An occasionally dusted-off blog by M. Scott Smith

Boycotting Happy Holidays 🔗

A group of religious protestors has been picketing outside of Walmart (and boycotting other stores, such as Sears). Why? Because these stores have used the term "Happy Holidays" in their advertising, instead of "Merry Christmas." (Actually, in Walmart's case, the slogan was "home for the holidays.")

This AP story details the protests.

According to the story, the American Family Association gathered together 500,000 signatures in an online petition demanding that Target include the word "Christmas" in its promotions.

This is all just a bit too much for me.

First, these stores have every right to use whatever advertising slogan they want to use. This time of year includes many holidays, representing many religions. Stores are not temples. They are private businesses selling products to consumers. Their job is not to promote one religion over another, although they are certainly welcome to do that. But it's their choice. By using a term such as "holidays," they are trying to be inclusive.

More fundamentally, I am confused as to why this issue would be of such great concern to these groups.

These are not the religious values I learned. I learned values such as respecting others, even when I disagree with them; helping those who are less fortunate than me; and always being honest.

I think a small subset of deeply religious people have lost track of their religion and are inappropriately justifying their actions based on religion. (This same subset is trying to remove science from the science classroom, something I think God -- as the greatest scientist of all time -- would be offended by.)

Do you think God is really concerned that Sears would include "Happy Holidays" in its ads instead of "Merry Christmas"?

Could this possibly rise to the top of the list of things He would be concerned about?

What about starving kids in Africa, poverty, and the erosion of the environment?

I suppose it doesn't take much effort to spend a day in front of Walmart holding a sign that says "Merry Christmas" in protest. And if that makes these people feel better about themselves, so be it. But I think God would rather that they spend their time on more tangible issues, such as helping a neighbor in need during the holiday season. There are still many families left homeless from Katrina.

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