It has become another annual holiday event, as guaranteed to happen as Walmart putting up Christmas displays as soon as Halloween is over — stories of outrage from right-wingers about the “War on Christmas.”
This mythical conflict has seen claims of “persecution” of Christians because stores have instructed employees to say “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Because to some, nothing says “persecution” like including those who celebrate year-end holidays other than Christmas in your greeting. This year, the outrage involves Starbucks cups, which are red, and don’t mention Christmas. Once upon a time wasn’t red a “Christmas” color?
M. Brian Orme, founding editor of the Christian websites Faithit.com, and ChurchLeaders.com, has had enough. In a brilliant editorial, Orme has this to say:
If you’re one of the Christians ‘outraged’ at Starbucks’ new minimal holiday cups you have been duped. Deceived. Tricked… Into thinking a company that takes snowmen and ornaments off of their cups is throwing down the gauntlet on Jesus.
The over-hyped story about the war on Christmas is really a war on Christian intelligence. And, to be honest, I don’t think many of you are falling for it. Most of it is just a media blitz related to a silly viral video.
Orme’s point is that those who think that removing references to Christmas in popular culture is somehow akin to “persecution” of Christians had better think again. He says that there is a real war on Christmas, but it has nothing to do with anything that is happening in the U.S.
Orme offers his readers a glimpse of real Christian persecution, like that taking place today in Sudan, Afghanistan, and other countries that are controlled by Islamic extremists. He says in those places, there is an actual war being waged on Jesus and his followers. He says that American Christians don’t like to think about that real “war on Christmas,” because “it’s horrible, dark, gruesome and evil.” Orme is right on the money, but there is one country where Christians are being persecuted that is conspicuous by its absence among the countries he names: Iraq.
Open Doors USA identifies themselves as “serving persecuted Christians worldwide” on their website. They say that Iraq is the third highest ranked country in the world for Christian persecution, behind only North Korea and Somalia. But Fox News and their right-wing media allies in the U.S. don’t want to talk about real Christian persecution in Iraq. And here’s why: persecution of Christians in Iraq was virtually unheard of until George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld brought “freedom” to them.
Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a secular country. Saddam himself was a Muslim, but his foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, was a Christian. In fact, Iraq is home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, going back to the very beginning of the religion. In Iraq under Saddam’s Ba’ath Socialist Party, all religions were tolerated as long as their interests didn’t run counter to those of the state. But since the start of the Bush/Cheney war in 2003, the size of the Iraqi Christian community has been reduced by about half.
As for Christian persecution in the United States? Open Doors says there is no persecution of Christians in the U.S., Canada, or any of our major western allies. But right-wing media have to waste time on the “War on Christmas” nonsense because as soon as you start looking at real Christian persecution around the world, it becomes plain that the policies of George W. Bush are responsible for causing a good deal of it.
Featured image via Snopes.com