I vowed not to wade into the so-called “War on Christmas,” given that (a) the whole idea of Christmas being under attack seems absurd to me aside from the occasional–and often laughably ridiculous–excesses by some people, and (b) even as a traditional Jew who takes no part in any Christmas celebration, I have no problem being wished a “Merry Christmas” by strangers and only say “Happy Holidays” to others when I don’t know if they celebrate actually Christmas or not.
Despite my vow, I would be remiss in my duties as an Idol Chatterer if I didn’t mention a delicious quote from Fox news loudmouth Bill O’Reilly, whom The New Yorker, in a Talk of the Town piece, calls the Patton of the War on Christmas. Among several representative quotes from Gen. O’Reilly is this gem: “There is no reason on this earth that all of us cannot celebrate a public holiday devoted to generosity, peace, and love together!”
Um, er, I never went to Christmas Eve Mass and spent my impressionable childhood in Jewish schools, but I thought Christmas is not just about peace, love, and understanding, but also about the birth of Christ. If generosity and peace were all there was to it, you could sign me up, and I would swig eggnog and sing carols while downing my potato latkes and lighting my menorah.
But that would be a sad day for Christmas (not to mention my digestive system). This Jew has no desire to see the Christ taken out of Christmas any more than I want miracles and Maccabees taken out of Hanukkah. But in his rush to equate celebrating Christmas with being American, O’Reilly is guilty of doing just that. So for the sake of all the good Christians in America, I beg you, sir: Please put Christ back in Christmas, and don’t try to make it a universal holiday that we can all supposedly join in on.