

I think that's one reason why these evangelical mega-churches have become so popular -- they impose no real obligations on people. Is going to church on Christmas Day inconvenient? Does it get in the way of opening presents and being with your family and friends? Don't worry. We'll just cancel services. That way, you don't have to feel guilty about not coming.

Staying home with family and friends sounds like a really Christian thing to do, but is it? Don't Christian obligations extend beyond our own family? After all, even Pharisees loved their own families. But evangelical churches don't want to push that idea of obligations to others too far beyond the family circle. Who knows where that could lead -- being generous to poor people with government programs, maybe, and lord knows we can't have that. Wouldn't fit with Republican theology.

So all O'Reilly's ranting about undermining Christmas should really be aimed at the people who claim to be the most in favor of Christmas -- Christians who think the real meaning of Christmas is staying home with your family rather than applying their Christian values of peace on earth and good will to all to the cold, dark reality of the broader world.

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