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US Department of State

Throughout his presidential campaign and his first year in office, President Donald Trump has sworn to “make Christmas great again” by ending the “war on Christmas.” But has he lived up to his promise?

“If I become president, we’re going to be saying Merry Christmas at every store,” Trump promised supporters back during the election. Fast-forward to October 2017, and Trump repeated such rhetoric at the Values Voter Summit. “Guess what? We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”

The concept of a “war on Christmas”, which is important to many in the conservative party, has been challenged by others saying it doesn’t exist. However a recent polling does suggest that the Christian nature of Christmas is less socially prevalent than in years past.

In a Pew Research Center survey published last week, it was found that most US adults believe the religious aspects of the holiday are emphasized less now than they used to be. However overall, only 31% of adults said “they are bothered at least ‘some’ by the declining emphasis on religion in the way the U.S. commemorates Christmas.”

Meanwhile, the “remaining two-thirds of the U.S. public either is not bothered by a perceived decline in religion in Christmas or does not believe that the emphasis on the religious elements of Christmas is waning,” according to the Pew poll.

The Pew survey suggests that while most Americans still celebrate Christmas, the way they think about and commemorate the holiday appears to be moving in a more secular direction. About 55% of US adults “say they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, including 46% who see it as more of a religious holiday than a cultural holiday.

On a recent day at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, some visitors praised the President for his efforts to restore Christmas to its more religious origins during a short interview with CNN.

“I believe he’s been more proactive,” said Kevin Ferris, a Bible college student from Maryland, said of Trump’s Christmas efforts.

“I celebrate Christmas the same, whoever is the president,” Rachel Powell of Ohio stated. “I feel like most people probably do, too, because it’s tradition.”

Trump has certainly made it clear that he wants Christmas to be represented fully without any political correctness. His Christmas rhetoric, Christmas-themed merchandise, and choice of giving speeches in front of Christmas trees shows that he is not going to back down from the “war on Christmas”.

With studies showing Christmas moving into a more secular direction, do you think that Trump can help make Christmas more prevalent in the USA?

1513955996According to a new Knights of Columbas-Marist poll, a majority of American’s prefer the greeting “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays.”

The nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) who prefer Merry Christmas is slightly higher than last year’s 57 percent. Only 36% of Americans preferred “Happy Holidays” and the remainder selected “unsure.”

The Knights of Columbas-Marist released how the poll was conducted.

This survey of 1,074 adults was conducted November 6th through November 9th, 2017 by The Marist Poll. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone using live interviewers. The results were balanced to reflect the 2013 American Community Survey 1-year estimates for age, gender, income, race, and region. Results are statistically significant within ±3.0 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.

The Knights of Columbas was founded in 1882 by Venerable Father Michael McGivney, a parish priest, in New Haven, Connecticut. The organization was formed to provide charitable outreach and care for the financial well-being of Catholic families, focusing on the protection of widows and orphans, and on strengthening the faith of its members. It has grown to include 1.9 million members worldwide.

LD Entertainment’s new inspirational movie, “The Miracle Season,” is based on the true story of the Iowa West High School women’s volleyball team. After winning the state championship the previous year, West lost their star player Caroline “Line” Found when she died in August 2011. In a tragic accident, Caroline lost control of her moped and crashed into a tree. In the wake of Caroline’s death, the team’s tough-love coach worked to help the girls band together and defend their state title.

Some of the women who were on the West High School Volleyball team with Caroline have spoken out about the upcoming film. Olivia Mekies, one of Caroline’s friends and teammates, remarked on the strange sensation brought on by watching the trailer. “It was a lot, for sure. It brings back a lot of initial memories so it was really difficult, for sure. It’s a really exciting time for the community and it’s great, and I’m proud, mostly of her, but of us, too.”

Actress Tiera Skovbye’s character, “Brie,” is based on Olivia Mekies. Tiera reached out to Olivia about playing Brie, and the two women kept in contact throughout the production of the film. “It’s meant a lot for her to be reaching out to me and to be making an effort,” Olivia said. “It’s definitely strange, but they seem to be really wanting to be involved with our story which means a lot.”

Caroline’s story is well known in the local area. In downtown Iowa City, there is a bench decorated to read “Live Like Line,” the unofficial motto of Caroline’s team. All the other decorated benches downtown are repainted every few years, with the exception of the bright blue bench dedicated to Caroline. “Caroline was a person that really reached out to everybody, not just her friends,” said Olivia. “I think really what we’re hoping to get out of this is to just show people, help each other. High school is a tough time for everybody, not just young girls. That’s what we want people to learn from Caroline.”

“The Miracle Season” will be available in theaters everywhere on April 13, 2018, and the trailer has already been released. For those that knew Caroline personally, the film is bittersweet. “It will always be hard,” Olivia said. “It’s hard everyday, so when you see that and it’s all over social media every time you pull up your phone, it’s a lot to take in.”

The upcoming film stars Helen Hurt, William Hurt, Erin Moriarty and Danika Yarosh, and Sean McNamara, director of “Soul Surfer,” directed “The Miracle Season.” The screenplay was written by Elissa Matsueda and writer of “Friday Night Lights,” David Aaron Cohen.

Sports movie fans are looking forward to this latest film from LD Entertainment, especially after LD’s recent successes such as the Academy Award nominated “Jackie” with Natalie Portman, “The Zookeeper’s Wife” with Jessica Chastain and “Megan Leavey” with Kate Mara.

The excitement surrounding the film’s release is tainted by sadness for Caroline’s teammates, just like the state championship they won after Caroline’s death. “Nothing will ever change the fact that we lost a best friend,” Olivia said. “A trophy is not going to make that better, but it was just being able to honor her and get that trophy for her because she wanted that so bad, and at the end of the day, we had to work hard for that, and it was a miracle.”

Bullying_FísicoCelebrities have reached out to a young boy who has been bullied by his classmates. Keaton Jones is a young boy from Knoxville, Tennessee and has been dealing with terrible bullying. His classmates mock him, call him “ugly,” make fun of his nose and say he has no friends. According to Keaton, at lunch the bullies “poured milk on [him] and put ham down the back of [his] clothes.” Keaton’s mother took a video of his tearful confession and shared it on Twitter. The video went viral and has since amassed more than 18 million views and inspired messages of support from several celebrities.

Bernard Blake, the former Green Bay Packers quarterback, reached out to Keaton and told him in a video to “never be ashamed of who you are. God made you the way that He made you and God designed you the way He designed you for a reason. You are very special and very unique to this world, and don’t let anybody take that from you.” “Pitch Perfect” actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld also recorded a video message for Keaton and posted it on Twitter. “I think you are amazing, and what makes you so special is that there is only one you,” Steinfeld said. “I would love for you, Keaton Jones, to be my date to the ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ premier on Tuesday.”

Singer Justin Bieber also spoke out in support of Keaton. Beiber’s video message on Instagram told his fans about Keaton and Keaton’s strength. “The fact that [Keaton] still has the sympathy and compassion for other people when he’s going through it himself is a testament to who he is,” Bieber said. “This kid is all-time. He’s a legend. Go check him out. His name’s Keaton.”

Bieber’s message references the fact that in the viral video, Keaton is not just talking about his own personal situation. He has seen other classmates bullied and wants it to stop. “I don’t like that [the bullies] do it to me,” Keaton said in the video, “and I for sure don’t like that they do it to other people, ‘cause it’s not okay. People that are different don’t need to be criticized about it, ‘cause it’s not their fault.”

Keaton also used the video his mom filmed to spread a message of strength to other victims of bullying. Even as tears roll down his face, Keaton tried to support others who were suffering at school. “If you are made fun of, don’t let it bother you,” Keaton said. “Stay strong, I guess. It’s hard, but it’ll probably get better one day.”

Chris Evans, perhaps best known for his role as Captain America in the Avengers series and the Captain America movies, reached out to Keaton to confirm that the bullying would eventually get better. Evans said in a Tweet, “Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year?”

Keaton’s viral video is only a little over a minute long, but it has touched the hearts of millions. One can only hope that the hundreds of thousands of thoughts and prayers reach Keaton and that the outpouring of support for him helps him stand strong and stay kind despite the struggles he is facing.