The faux outrage at the mythical “War on Christmas” is getting into full swing. We’ve already seen the right throw a tantrum over Starbucks’ red coffee cups. The Breitbart website has started another front in the “War,” with a fabricated article about how President Obama is banning Christmas trees for the Veteran’s Affairs department. Former Representative and professional outrage machine, Allen West, grabbed that and ran with it. Then Twitter lit up with it. Now it’s making the rounds.
The idiocy began with the article on the Breitbart website which claimed that President Obama had banned employees at the Salem, VA veteran’s facility from saying “Merry Christmas” to vets. An outright lie, of course. But it grew from a half-truth. The truth half, as is always the case with the right, got buried under anti-Obama, Christian victim whining.
Here’s the truth: the Salem, VA veteran’s facility did ban Christmas trees, which they deemed to be Christian in nature, from public displays. The reason for this should be obvious, even though the reasoning is faulty. The VA facility is government property. The government can’t be seen as promoting any religion, so the Salem VAMC sent out a directive:
When the public (Veterans and beneficiaries) accesses the Federal workplace, their reasonable impression should be that the government is not sponsoring or endorsing on [sic] religion over another… To that end, public areas may only be decorated in a manner that is celebratory of the winter season. Displays must not promote any religion. Please note that trees (regardless of the types of ornaments used) have been deemed to promote the Christian religion and will not be permitted in any public areas this year.
President Obama had nothing to do with this directive. It is military policy and has been for a very long time. VA Directive 0022 was originally issued on September 23, 2002, when George W. Bush was president. It was re-issued in 2009, but had nothing to do with President Obama or Bush. Military directives usually do not come from the Executive office.
The Salem VA finally gave in after public outcry. Sort of. They said that Christmas trees could be displayed as long as a Chanukah and Kwanzaa symbols were also displayed. No mention of Pagan symbols, which is okay, as the tree in question is actually Pagan in origin. Joke’s on them, eh?
As for banning the uttering of “Merry Christmas,” there is no directive, suggestion or hint that supports this claim. It’s just another way to smear President Obama, who is a Christian and celebrates the same holiday as every other Christian in the country. I’m pretty sure that he says “Merry Christmas” like everyone else, too.
The right is so intent on both slandering President Obama and playing the victim, that they will grab at any straw to promote their phony “War on Christmas” campaign. Please, get over it. Celebrate as you wish and let everyone else do the same.
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