Holiday Political Correctness

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Dec. 18, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: The battle between Christmas and political correctness is our focus as we go beyond the Beltway.

Whether it’s changing Season’s Greetings to Merry Christmas, or fighting to have a nativity scene put in a public place, the fight is on to put Christ back in Christmas.

You know, Juan, it’s been a very small group of people who hate religion, who are probably atheists, who particularly dislike Christianity, through lawsuits and pressure tactics and using the ACLU (search) and so on, that have made America a country that is a lot more secular than actually Americans are.

Look, Christmas isn’t just a religious holiday, it’s a national event, it’s a national holiday, it’s a part of our culture. You don’t need to be a Christian to appreciate Christmas carols any more than you need to be Jewish to appreciate Jewish religious songs and so on and ethnic songs.

I mean, look at what happened with Target Stores, you know, that chain of very good stores. They decided this year that they wouldn’t let the Salvation Army raise money for the poor with those kettles, you know, they ring the bell and people put money in the kettle, sparking a boycott, because Christians, including myself, think it was an anti-Christian move. There was no reason to do that, the Salvation Army isn’t some Christian right group or something, it get huge grants from the federal government.

And I usually don’t participate in boycotts, I haven’t been back to Target this Christmas. On the other hand, Wal-Mart continued to allow the Salvation Army to raise money in those kettles and now Wal-Mart has said they will match all the money that the Salvation Army raises in those kettles.

So the poor are going to do a lot better.

Now, our buddy Charles Krauthammer had a great column on this subject. Let me read you this, I thought, the most trenchant part of it, in his column in The Washington Post.

He said, "I’m struck by the fact that you almost never find an Orthodox Jew (search) complaining about a Christmas creche in the public square. That’s because their children, steeped in the richness of their own religious tradition, know who they are and are not threatened by Christians celebrating their religion in public. They are enlarged by it."

JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST CO-HOST: Well, Fred, look, I think there are lots of Americans, including myself, a Christian, who are sensitive to the idea of using public funds to celebrate any religion. People are just sensitive to that. And I must say, especially so after the last election, when so many people talked about moral values as a reason to vote for President Bush. People started to say, Hey, is this going to become a theocracy (search)?

BARNES: Oh, come on.

WILLIAMS: And I think that what you have to understand, at least from my perspective, is, look, Christmas is the highest holy day of the year for me, for you, Fred, for all Christians.


WILLIAMS: And 80 percent of Americans are Christians. And you know what? No need to apologize.


WILLIAMS: I think, why not have a Christmas, Christian Christmas celebration? I don’t know.

BARNES: Well said.

WILLIAMS: All right.

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