"This is totally not a religious thing. This is about Christmas."

When I first saw this story, I filed it in the “War on Christmas” file I have in my head. And make no mistake there is a war on Christmas. You seriously can’t be online for twenty minutes before you bump into a story where some government official or some organization of atheists is harumphing over a Christmas tree or…gasp…a nativity creche.

I know. I know. We all get laughed at by the harumphers when we mention the war on Christmas. But I’m here to tell you that the war on Christmas isn’t just an us against them thing. No. It’s a war with two fronts. I’ll call them the harumphers and the hollowers. And both are present in this news story. I’ll explain.

In this first case, a bus company is forcing two little old lady bus drivers to tear down the Christmas decorations of ribbons, bows, snowflakes, Santas and angels they put up in the bus, presumably because it might offend someone. Here’s a snippet of the news report:

All Diane Pope and Brigette Klepy want for Christmas is to be allowed to decorate the school buses they drive.

But an e-mail from Tri-Board Student Transportation Services has told them they’re not allowed.

Klepy, who has been a bus driver for 15 years, said the children on her route love the decorations.

“These kids can’t wait to get on the bus and see what I’ve done, to see what hat I’m wearing,” Klepy said.

In the e-mail to Klepy’s employer, Stover Bus Line, Brenda Chalk, a transportation supervisor with Tri-Board, the transportation agency contracted to provide services for local school boards, said using a bus with Christmas decorations will not be allowed. “If that bus is decorated tomorrow, it is not to leave your yard,” the email stated. “Another bus will need to be used on that route. 
“Should the decorated bus be used on the route, it would be considered a breach of your contract,” the email concluded.

Klepy said she would remove the decorations prior to driving Wednesday morning ...

This is a pretty straight up war on Christmas story where a victory has been scored for team harumph. And as dangerous as they are, there’s still something more insidious.

I read on in the same story. One of the little old ladies, in defense of the decorations said, “This is totally not a religious thing. This is about Christmas.”

Wait. What?

I’m not picking on the little old lady bus drivers. What she said is, I think, is increasingly prevalent. To me, this is a much more dangerous than the harumphers’ efforts against Christmas who seek to abolish Christmas. The hollowers just seek to make it meaningless.

I remember a few years ago there was a cross on public ground memorializing the death of a number of state troopers. Atheists howled and the Assistant Attorney General argued in favor of keeping the crosses because he said, “the cross can be and often is used as a secular symbol of death.”

A secular symbol?

And that’s an argument for our side? With friends like that you don’t need the ACLU. I think the case for keeping nativity creches and crosses on public ground can be made. But arguing that religious symbols and holy days are meaningless isn’t the way to go. In fact, arguments like that from the hollowers do more damage than all the harrumphers put together.