The War on Christmas Hits Chester County

Can an atheist group that worships pasta threaten Christmas in Philly?

The never-ending Christmas Wars had yet another skirmish recently, and this time it was right in our region, with a bit of a twist. Those merry pranksters known as “Pastafarians,” the satirical atheist group that claims to worship a deity called the Flying Spaghetti Monster, sought to include their “holiday tree” symbol among other religious iconography—including a nativity scene and Hanukkah menorah—outside the courthouse in Chester County. The tree is described in a Journal Register account as “a holiday tree laden with ornaments in the form of a squiggly spaghetti creature with meatball eyes.”

Chesco’s commissioners, however, refused a motion that would have allowed the Pastafarian display to go forward, along with one for a “Tree of Knowledge” from another atheist group, the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia.

I’m not an atheist, but I appreciate the Pastafarians and what they’re trying to do. In fact, disputes like that one have been happening all over the country, this year and every year. Usually, it’s one group fighting another over how much or how little Christian iconography is featured in municipal Christmas decorations, whether a business’ December messaging is “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” or whether public schools should or shouldn’t have their choirs sing explicitly religious carols.

In these disputes, government officials and businesses are usually attempting to strike a balance between giving people the public Christmas experience they desire, and showing sensitivity toward those who celebrate other holidays this time of year, or celebrate no holidays at all.

If you’re a Fox News watcher, though, that’s not what’s happening. The real story is that the secular liberals are waging a war on Christmas. At best, they want to ban it and, at worst, they want to ruin Christmas for everyone who loves it. You can read all about it in The War on Christmas: Why the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Holiday is Worse Than You Thought, the 2005 book by then-Fox anchor John Gibson.

Gibson’s book came out seven years ago. So you’d think Christmas would be pretty much a thing of the past by now, right?

Not quite. The War on Christmas is about as successful as the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. If there’s a war on Christmas, Christmas is winning. In fact, Christmas is undefeated. Indeed, Jon Stewart’s annual evisceration of Fox’s War on Christmas pandering has become one of my favorite holiday traditions.

Is the mass secularization of the holiday season a major part of the liberal agenda for America? Not even close. I know lots of liberals, and none of them cares about this at all. The War on Christmas is about as legitimate as Dick Morris’ election predictions.

Just look around Philadelphia. We’re a blue city in a blue state. There may not have really been 59 precincts in the city that went unanimously for Obama, but Philadelphia’s one of the more staunchly liberal places in the United States. So you’d think Christmas celebrations would be pretty muted and secular here, right?

Wrong. Christmas is EVERYWHERE here. There are decorations all over the place, Christmas Village remains in Love Park, and three different radio stations started playing 24-hour Christmas music sometime in late October. The same is true in other such liberal strongholds as Boston, New York, Chicago and even San Francisco.

This isn’t the Spanish Inquisition. No one has been prevented from celebrating Christmas in their home or outside their home. Nobody’s banning Christmas trees or decorations or even attempting to. There was a story last year about President Obama escalating the war by proposing a Christmas Tree Tax, but guess what—not really.

A department store greeter told you “Happy Holidays”? I’m sorry your feelings were hurt. If you have nothing more pressing in your life to worry about than whether your city has a Christmas tree or a holiday tree, congratulations, you live a more care-free life than most of us.

I’m Jewish and I admit, the holiday season can be tough when everyone but you is celebrating Christmas, especially if you’re a kid. Others have articulated this in the past. But I made my peace with that awhile ago, and most adults I know have too. We have freedom of religion in this country so that everyone—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist or, yes, Pastafarian—can worship or not worship as they see fit.