What Would the Druids Do?

Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman shares in this piece a story about her husband pledging to educate his goddaughter in the ways of the Druid. Today, she says, his comments would be right-on, with Christmas trees, "the sacred and co-opted evergreens of the Druids," being regarded as "the symbols of the purist Christmas Christians.

" Goodman's column contains interesting historical notes, such as the fact that Christmas was not recognized as a federal holiday until 1870. Oh, and this tidbit to put things in perspective: "The last real war against Christmas was, in fact, a religious war. It was waged in [Boston] by Puritans who banned mince pies and plum puddings and declared that celebrating Christmas was a criminal offense."

Was the President Praising Santa?

Lighting the National Christmas Tree is the pleasure of every president. But at the ceremony last week, President George W. Bush's remarks caught one Christian news organization off guard. WorldNetDaily.com has covered the flap that ensued when the president appeared to equate Jesus and Santa. Bush said, "the lighting of the National Christmas Tree is one of the great traditions in our nation's capital. Each year, we gather here to celebrate the season of hope and joy – and to remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity. Santa, thanks for coming. Glad you made it."

A question to White House spokesman Scott McClellan and a later email exchange left WorldNetDaily satisfied that Bush "was not comparing Jesus with Santa Claus in the remarks he made," but that the two comments were part of separate thoughts.

WWJD on 12/25?

In this column on Fox News' website, author Mike Straka emerges from his December Dilemma frustration with one question: What Would Jesus Do? He concludes that in fact, "Jesus wouldn't care about Xmas." After all, Straka writes, "even His most faithful disciple denied Him three times after The Last Supper, so you'd think He'd be kind of immune to U.S. retail outlets denying His name as well."

Also, is Straka taking a not-so-subtle jab at his colleague Bill O'Reilly when he says, "You won't see the guy fostering the Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays debate turning down free eggnog at the company holiday party. And indeed, he shouldn't. He needs to lighten up a bit. Have a little holiday cheer!"

The Holy Family on 'The Hill'

Eager to "counteract the secularization of Christmas" by government offices and even the White House holiday card, the conservative Christian organization Faith and Action has launched a new campaign, called "Operation Nativity." A 10-piece nativity scene will be displayed on the front lawn of Faith and Action's "ministry center," which just happens to be located across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court building. "We would hope that no one would object to this very tasteful reminder of the true meaning of the Christmas season," said the Reverend Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action and missionary to elected and appointed officials. "If we do get resistance, we are prepared to legally defend our Constitutional right o have this display."

Colbert's 'JesusMas' Campaign

Late-night faux newsman Stephen Colbert featured "Xmas" as his nightly "Word" this week, offering his take on the perennial December debates. Declaring a "Blitzen-Krieg" in the war over Christmas, Colbert lamented the "happy holidays" trend and proposed that we put Jesus back in Christmas (creating, of course, JesusMas). Why? "Because if there's one thing Jesus cared about, it's semantics."

Merry Christmas, ACLU

The Christian organization CrossWalk.com has launched a campaign they hope will drive home their continuing objection to those who would substitute "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas." The campaign, which was initiated by Kevin McCullough, the New York-based talk radio host whose "Musclehead" blog appears on CrossWalk, is called "Merry Christmas, ACLU". It urges Christians to "go get as 'Christmas' a Christmas card as you can find... something that says, 'Joy To The World,' 'For Unto Us A Child Is Born,' but at least 'Merry Christmas,' put some of your own thoughts into it, sign it respectfully and zip it off in the mail" to the American Civil Liberties Union. McCullough has also developed an e-card that people can send. But whichever way people choose to participate in this camapign, he reminds them to be kind, "even cheerful" in their greetings. "Trust me--kindness will produce more smoke out of their ears than anything untoward you could think of anyway," he writes.

Putting the 'X' Back in Christmas

Is it the laziness of those who want to avoid writing out a 9-letter word? Or is it discrimination against the word "Christ?" Or the mark of a flip and sarcastic culture that is always looking for a short-cut? All of the above reasons have been cited by people who don't like to see "Xmas" written instead of the word "Christmas." But according to the American Heritage Dictionary, there is religious method to the semantic madness. The "X" in "Xmas" is actually the Greek letter "chi," which is the first letter of "Christ." Read aloud, "Xmas" and "Christmas" are pronounced exactly the same.

A White House 'Holiday'

Conservative Christians who are disappointed in retail stores that wish customers "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" are equally frustrated with this year's White House Christmas card. Though the White House holiday greeting is always religiously generic because it is sent to people of all faiths, Washington Post reporter Alan Cooperman writes that some conservative Christians feel slighted. Cooperman reports that Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative web site WorldNetDaily.com says that Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one. I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."