Conservatives don’t like it when Americans don’t say “Christmas” during the winter holidays.
For instance, my openly conservative high school world history teacher would pass out a piece of paper the day before “holiday” break. The paper sarcastically scrutinized the modern trend of retail stores and “politically correct” institutions disavowing the word “Christmas” in favor of the general term, "winter holidays." Not exactly world history related, but he was extremely adamant about this issue, and a phenomenal teacher by the way.
The American Family Association, based out of Tupelo, Mississippi, is a non-profit that promotes conservative fundamentalist Christian values. For the past seven years, they’ve explicitly stated their opinion on the Christmas controversy by publishing an annual “Naughty or Nice” list of the top 100 national retailers, praising those who respect the use of “Christmas,” and shaming those who see it as politically incorrect.
AFA look at four different mediums to determine a company’s Christmas friendliness in advertising retail: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website, and physical advertisement in their stores. Companies classified as “naughty” are familiar with the list and — according to the AFA website — have made considerable effort to not recognize Christmas in any way, even though AFA supporters have contacted them prior to the release of the list.
This year’s list includes 13 “naughty” companies who AFA claims are “AGAINST Christmas:” Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Family Dollar, Foot Locker, Gap, Limited Brands, Maurice’s, Office Depot, Old Navy, Radio Shack, Staples, Supervalu, and Victoria’s Secret. Additionally, AFA suggests boycotting both Gap and Old Navy for their outright rejection of Christmas in their advertising.
This year’s list also includes 60 “nice” companies that AFA claims are “For Christmas.” AFA singles out four of these companies as practicing “exceptional promotion” of Christmas, including letting their ads use phrases like “Merry Christmas.”They are: Belk, Hobby Lobby, Lowe’s, and WalMart.
Notice a peculiar trend between the “good” and “bad?” That’s right, the “naughty” list consists of a majority of left-leaning companies, while the top “nice” companies are predominantly conservative.
Similar to my high school history teacher, the AMA is concerned with the possibility of future bans on overtly religious Christmas observances. America’s postmodern love for political correctness is prompting a resurgence of McCarthyism across the Christian conservative base.
Here’s my two cents. The AMA list is absolutely appropriate and has every right to scrutinize companies that choose to secularize the holiday season. It gives AMA followers an opportunity to shop according to their beliefs.
With that being said, secularization of the holiday season is inevitable. This isn’t some sort of secularist agenda that seeks to replace God with the god of government or to introduce Communism into America — that’s blasphemy.
Rather, it’s a testament to a new generation of Americans who, in addition to respecting our nation’s fundamental religious background of Judeo-Christian values, also recognize the vast majority of Americans who don’t celebrate Christmas in the same way as modern Christians do.
Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, and Taoism do not typically recognize Christmas. Kwanzaa and Hanukah are variations of religious sentiments observed by the African American and Jewish communities, respectively. In some cases, even certain Christian denominations like Jehovah's Witnesses and Amish Mennonites, reject the holiday for theological reasons.
It all goes back to the issue of American entitlement. Companies can do whatever they want in advertising their products. Being on the “naughty” list doesn’t mean you’ll get coal.
Well, unless you believe in Santa.