‘Naughty and Nice’ retailers? Check it twice

By David Waters Just in time for Black Friday, the second holiest Friday on the Christian calendar, Liberty Counsel has … Continued

By David Waters

Just in time for Black Friday, the second holiest Friday on the Christian calendar, Liberty Counsel has updated its annual “Naughty and Nice list” of those retailers it considers either pro- or anti-Christmas.

The LC, a conservative Christian organization dedicated to religious liberty in the name of Christ, bases its ratings systems on a complicated formula that basically amounts to whether retailers are using the word Christmas in ads for its products this holiday, er, I mean, Christmas season.

Use the word Christmas and you make the Nice List. Ignore the word Christmas, or use secular words such as Holiday, Winter or Harry Potter and you make the Naughty List. OK, I’m kidding about Harry. But such non-Christian words as Magic, Muggle, Shop, Sale or Layaway are fine as long as they are modified by the word Christmas.

Wait a minute. Does this list reward retailers who acknowledge Christmas or those who commercialize Christmas?

Here are two examples from the LC’s Naughty list:

–American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. brand. Web site: Wish 4 Snow and Spread the holiday love themes on home page. Gift Guide populates to numerous click-throughs with “Christmas” not mentioned anywhere on site. “Christmas” search produced 0 items. American Eagle traditionally “Christmas” unfriendly.”

–Plow & Hearth – Web site: “Holiday Shop is Now Open,” “New Holiday Catalog”and “Shop Our Gift Center” links on home page. Profits from Christmas sights, colors and symbols but no mention of “Christmas.” Search yielded 196 manufacturers’ “Christmas” items but most of these items were listed as “Holiday” this or that. Printed Catalog: “Holiday 2010″ did not mention ” Christmas” until page 6. Consumers canceled $200 order and requested reason “Christmas” expunged from site but company did not respond

Here are two examples from the LC’s Nice list:

–Best Buy – another 2010 Nice success story … this company transferred from Naughty status! TV Commercial: Cute jingle about “Christmas magic” and “Christmas being here” with four “Christmas” mentions within a short 30 seconds time frame

–Target – YouTube Ad: Portrays bubbly, exuberant blonde who exclaims “I feel like I have ‘OCD’ Obsessive Christmas Disorder!” Web site: “Christmas” section link on home page that populates “Christmas Deal Feed,” “Check the Christmas Catalog ….,” “Dazzling Deals on tons of Christmas Décor,” “Shop Christmas Trees,” “Merry Christmas 2010,” and “¡Feliz Navidad!” gift cards and unlimited other “Christmas” items

“Consumers can have a big impact this year by choosing to shop at stores that acknowledge Christmas,” Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said in a statement.

Retailers that profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist will find that consumers will shop elsewhere.”

In other words, it’s OK for a retailer to profit from Christmas as long as the retailer intentionally and overtly commercializes Christmas.

Does Jesus really need the name recognition? Does Christ require brand awareness?

The LC does some good and important work, especially when it challenges knee-jerk, overly PC objections to public and constitutionally-protected expressions of faith. More power to them.

Instead of rewarding retailers for using the word Christmas in their bidding for customers, wouldn’t it make more sense — from a Christian perspective — to reward retailers for NOT exploiting holy events and sacred images?

On the other hand, if you’d like to support the LC’s “Christmas Friend or Foe Campaign,” check out their website. For $15, you can order the LC’s Help Save Christmas Pack, which includes:

–“I Love CHRISTmas”® vinyl static cling window decal
–“I Love CHRISTmas”® button & bumper sticker
–Sample Christmas newspaper ad
–The Memo that Saved Christmas” – two legal memoranda about Christmas in public and in the workplace.

By the way, “I Love CHRISTmas” really is a registered trademark or the Liberty Counsel.

Happy HOLY days.

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  • lepidopteryx

    Sigh – not again. The so-called “War on Christmas” was created by the Religious Right. Listen carefully, Christians. Tour “Christmas tree” has nothing to do with the birth of your holy guy, which most likely took place in the spring, not the winter.

  • iamamerican

    H A P P Y — E V E R Y-D A Y

  • eezmamata

    Ah, geez, christmas is once again at our throats — Archie Bunker

  • joe_allen_doty

    There is no such thing as “Christmas” in the Bible. The 1st Century Church didn’t even celebrate Jesus’ birth at all. According to Luke’s Gospel, some shepherds did see the new born baby named “Jesus” in the stable. But, that was because the inn at Bethlehem was full and had no empty rooms. The Magi, aka Wise Men, showed up in Bethlehem around the time Jesus was 2 years old. While 3 types of gifts are mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel, the number of Magi is not mentioned. The 1st Century Church did celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection Day with a 1st day of the week service and a pot-luck meal after work 52 times a year. In a correctly translated Bible, the word “Easter” will not show up. “Pascha” the Greek word for “Feast of Unleavened Bread,” aka Passover, was mistranslated one time by the KJV Bible translators as “Easter.” It was when Peter was put in jail by King Herod and Herod put off having a trial because of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was being celebrated by the Jews and he didn’t want to offend the Jews. Peter was released for prison by a angel. The guards didn’t know he was gone until after he was already with the other disciples.

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  • sarahabc

    Shaming companies for trying to send well-wishes to people of other faiths doesn’t sound very Christian to me. Just sounds sad. Very, very sad.

  • Alex511

    fr the article:>…”Retailers that profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist will find that consumers will shop elsewhere.”…That’s not at all true, and I witnessed it yesterday at 4 AM when my wife and I went to Sears where I found a heckuva deal. Staver needs to pull his head out of the sand of the 14th century and realize that not everyone believes the exact same way that he does, thankfully. He is also rabidly anti-gay and anti-choice.

  • david6

    I really see no evidence that the Liberty Council has any idea what Jesus taught.

  • eezmamata

    If you believe this religious crap, then you are a proven sucker. The retailers and politicians are fight each other over the opportunity to exploit you.That’s right, walk up to the front of the line, bend over and grab your ankles, here it comes once again.

  • lepidopteryx

    From what I can tell from reading the Bible, Jesus was Jewish, and he didn’t celebrate Christmas.

  • Carstonio

    In other words, it’s OK for a retailer to profit from Christmas as long as the retailer intentionally and overtly commercializes Christmas.While that’s an excellent point, it’s fairly obvious that the Liberty Council’s objective isn’t comercialization one way or the other, but protecting what I call Christian privilege. That’s where the culture treats Christianity as the normal or default religion and otherizes other religion. It should also be fairly obvious that retails who wish customers “Happy Holidays” are acknowledging that their customers come from many different religions. It’s ridiculous to spin this as an attempt to quash Christianity or to deprive Christian clerks or customers of their religious rights. But people do it anyway. Here’s a typical complaint by a clerk: “I’m a Christian, and I’m going to wish them Merry Christmas.” I would tell the clerk that it’s not about you – you’re hired to perform a service, not to witness for any particular religion. Imagine how the clerk would react if he or she were shopping and a Jewish clerk wished customers a happy Hanukkah or a Muslim clerk wished them blessed Day of Ashura.