The Thanksgiving weekend is not even over and we already have this year’s first salvo of the yearly complaints about the anti-Christian War on Christmas. The American Family Association has now proclaimed:
AFA is calling for a limited one-month boycott of Radio Shack over the company’s censorship of the word "Christmas."
For years, Radio Shack has refused to use the word Christmas on its website, in television commercials, newspaper ads and in-store promotions, despite tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas and in spite of repeated requests from AFA to do the same.
Behind all this is that it is the conception that it is somehow the intention of the Founding Fathers that this be an explicitly Christian country and that this means that Christmas must be celebrated as Christmas. This has only two problems with it. One is that various of the Founding Fathers would not have fit the definition of Christian by any current evangelical norms, for instance Benjamin Franklin. The other problem is that many early Protestants did not believe in celebrating Christmas at all. For instance, in places and times in which the Puritans had either legislative control or a strong influence, Christmas was considered a blasphemous sinner:
The Puritans, however, set out to eliminate Christmas. When they took control of Scotland’s Parliament in the 1580s, they ruled that Christmas no longer existed. As can be imagined, this did not permanently settle the matter. Nevertheless, the anti-Christmas sentiment in England gained momentum, producing proponents such as Blue Richard Culmer, an ex-minister who smashed stained-glass windows of churches celebrating Christmas, and Praise-God Barebones, a street preacher whose message was that observing Christmas was tantamount to blasphemy.
In 1642, the article notes, “the Puritan-led English parliament asked citizens not to celebrate Christmas in any way, other than private respectful prayer.” Yet not everyone was prepared to abide by this ordinance. In 1645, then, Parliament went one step further, declaring that only Sundays were holy days. Unless Christmas fell on a Sunday, people must report to work. Consequently, “Christmas riots” broke out in the streets of London, with apprentices singing carols and kicking soccer balls. The riots were dispersed.
The Puritans were eventually, and most thankfully, contained and put out of power in England. Even so, it did not become legal to celebrate Christmas in England until 1660. And, lest you think this is old history, Christmas did not become a full national holiday in Scotland until 1958.
Having been thrown out of power, the Puritans did come to New England, where they established the type of holy community that they had been unable to in England. And here, they established similar laws. "From 1620-1850 in the New England area, the celebration of Christmas was either illegal or strongly discouraged. Governor William Bradford of Plymouth, before the American Revolution, reprimanded colonists who were making merry because it was Christmas.
"Most Anabaptists, Quakers, Congregational and Presbyterian Puritans regarded the day as an abomination while Anglicans, Lutherans, the Dutch Reformed and other denominations celebrated the day as did Roman Catholics. When the Church of England promoted the Feast of the Nativity as a major religious holiday, the Puritans attacked it as ‘residual Papist idolatry,’" Bruce Colins Daniel, Puritans at Play (1995).
So, for those of you who wish to follow the example of what our earliest colonist forefathers did, then you should stop celebrating Christmas. In fact, I would recommend that you reprimand any of those liturgical Christians who celebrate Christmas with liturgy, joy, and merrymaking. Meanwhile, you should boycott any businesses who choose to use Merry Christmas, as they are celebrating a pagan holiday and blasphemously using God’s name in support of that holiday.
The other option, of course, is to stop this yearly ritual of claiming that everyone must use the phrase Merry Christmas or suffer your boycott wrath.