National Catholic Register

News

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Groups Support Reason for the Season

BY Joseph Pronechen

Staff Writer

December 16-29, 2012 Issue | Posted 12/22/12 at 10:22 AM

 

Christmas is being censored again this year in more than a few places.

In Rhode Island, the governor continues to describe the tree decorated for Dec. 25 on state property as a "holiday tree," not a Christmas tree.

This secular description is becoming typical in other places as well.

In Santa Monica, Calif., a judge ruled that the traditional Nativity display in Palisade’s Park — a Christmas staple since 1953 — could no longer be put on view after atheists and secularists complained. An appeal is in the works.

In Little Rock, Ark., there have been similar complaints regarding an elementary school’s planned field trip to see a stage adaptation of A Charlie Brown Christmas at a church because the production promotes a Christian view.

"Who would be afraid of their children going to watch a classic Charlie Brown story like this?" weighed in Father Jonathan Morris, Fox News’ religion contributor, in a recent television segment.

The war on Christmas may be waged. But it isn’t a one-sided battle.

The women of the Catholic Daughters of America chapter at St. Zita’s Convent and Home for Women, run by the Sisters of the Apparition of the Congregation of Mary in Monsey, N.Y., are once again selling "It’s OK to Say Merry Christmas to Me" pins and car magnets (OKtoSayChristmas.com).

The project started in 2004, when Macy’s declared that its employees were no longer able to say, "Merry Christmas."

Dale Kolarek came up with the design and phrasing and began making the pins. "My vision is that if everybody in America would wear these pins there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that it’s appropriate to say, ‘Merry Christmas.’ We need to keep Christ in Christmas."

Since that first year — when they were bombarded with orders after TV news shows got hold of the story — the pins and magnets have been sold to Christmas champions in all 50 states, often in large orders. All proceeds go to charity.

The campaign gets wonderful feedback. Said Kolarek: "What I hear most from people who wear our pins and magnets is that it gives them a simple, effective way to stand up for their beliefs and make a meaningful difference."

Wearers "have the opportunity to talk about why it’s important to keep Christ in Christmas — the real reason to celebrate," she said.

Combating the war on Christmas on another front is the Liberty Counsel, a pro-life, pro-family litigation group based in Florida and Washington.

For the 10th year in a row, the Liberty Counsel is carrying out its "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign." The group has won a number of legal victories over the years to keep Christ in Christmas. It also encourages the public celebration of Christmas and makes available materials to educate everyone — from government officials and teachers to parents, students and businesses — that it is in fact legal to celebrate Christmas. It also offers items like "I ♥ CHRISTmas" buttons and "I Helped Save Christmas" bumper stickers.

As part of its campaign, the counsel offers its annual "Naughty and Nice" list, available at LC.org, which showcases stores that do and don’t support Christmas. The good news: The "nice" list is longer.

According to Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman, Mat Staver, the campaign is going well again this year. In fact, Liberty Counsel has sent a letter offering its pro-bono services for the Charlie Brown Christmas case.

To illustrate the changes, Staver said a few years ago Walmart made the "Naughty" list. Shoppers saw the list, responded in numbers, and the following year — 2006 — Walmart brought back "Merry Christmas." He singled out Sears, CVS and Walgreens as other examples of positive moves to the "Nice" list.

He recommends that customers tell stores why they are or are not shopping there: "This kind of feedback is the reason why so many companies make the change."