Our recurring feature in which Gama News political experts Amiço and Chiwawa Boy of The José Trio discuss and debate each other on current world news and events

December, 2005
War on Christmas

Amiço and Chiwawa Boy

Amiço! Feliz Navidad!

Hey Chiwawa Boy! How are you enjoying the Christmas season?

I'm loving it! I'm finally starting to watch all these TV specials and movies that have become American holiday traditions.

Oh? Such as?

Like A Charlie Brown Christmas...um, is it bad if I can't figure out what the message of the show was?

I think they were trying to make a comment on the commercialization of Christmas. The only problem is that they really didn't say how Christmas has become too commercialized.

Oh okay, they actually didn't. Okay, bueno. I thought maybe I was missing a scene on my copy or something.

Maybe that was just too difficult for the one person to animate. And how ironic that Charles Schulz spends twenty-five minutes condemning the commercialization of Christmas in a special that was funded by Coca-Cola and Dolly Madison.

And Snoopy has only become one of the most merchandised characters of the last half-century....

Si. What else have you been watching?

Um, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Hey, why didn't Donner's wife have a name?


Donner's wife...Rudolph's mom. She didn't have a name. She was just called "Mrs. Donner," I think even once by Donner himself.

Hmm, that show did seem to be a little anti-female.

And then there's It's a Wonderful Life....

Uh oh....

Why would the bartender become evil if George Bailey was never born?!?

And why were Uncle Billy and Mr. Gower out selling bonds together on stage? Was there some deleted plotline about the famous comedy team of Gower and Billy?

And if George was never born, then why would Harry even be out on the ice with a bunch of older kids?

And why did Ernie the cab driver feel the need to announce everyone's name at the end? Didn't he think George would remember them??

Sigh....Amiço, are we at war?

Si, for the last two-and-a-half years. You see, Bush wanted someone else's oil, so--

No, no, not that. I mean this "War on Christmas" I keep hearing about.

The what?!?

The "War on Christmas."

Oh great, now who's making money off something Bush wants to control?? Isn't that what the "war on drugs" and the "war on terrah" is all about?

I don't think Bush has anything to do with it. There are a bunch of Christian fundamentalists who think that the concept of Christmas is under attack.

What?? Why?

I'm not quite sure, but it seems to be because a lot of people are choosing to now say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

And this hurts Christmas how?

Well....um, I'm not quite sure of that one, either.

Who's behind this anyway?

Well, according to one news story, the American Family Association is trying to take credit for this movement.

The what?

Si, I never heard of them, either. Their slogan is "Promoting traditional family values."

Isn't that a bit subjective? I mean, whose family are we talking about?

Well, on their web site they don't exactly say, but they make it clear that they hate pornography and the entertainment industry!

Let me guess, they don't like gays, minorities, or them there thinkin' women, right?

Well, on their site they say, "AFA has sponsored several events reaching out to homosexuals and letting them know there is love and healing at the Cross of Christ."

Wow, it sounds like a pretty liberal group. Which gay events have they sponsored?

Um...let me check...uh, I can't really find information on any, but they do claim that they were the ones who got Ellen DeGeneres's sitcom cancelled.

Ah, because no mere lesbian can end a TV show by simply running out of ideas, si?

They also claim to have forced Ford to pull advertising from such gay publications as The Advocate.

Which Ford later reversed after intense negative public criticism, right?

Si. AFA founder Don Wildmon said--

Wait a minute, wait a minute, the man leading the cause to promote "traditional family values" is named "Wildmon?"

Si. He said that Ford broke an agreement that they reached, and boy are they upset about it.

Well, excuse me for saying so to this putz, but who the hell are you?? If you're dumb enough to think that one of the biggest auto companies in the world is going to do a 180 on a multimillion-dollar ad campaign because you had a meeting with one of their accountants' secretaries, you deserve to feel betrayed.

Si. And yet, they claim that they "absolutely not" hate homosexuals.

Yet, they want magazines and television networks, major parts of the same media they claim to despise, to remove gay-themed elements from them. Sounds a bit like censorship, doesn't it?

Oh no, they claim that the "AFA does not support 'censorship.' Censorship, by definition is government imposed."

By which definition? The definition I see on Dictionary.com says "the act, process, or practice of censoring." In fact, with the exception of a mention of the Roman Empire, none of the definitions of "censorship" or even "censor" specify government action.

Hey, you're right! Sheesh, I guess they meant "by definition" more figuratively.

So, if I understand this right, this group promotes "traditional family values" by threatening to boycott those who support civil rights and by suppressing other people's voices?

Um, pretty much, yeah.

So, they mean "traditional family values" as in "Grandpa's values."

Good God.

Since when did the word "traditional" become synonymous with "conservative?" History has progressed for thousands of years, with evolving cultures with their own sets of beliefs and traditions, yet somehow the word "traditional" now only refers to 1950s middle-class white American way of life.

How ironic that they're the ones fretting over word usage this time of year, eh?

So, it's just a bunch of old white guys and their brainwashed wives, huh?

Looks like, si.

And these are the people who are claiming there's a "War on Christmas?"

Well, they're the ones taking credit for it. Whether or not they actually started this is another question.

And all because of the phrase "Happy Holidays?"

Si. You're only supposed to say "Merry Christmas" this time of year.

And why is that?

Because otherwise they feel we're trying to ignore a word that comes from the name Jesus Christ.

So, we're not allowed to acknowledge any other holiday in December?

I guess not.

Even though two-thirds of the world's population doesn't believe in Christianity?


Even though December is also when St. Stephen's Day, Boxing Day, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all take place?


Even though with more and more minorities of all kinds growing in population there's a good chance that not everyone you know actually observes Christmas?


Chiwawa Boy, do you like Christmas?

OH, very much!

Does it hurt your enjoyment to know that someone else may not be celebrating it?

Um, not really.

And should you bump into this person on the street, would it hurt your enjoyment of Christmas to wish them a happy season without specifying an actual holiday?

I don't think so.

Okay, bueno. That's exactly how I feel, too.

So, why do people feel that Christmas is being threatened?

My guess is because many folks are "daring" to acknowledge and show respect toward the beliefs and traditions of other people during the season.

But, isn't that what Christmas is all about anyway? Your fellow man?

Si. We can't celebrate Peace on Earth if we begin to exclude people.

I mean, about half of the people back home in Tamale don't celebrate Christmas. Are we supposed to not think of them this time of year?

Or what about all of the troops various countries have sent into Iraq. They can't all possibly be Christmas fans. So what, screw 'em and forget about them?

Not that there's anything wrong with saying "Merry Christmas," by the way....

Of course not.

But still, we live in a diverse culture with different people who celebrate different things....

All of which have to do with Peace on Earth in one way or another....

Si, so what's so wrong with tipping your hat to the many other cultures and beliefs that are also having celebrations this time of year?

Apparently respect is synonymous with betrayal or something.

Now, some people do have a point about those who call Christmas trees "holiday trees" or whatever other euphemism they like.

I agree. But then again, the annual tradition of a winter tree did proceed the birth of Christ. I'm just saying....

But really, accusing stores of being anti-Christmas? Stores?? Since when?

Many companies wouldn't remain in business if not for Christmas. Chia Pets, anyone?

God forbid Target actually wants non-Christians to also shop at their stores in November and December, huh?

The considerate heathens.

Have you heard about this one lady who's selling pro-Christmas wristbands?

Si, I saw her on CNN. What a loon.

How so?

She said, "we just wanted to encourage Christians to have the courage to say 'Merry Christmas' instead of 'Happy Holidays.'"

Sooo, if you're mindful and respectful to someone else, you're somehow a coward??

According to Jennifer Giroux, si. And hey, you know how the religious right has been so out of power lately...they need a little something to strengthen their courage. She also said, "people are tired of being told not to celebrate Christmas; they are tired of the ACLU."

Um, is the ACLU telling people they can't celebrate Christmas anymore??

You'd think that would have made the news. But you know, it's bullshit like this that just makes me want to puke in my soup. If half of these morons even knew what the ACLU was all about, they would embrace it instead of try to vilify it at every opportunity.

They are set up to help preserve the Bill of Rights, right?

Si, including the Freedom of Religion! If someone was really being prevented from celebrating Christmas in a religious manner, the ACLU would be the first ones on the scene to help out.

I don't believe it has ever been a crime or a faux pas to observe your religion publicly. Hell, Chick-fil-A would have been shut down years ago if that was true.

Oh, there's plenty of other reasons to do that.

So, why do you think these nuts think that Christmas is being threatened?

I really don't know. Maybe they don't really think that their ability to observe it religiously is in danger, but rather their ability to use it to convert others to their religion is in danger?

Hmm, they do seem to be obsessed with how Christmas is marketed....

What do you think it is?

Maybe it's because Santa Claus has become a bigger Christmas icon than Jesus has?

Maybe, just maybe, what's pissing them off is that Christmas has become so much more than just the celebration of the life of one man. Christmas has become an attitude, a feeling, a spirit, and it's that feeling and not the man's life that's resonating with people of all beliefs.

Peace on Earth is a universal concept. It doesn't belong to any one religion.

Exactly, but unfortunately, instead of feeling happy that Jesus Christ's message of loving one another has become this annual spirit of peace and joy, some people just won't be satisfied until they've crammed a Bible down every single last person's throat.

Isn't that kinda missing the message of the season then?

I always thought tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs were a part of what Jesus tried to teach everyone. Apparently some feel otherwise.

You know, in Mark 9:38-40 it says, "We saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, 'Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.'"

See? Even Jesus was cool with folks with other faiths, just as long as they also believed in peace, love, and understanding. He couldn't care less about semantics!

Now, those anti-semantics, however....

I guess ultimately if your faith hinges on whether or not everyone on the planet uses a very specific phrase for two weeks out of the year, maybe, just maybe, you need to reevaluate what your own beliefs are all about.

Oh well, we still wish them a very Happy Holiday.

Ditto. Hey, C.B., wanna end this with a carol?

Okay, how about "The 12 Days of Holidays?" Or maybe "We Wish You a Pleasant Season?"

Hee hee...Christmas is threatened indeed. Feliz Navidad, Chiwawa Boy.

Merry Christmas.

He Said/He Said September, 2005: Hurricane Preparation
He Said/He Said July, 2005: Presidential Diversions
He Said/He Said May, 2005: Revenge of the Ditz
He Said/He Said April, 2005: The Pope
He Said/He Said February, 2005: Cartoons
He Said/He Said December, 2004: New Year's Past
He Said/He Said October, 2004: Amiço and Chiwawa Boy's Super-Cool Election Spectacular!
He Said/He Said August, 2004: Terror Alerts
He Said/He Said June, 2004: The Gipper
He Said/He Said March, 2004: Language
He Said/He Said February, 2004: Nudity
He Said/He Said January, 2004: State of Delusion
He Said/He Said December, 2003: 2003: The Obligatory Year in Review
He Said/He Said October, 2003: Marriage Protection Week
He Said/He Said September, 2003: Blackouts and Rub-outs
He Said/He Said July, 2003: Virginity and Celebrity
He Said/He Said April, 2003: France
He Said/He Said March, 2003: War
He Said/He Said February, 2003: Award Season
He Said/He Said December, 2002: Resolutions
He Said/He Said October, 2002: Fear
He Said/He Said September, 2002: The Emmys
He Said/He Said August, 2002: Baseball
He Said/He Said June, 2002: The Pledge
He Said/He Said May, 2002: Cloning
He Said/He Said February, 2002: Sex
He Said/He Said January, 2002: The State of the Union
He Said/He Said December, 2001: The Holidays
He Said/He Said August, 2001: McDonald's
He Said/He Said July, 2001: Music
He Said/He Said May, 2001: The Death Penalty
He Said/He Said March, 2001: The Oscars
He Said/He Said February, 2001: Napster

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