Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Ah, 'tis the season for family, friends, eggnog, chipmunks singing Christmas carols -- and all-out, no-mercy, blow-'em-all-to-hell WAR.
Not war like in Afghanistan. No, no -- this is the far-right's God-awful "War on the War on Christmas." In this season of Peace on Earth, these delusional hucksters are fomenting hatred of... well, of whom? Blasphemist-liberal-Democrat-atheist-humanists, they shout -- those heathens who actually go around saying "Happy Holidays," rather than "Merry Christmas," as Jesus taught us to say. Or was it Constantine the Great in the Fourth Century who came up with that?
Never mind, the rightists' point is that diabolical lefties -- ie, Marxists -- are out to ban Christmas entirely. No less of a heroic defender of the faith than Sarah Palin has even written a thin book about this devious plot, revealing that "Happy Holidays" is merely "The tip of the spear in a larger battle to... make true religious freedom a thing of America's past." Luckily, note the Merry Christmas crusaders, such bright lights as Gov. Rick Perry of Texas are pushing state laws to by-pass the silly US Constitution and allow Christian icons and ceremonies into our schools. "A crèche in every public space," is their cry, "a cross on every city hall." To hell with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, etcetera -- this is war!
No, this is hokem, hoodoo, camel dung. It's also insulting that they would attempt to create a fictional piece of religious discrimination, whine that they are a repressed minority, and equate it with war. First, Jews, Muslims, and others don't get to brand public spaces as their religious property. Second, about three-fourths of Americans are Christian, so drop the martyr pose. And third, war really is hell, with blood, lifelong trauma, and death -- so stop pretending you're in one.
Listen to this commentary: