December 4, 2005

Another ridiculous Committee for Justice ad for Alito.

Listen here.

Oh, no! Liberals are attacking Christmas! Please, Judge Alito! Save Christmas!

It does Alito a disservice to try to alarm people about liberal attacks on "religious expression," when the constitutional law in question is about government's expression of religion, something you can't tell from the ad. And the tinkly Christmas music playing in the background? What that says to me is that they think you have no brain, only a heart. Doesn't the pretty music make it grow three sizes and feel like carving up some nice roast liberal?


Paul said...

Really amateur feeling,when even I am uncomfortable with their appeal, you know they're bad and transparent.

the pooka said...


The "free expression" stuff is a hoot. Makes me wonder if they've ever read Justice Scalia's opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, or if their organization supported the subsequent RFRA.

brylin said...

You don't think there's an assault on religion?

You must not think that there is an assault on Christmas either. John Gibson has a best selling book on this subject.

Don't you think that "establishment of religion" means "any reference to religion" to the ACLU? How about the atheists in Salt Lake City who want memorials of fallen officers removed?

Are you in agreement with the Ninth Circuit and in opposition to the Pledge of Allegiance?

How about the Boy Scouts of America v. Dale?

I don't recall your position on the two Ten Commandments cases which badly split the Supreme Court as recently as June, 2005.

Personally, I find the outright distortions such as the ad by People for the American Way claiming that Alito even voted to strip search a 10-year old girl to be shocking and offensive.

Happy Winter Solstice, Wiccans!

Dave said...

Brylin is a moron. Or a Bill O'Reilly stooge.

brylin said...


I love your intellectualism!

EddieP said...

Personally, it doesn't take pretty music to make me feel like carving up some nice roast liberal. I even have little roast liberals I hang on my Festivity Tree or what ever it is they want me to call it.

Ann Althouse said...

Brylin: I think I know the case law. I teach Religion and the Constitution. I'm opposed to distortions and exaggerations from both sides.

Tim said...

It's sort of funny, the way the ad is named up at the top of the web browser when you load the ad: alitoad ...

I wonder if some folks will catch on and start referring to Alito as Alitoad.

DEC said...

What happened to your comment policy, Ann? Now you allowing one visitor to call another visitor a moron?

brylin said...


That's OK; I've been called worse. I probably should have spent a little more time on my comment to provide more evidence and make it less strident.

Aspasia M. said...

The war on Christmas stuff is more then a little odd.

When did the Christmas tree become a religious symbol? Hello? It's festive, but it's not a symbol of religious theology.

The Puritans did not celebrate Christmas in any way that evoked the pagan aspects of solstice. They downplayed the significance of Christmas as a holiday. (ie - trees, party festivity, bonfires, ect. They would have flipped at the idea of lights and Christmas trees and Christmas carols and lots of presents under the tree. )

TopCat said...


If you teach religion and the constitution you should have some feel for how a vast, vast majority of Americans (not all wingnuts) are really ticked off by a few cranks standing the establishment clause on its head and allowing this tyranical minority to expunge religious expression from public life. No single issue, nothing, has strengthened the Republican Right more than the premise (supported by a bunch of faculty lounge naifs) that Act-Up is good and the Boy Scouts are bad, or that flag burning is good and "in god we trust" is bad.

Jacob said...

I don't think there's anyone serious out there saying flag burning is good. Rather, they're saying that banning it is unconstitutional. So I guess your "few cranks" would include Justice Scalia? Last time I checked, "In God We Trust" is still on the currency, the boy scout's are allowed to discriminate against gays and Act-Up hasn't been heard of for many a year.

Also, "no single issue"? Please. I'm pretty sure that abortion and the war on terror might be at least a tensy-bit more important to people.

Unknown Pundit said...

This whole "Christmas under attack" thing is just crazy. I've posted about it on my blog here, here and a funny one here.

Jacob said...

Evidentially, Act-Up is still around. I guess I should've said I hadn't heard of them for many a year.

Sean said...

Judging by the direct mail I get, I think topcat is right in his reading of the American mood. I'm not very political myself, but have purchased enough Christian merchandise and/or magazines to get on a lot of mailing lists. Assuming that the direct mail I get is written by people who know what they are doing, there is a lot of anger at organizations like the ACLU and the federal judiciary, which demand that the government must subsidize urinating on crucifixes, and may not subsidize Nativity scenes.

By the way, I don't know that this anger is leading to anything other than direct mail. American history is replete with passionate, dedicated people who failed in their objectives.

DJ Ninja said...

I don't think I saw anyone else speak to this, but the thing that bothered me the most (as a Jew) was bringing Channukah into the whole thing. Leave me out of it! Earth to Christians hoping to co-opt Jewish tradition for their own agenda: this "season" isn't that special to us, except that we get the same time as you off to hang out with our families. Oh, and we get to light pretty lights and eat doughnuts. Our "special season" was two months ago, and again in April. If someone wants to ban public displays of Channukah, I couldn't care less. Channukah is literally the ONLY Jewish holiday not mentioned in any books of the Hebrew bible. To the promulgators of this radio ad: don't give people the impression this is my fight, too, because it's not.

brylin said...

Foamy the Squirrel has his views on Christmas that are strangely similar to mine.

Warning: Parental Advisory!

(Hat tip to Instapundit.)

Mark said...

This is from today's NY Times. I can't add much to the content, since I agree 100% with it, except to say that it's truly amazing how anyone can claim that in the most religious western country Christmas is under attack. The hypocrisy is too enormous.

Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the commercialization of Christmas. They're for it.

The American Family Association is leading a boycott of Target for not using the words "Merry Christmas" in its advertising. (Target denies it has an anti-Merry-Christmas policy.) The Catholic League boycotted Wal-Mart in part over the way its Web site treated searches for "Christmas." Bill O'Reilly, the Fox anchor who last year started a "Christmas Under Siege" campaign, has a chart on his Web site of stores that use the phrase "Happy Holidays," along with a poll that asks, "Will you shop at stores that do not say 'Merry Christmas'?"

This campaign - which is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio - is an odd one. Christmas remains ubiquitous, and with its celebrators in control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and every state supreme court and legislature, it hardly lacks for powerful supporters. There is also something perverse, when Christians are being jailed for discussing the Bible in Saudi Arabia and slaughtered in Sudan, about spending so much energy on stores that sell "holiday trees."

What is less obvious, though, is that Christmas's self-proclaimed defenders are rewriting the holiday's history. They claim that the "traditional" American Christmas is under attack by what John Gibson, another Fox anchor, calls "professional atheists" and "Christian haters." But America has a complicated history with Christmas, going back to the Puritans, who despised it. What the boycotters are doing is not defending America's Christmas traditions, but creating a new version of the holiday that fits a political agenda.

The Puritans considered Christmas un-Christian, and hoped to keep it out of America. They could not find Dec. 25 in the Bible, their sole source of religious guidance, and insisted that the date derived from Saturnalia, the Roman heathens' wintertime celebration. On their first Dec. 25 in the New World, in 1620, the Puritans worked on building projects and ostentatiously ignored the holiday. From 1659 to 1681 Massachusetts went further, making celebrating Christmas "by forbearing of labor, feasting or in any other way" a crime.

The concern that Christmas distracted from religious piety continued even after Puritanism waned. In 1827, an Episcopal bishop lamented that the Devil had stolen Christmas "and converted it into a day of worldly festivity, shooting and swearing." Throughout the 1800's, many religious leaders were still trying to hold the line. As late as 1855, New York newspapers reported that Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches were closed on Dec. 25 because "they do not accept the day as a Holy One." On the eve of the Civil War, Christmas was recognized in just 18 states.

Christmas gained popularity when it was transformed into a domestic celebration, after the publication of Clement Clarke Moore's "Visit from St. Nicholas" and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly drawings, which created the image of a white-bearded Santa who gave gifts to children. The new emphasis lessened religious leaders' worries that the holiday would be given over to drinking and swearing, but it introduced another concern: commercialism. By the 1920's, the retail industry had adopted Christmas as its own, sponsoring annual ceremonies to kick off the "Christmas shopping season."

Religious leaders objected strongly. The Christmas that emerged had an inherent tension: merchants tried to make it about buying, while clergymen tried to keep commerce out. A 1931 Times roundup of Christmas sermons reported a common theme: "the suggestion that Christmas could not survive if Christ were thrust into the background by materialism." A 1953 Methodist sermon broadcast on NBC - typical of countless such sermons - lamented that Christmas had become a "profit-seeking period." This ethic found popular expression in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In the 1965 TV special, Charlie Brown ignores Lucy's advice to "get the biggest aluminum tree you can find" and her assertion that Christmas is "a big commercial racket," and finds a more spiritual way to observe the day.

This year's Christmas "defenders" are not just tolerating commercialization - they're insisting on it. They are also rewriting Christmas history on another key point: non-Christians' objection to having the holiday forced on them.

The campaign's leaders insist this is a new phenomenon - a "liberal plot," in Mr. Gibson's words. But as early as 1906, the Committee on Elementary Schools in New York City urged that Christmas hymns be banned from the classroom, after a boycott by more than 20,000 Jewish students. In 1946, the Rabbinical Assembly of America declared that calling on Jewish children to sing Christmas carols was "an infringement on their rights as Americans."

Other non-Christians have long expressed similar concerns. For decades, companies have replaced "Christmas parties" with "holiday parties," schools have adopted "winter breaks" instead of "Christmas breaks," and TV stations and stores have used phrases like "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" out of respect for the nation's religious diversity.

The Christmas that Mr. O'Reilly and his allies are promoting - one closely aligned with retailers, with a smack-down attitude toward nonobservers - fits with their campaign to make America more like a theocracy, with Christian displays on public property and Christian prayer in public schools.

It does not, however, appear to be catching on with the public. That may be because most Americans do not recognize this commercialized, mean-spirited Christmas as their own. Of course, it's not even clear the campaign's leaders really believe in it. Just a few days ago, Fox News's online store was promoting its "Holiday Collection" for shoppers. Among the items offered to put under a "holiday tree" was "The O'Reilly Factor Holiday Ornament." After bloggers pointed this out, Fox changed the "holidays" to "Christmases."

Aspasia M. said...

Well, I just got home from the local indoor mall. (I think the local mall is our version of the public square. And it's too bloody cold to be outside today.)

There were lots of Christmas trees and lights and wreathes all over the place. There was a really big Christmas tree and Santa and pictures with little kids.

The "war on Christmas" is just the strangest non-controversy ever. But the "war" is interesting from a popular culture/ media studies point of view.

Mark said...

Absolutely. According to the Fox News poll, they managed to convince 42% of the population that there's a war on Christmas. Fortunately, sane 48% disagree.
Another poll showed that 15% still think that we've found WMDs in Iraq. I mean, when someone lives in a bubble, listens exclusively to Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and watches Fox News, it's easy to believe the most outlandish things.

ShadyCharacter said...

You cynical athiests just go ahead and continue your mocking and derision of the valid concerns of your Christian countrymen. See what kind of country it gets you!

You're going to end up with a much more overtly religious and in your face polity than you would if you guys didn't go out of your way to piss on Christians.

Mark said...

Unless you were sarcastic, I advise you to go and enroll in ethics class and also some religious tolerance class before writing such extremely profound posts. Everyone has equal rights in this country and if anyone threatens Christmas its religious fanatics seeking to impose their views on everyone else.

Aspasia M. said...


I wonder if that poll was a call-in poll or if they actually used the scientific methods of statistics?

You know, I find the whole thing a little scary. FOX may be just doing this for ratings, but there is this undertone of "bad others" that frankly, freaks me out.

FOX is trying to characterize a "out group" as evil and as the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in this country, including the "destruction" of Christmas. On FOX's buisness show they were trying to blame "liberals" and their "war" on Christmas for bad economic numbers.

The next thing you know, FOX will accuse "liberals" of "usury" and of managing the international banking community.

Mark said...


This poll was a normal scientific poll by Opinion Dynamics group. They are usually pretty accurate.

Yes, the level of meanness toward non-Christians is sickening me, as Jewish, to the nth degree. It's impossible to watch O'Reilly or listen to any right wing host without hearing the same tired profoundly false and mean tirades against those who want the state to be inclusive.
They don't give a crap about facts in their propaganda. The NY Times article is right on target, it points out how utterly false their attacks are. And sure, it's evil "liberals" who seek to take away Christmas. Disgusting.
I am not surprised that they blame liberals for anything. Recently,. OReilly took the credit for lowering gas prices!!!! (cuz the oil companies got scared of his reporting). There's nothing they won't say.

Aspasia M. said...

shadycharacter must have been ironic, no? Please be a paradoy. Please.

There was this wierd segment on FOX about the "war" on Christmas and Soros. I'm not sure what they were saying, but I got the impression that Soros is Jewish. Does anyone know if he is?

I ask because I've started to wonder if the "war" on Christmas FOX stuff has an anti-semitic undertone. I don't want to overreact, but again, it's really freaking me out.

Mark said...


It appears that ShadyCharacter posted something in the same vein on this blog before, so I doubt he was being ironic.

I think George Soros is Jewish. He's an emigrant from Hungary.

I don't think this stupid campaign has antisemitic undertones (yet), but it sure has mean nasty America-is-Christian-nation-and-we-don't-care-about-you streak.
What's the most disgusting is that people who orchestrate this campaign know full well how phony it is, but they seek to brainwash ordinary Christians to convince them that there's some sort of attack on Christmas by atheists/liberals.

Mark said...

I just checked. Yes, Soros is Jewish and he was a refugee from Nazizm and Communism in Hungary.
He is also a great philantropist and gave away literally billions of dollars to promote democracy and civil society in the Eastern Europe.
O'Reilly has some weird fixation on him; but he's a coward and refuses to debate Soros or people who'd defend him.

Aspasia M. said...

I believe it was the guy who wrote the "war on Christmas" book who started talking about Soros. I haven't heard of Soros talking about the public display of Christmas trees or some such.

Well, now I'm depressed. Maybe I'll go drink some liquored up eggnog or something.

Mark said...

Don't be depressed. That's the kind of people we're up against. Fortunately, I have a feeling that America will soon reject their meanness and nastiness. We just have to work extra hard to point out their hypocrisy and meanness.
They assume its THEIR country and THEY get to decide.That's what makes me sick, they (far right) hijacked patriotism, moral values, etc and they don't even realize how offensive it is to others.

Aspasia M. said...

ok - I'll just say what has been really bothering me. He started to accuse Soros of a secular conspiracy against Christmas. He implied that Soros was Jewish, but then quickly made sure to underline the "secular" aspect of his argument.

I don't have the transcript, and I wouldn't want to firmly accuse his of something that I misheard. But I'll frankly say that it has been really bothering me for the last few days, and I was surprised that someone would say what I thought I heard.

It was way too close to stuff said about conspiracies towards Christmas in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mark said...

Well, if it's true then it just confirms my view that when you think the far right can't sink even lower, it proves you wrong.

Jacob said...

Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the commercialization of Christmas. They're for it.
Tom Lehrer reference? :)

O'Reily may be many things, but he's not a Nazi. Nor is he using anti-Semetic codewords though phrases like "secular" or "cosmopolitian" have been used in that fashion for Jews (and come to think of it, "Neocon" as well).

As a Jew, the commercialization of Hanukah doesn't really bother me (though I do find it quite ironic, given the anti-assimilationist message of the holiday). The way I see it, Jewish children are going to want to celebrate the holiday season in some way or other. Why not make it through a Jewish holiday as opposed to a Christian one?

ShadyCharacter said...

Great, so pointing out that Americans are getting fed up with the intentional stripping of all vestiges of the Christian faith and expression from the public square leads a couple of self-satisfied lefties to reach into their bag of tricks for anti-Semitism as the motivation.

At the same time, they proceed to give George Soros a tongue-bath as an unimpeachable philanthropist.

There's no doubt anti-Semitism finds its true home these days on the left. Even your vaunted Soros came in for a tongue lashing from Abe Foxman of the ADL for arguing that the root of anti-Semitism lies with the actions of Jewish people and not with the delusions of anti-Semites.

ShadyCharacter said...

Mark and GeoDuck, do you even realize what parodies of left-wing depressives you two are?

The self-professed "depressed" GeoDuck writes:
"I don't have the transcript, and I wouldn't want to firmly accuse him of something [based on something] that I [may have] misheard."

In an effort to avoid firmly accusing someone of anti-Semitism, he just throws out a limp implication of anti-Semitism. That's almost adult of you, Geo.

Mark, taking a break from bucking up the Duck responds:
"Well, if it's true [the Duck's limp charge of anti-Semitism] then it just confirms my view that when you think the far right can't sink even lower, it proves you wrong."

Does anyone want to wager that even "if it's not true" Mark's opinion of the "far right" wouldn't change one iota?

Aspasia M. said...


Why was he connecting Soros to the War on Christmas? Is Soros trying to change the name of Christmas trees to holiday trees?

Aspasia M. said...

ps. I'm not a duck, I'm a shellfish.

Mark said...

Re-read your own post. You accused those who disagree with you of being "cynical atheists", "mocking and deriding" Christianity, and then you noted that if we (those who disagree with you) keep on "piss on Christians", we'll "see what kind of country" it gets us, "overtly religious and in your face polity".
It's almost beneath this thread to actually answer to your posts.
If you went to trouble to actually read the NY Times article posted earlier in the thread, you'd realize that this whole pseudo controversy about Christmas is all about dividing the country and seeking to further commercialize Christmas. Try to get your news from other than conservative outlets.
About Soros, nobody was "tongue-bathing him". But the far right campaign against him is ridiculous and offensive and cowardice.
Since you quoted ADL, here's the statement by Abe Foxman, ADL's leader:

The key:
"In 2002, leaders from 10 conservative Christian organizations formed the `Arlington Group,' an alliance of over 50 of the most prominent Christian leaders and organizations. Their Web site documented in considerable details the agenda of a wide range of issues, including judicial nominees, stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, abortion restrictions and the faith-based initiative - and their expectation of success on these issues [was high] because of their perceived political strength," Foxman said.

Craig Ranapia said...

I don't want to presume to speak for Professor Althouse but I thought her point was that this advert is weak on substantitive argument and long on hysterical emoting - you know, the kind of nonsense conservatives mock loony left lobby groups for trotting out?

Strange as this may sound, I became a conservative because I was convinced by ideas presented with wit, intellectual rigour and moral gravity. If public advocacy is going to conducted on the same level as that of (and with a soundtrack like 70's softcore Euro-porn) conservatism has lost something much more important than a tacky Nativity scene.

Steven said...

DJ Ninja -- "Channukah is literally the ONLY Jewish holiday not mentioned in any books of the Hebrew bible"

Oddly, however, it does happen to be mentioned twice in the Catholic/Orthodox Bible. 1 Maccabees 4:59 and 2 Maccabees 10:8 both cover the establishement of an annual eight-day festival starting the 25th of Chislev in honor of the rededication of the Temple.

Aspasia M. said...

Easter used to be a much more important holiday then Christmas for American Christians. It wasn't until around the mid-nineteenth century in America that Christmas gained its present day role in the United States.

The Puritans worried that the Christmas festivities were a beard for the Roman Saturnalia or the English Mummers. If anyone is interested, Stephen Nissenbaum wrote a cultural history about the holiday of Christmas: The Battle for Christmas(1997).

reader_iam said...

OK, in one sense I can't quite believe I'm going to do this:

(Has anyone actually posted a link to a bible verse on Althouse? I could check ... but, no, I won't.)

I think, as I've said, or at least meant to imply, elsewhere , that people seeking to ban every element of religion, including creche scenes, in--now that I think about it, almost a"Messianic" way-- are going too far, and often, if I may say so, in some cases gratuitously and just for effect.

On the other hand, I think that O'Reilly and his (and at least one of his guest's) hyperbole is ridiculous, as I commented here.

As this whole debate--fight?--is playing itself out, I feel compelled to point out the following verse, as a "religious" person myself, and one who thinks that any and all observations of Christian holidays are merely a larger version of prayer, about which the Bible itself has to say:

"1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen."

To those who are so worried about the suppression of "commercial validation" of Christmas, I feel compelled to ask, what, and of what, are your actual motives?

Ann, I know I've taken A LOT of liberties in this comment. I hope you will understand why and for what purpose I've done so

Daryl Herbert said...

Steven and Ninja:

Purim is the holiday that isn't mentioned.

proudtobealiberal said...

Given that Al Queda -- which is responsible for the death of more than 3000 Americans and hundreds of others throughout the word -- is a group of fundamentalist Muslims, I find it odd that O'Reilly, Falwell, etc. devote so much time and energy to attacking secular liberals. The USA would be much better off if secular liberalism engulfed Iraq instead of fundamentalist Islam.

Are there really Christians who are insulted that a sales clerk at Walmart or some other store wishes them (or non-Christians like me) Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas?

I am not Christian but, from my reading of the New Testament, Christ would be more concerned about the millions of people in America who lack adequate food, heat, medical care, and shelter than about whether sales clerks and ads talk about "Christmas" or the more generic "Holidays."

reader_iam said...

That'd be: Matthew 6:1-6.

reader_iam said...

as a "religious" person myself, and one who thinks that any and all observations of Christian holidays are merely a larger version of prayer,

This is missing the absolutely critical phrase after "holidays":

"--for the truly mindful Christian, on an individual basis as it relates to their accountability for such--"

Jacob said...

But isn't Purim basically just the Book of Esther?

(Fun fact: The Book of Esther is the only Book in the Bible not to mention God)

PG said...

Ah, but consider the historical context for Jesus's cautioning his followers not to pray in the public square: this was when they might be persecuted for doing so. As with most other religions, once Christianity became the majority faith somewhere, its practitioners figured that respect for their faith required everyone to acknowledge it as the majority religion. No more drawing secret symbols of fish to find out if the other person was a Christian or someone who would feed you to the lions -- instead, demand that Wal-Mart fire someone who points out the pagan roots of the American observance of Christmas.

reader_iam said...


As with most other religions, once Christianity became the majority faith somewhere, its practitioners figured that respect for their faith required everyone to acknowledge it as the majority religion.

This is precisely what I'm cautioning against, most particularly with regard to (but absolutely, and pointedly, not limited to) shallow commercial expressions thereof, not to mention "coerced" so-called "respect." Do we need to visit the theological topic of "God's grace and gifts" with regard "free will to choose"? There's no free will when the bat is headed to your skull.

I suppose that's the more generic point I was trying to make--though my appeal was narrowly offered to a specific subset of sincere believers who I sincerely believe, and with some insight, may have lost track of the forest for the trees, so to speak.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
reader_iam said...

And--darn it!--I did not hijack this thread, but merely responded to the hijacking of it. And I'm done with so doing--at least, that's the plan.

That ad is completely cynical. Ann, in actuality, its effect is to encourage the heart to shrink three sizes, at least, the better to feel quite justified in carving up roast liberal, or any other "cut" that strikes us as less than "choice," according to our personal taste.

You can see that, at least for this week, I've just about lost my patience.

Which, of course (sincerely), I'm enjoined not to do ... one of the things I am called to struggle with.

So it goes.

Aspasia M. said...

Thank you reader_iam for your thoughts. You didn't hijack the thread in the least. (Although I am, perhaps, not a good judge, as I always talk too much.)

You pointed out what is sacred and what is not necessary to make a holiday into a high holy day.

Grandma_Jo said...

While I agree that there are some examples of political correctness run amok with respect to Christmas, I truly believe that in one area, Christians ought to be celebrating the scaling back of Christmas as a retail holiday. From a recent postof mine:

To get Christ back into Christmas, first you have to get commercialism out of Christmas. Believe me, the stores aren’t advertising “holiday sales” because they object to Christmas—far from objecting to Christmas, they depend on it. They’ve erased the word Christmas from their ads because Christmas no longer has anything to do with what makes them money. For those of us who are already in the swing of it, we’re going to eat, drink, be merry and spend, spend, spend—no matter what you call the holiday. But to get new customers in this all-important retail season, the stores need to reach out and encourage non-Christians to spend, spend, spend. What better way to do so than to expand the holiday—be more inclusive if you will.

But contrary to Gibson’s argument that this is a bad thing, I think it’s the best thing that could have happened to Christmas. Go back to the commandment: “Thou shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.” What could be more “in vain” than to put “Christ’s Mass” on the sale flyer in the Sunday newspaper?

Ann Althouse said...

Craig Ranapia: “I thought her point was that this advert is weak on substantitive argument and long on hysterical emoting - you know, the kind of nonsense conservatives mock loony left lobby groups for trotting out?”


reader_iam: “Has anyone actually posted a link to a bible verse on Althouse?”

I have. Many times. Unless you click on links, you might not notice. And I think the verse you cite is important and apt.

reader_iam: “Ann, in actuality, its effect is to encourage the heart to shrink three sizes, at least, the better to feel quite justified in carving up roast liberal, or any other "cut" that strikes us as less than "choice," according to our personal taste.”

It’s a literary allusion. And meant sarcastically.

reader_iam said...

I know--the Grinch. I was just putting a finer point on it and goosing the "bloody red meat" imagery--which is what I think this issue is for the more extreme on both sides.

DJ Ninja said...

Daryl Herbert and Jacob; although I suppose the Hebrew Bible doesn't command the observance of Purim, I regard Purim as "mentioned" in the Hebrew Bible as the Book of Ester tells its story.

Steven--a good point about the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, and one with which I was familiar. By "Hebrew Bible" I meant to refer to the "Tanakh," or Jewish canon.

David said...

Prof. Althouse,

I'm surprised you haven't commented on the reporting in Charles Babington's Washington Post piece. He reports:
Several conservative groups, meanwhile, plan a major push beginning Monday to portray Alito’s opponents as anti-God. Talking points for the effort, which will involve ads and grass-roots organizations, were laid out in a strategy memo by, which opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. Alito’s opponents are united by “an agenda to purge any and all references to religion from our public life,” the memo says.

Thinkprogress has linked to the memo.

It looks like the CfJ advertisements you've criticized are part of a broader political push.

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.