‘Happy Holidays’ boycotting is more Scrooge than Christian

Dec. 2, 2013

Eleanor Skelton
eskelton@uccs.edu

Beware the atheist and militant secularist Grinch stealing Christmas from your children. Boycott anyone who dares to sneer at the words “Merry Christmas.”

Each holiday season, ultraconservative activist organizations like the American Family Association (AFA) and the Family Research Council (FRC) ask those on their mailing list to refrain from shopping at stores whose advertising slogans use “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

AFA has announced boycotts in previous years for Home Depot and other retailers that fund LGBT pride festivals and organizations, and FRC encouraged avoiding Betty Crocker products earlier this year since the company donated wedding cakes to three gay couples in Minnesota.

On the other hand, gay rights groups launched a similar boycott on Chik-fil-A last year, but the FRC attacked this, calling the boycott a “gaystapo tactic.”

The 2013 “Naughty and Nice” retailers list from AFA divides stores into pro-Christmas and anti-Christmas categories with a few stores designated as “marginal on Christmas.”

Apparently true believers cannot shop at Barnes and Noble, Radio Shack, Office Depot, PetSmart or FootLocker because Jesus said his birthday must not be desecrated with greetings that are too generic.

Or not.

According to the gospels, Jesus only asked his disciples to follow two rituals – baptism and communion. Christmas (look again) is not on the list.

Historians still debate his actual birthday, although some groups have used astronomical computer programs, reversing centuries, to indicate a star would have appeared on Dec. 25.

Regardless, the heart of Jesus’ message was to include the excluded. Love God with all your heart. Love others as yourself. He did not say to wear AFA’s Merry Christmas buttons all month in protest.

Yes, boycotts were useful during the civil rights movement to enact social change. But Target employees telling customers “Happy Holidays” should not be on the same level as Rosa Parks being kicked off a city bus.

So-called “Christian” activism loses sight of its own philosophy when groups take offense at a well-meant greeting.