In the small Missouri town where I grew up, about this time of year everyone would start hanging lights and saying Merry Christmas to each other. It was all we knew.
When I got a little older, I went off to college and became friends with a guy from St. Louis named Mark Resnick. We were suite-mates in the dorm and we had much in common -- a love for the St. Louis Cardinals, Mizzou basketball, and beer. At the end of the first semester, as we both headed home, I said to Mark, "Have a nice Christmas." He reminded me, ever so politely, that he and his family would be celebrating Hannukah.
"Oh, yeah," I said. "Well, have a good holiday, then."
It was a simple lesson for a country kid, and it stayed with me. You respect people's faith. You say Merry Christmas to some folks; to others, you say Happy Hannukah or, if you don't know their faith, Happy Holidays.
Now, it turns out -- at least according to Bill O'Reilly and Fox News -- that this simple act of courtesy is part of a liberal plot to "kill Christmas." Last week, I watched a panel of four grown men discuss the following topic on Fox: "Economic disaster if liberals win the 'War on Christmas?'"
Jesus H. Christ! Are you kidding me? Sadly, they weren't. According to these nutbags, by using the more inclusive "Happy Holidays" in their advertising, many American corporations have fallen under the sway of "liberals" who are trying to "kill" Christmas.
If there was ever a greater perversion of the Christmas spirit than this, I've not seen or heard it. I couldn't help but wonder What Would Jesus Do? My guess is he'd say, Be happy and be merry. And do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Or shut the hell up.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor