- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Sentinel HC; First Edition edition (October 20, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1595230165
- ISBN-13: 978-1595230164
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 349 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought Hardcover – October 20, 2005
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About the Author
John Gibson is the host of The Big Story on Fox News Channel, which airs daily at 5:00 p.m. and is currently the sixth highest rated show in all of cable news. Before joining Fox News Channel, he was an anchor and reporter for MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC News. His first book was Hating America.
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I would rather freeze to death than seek warmth from this book by burning it.
As the title suggests, this book attacks one of Fox News' favorite groups of rascals, the "liberals". By "liberals", the book is referring to a sizable percentage (but not all) of the members of the Democratic Party, particularly what the author feels are the fringe elements of the party, like members of the ACLU and others who want to eliminate traditions and remove any facet of religion from American life. The book uses the term "liberal" in a very generalized way and it accuses these modern- day grinches; these Ebenezer Scrooges of the American Way, of waging an all- out war to take away the Christmas holiday, stuff it into a small stocking, and bury it deep into the ground where no one will ever see or hear about it again.
To back himself, Gibson devotes the first seven chapters of this book to specific incidents where the anti- Christmas warriors tried to eliminate some symbol of Christmas. He travels to small towns and large cities across America in search of examples to support his claims. He discovers example after example of heartless liberals taking on the schools and threatening them with lawsuits if they allow the word "Christmas" to be used in the presence of school children. He finds evidence that people are being singled out for being religious and that the big, bad ACLU is typically the group behind the front; promising a lawsuit if the school doesn't change its ways and eliminate Christmas trees, change the "Christmas" break to a "Holiday" break, and stop singing about religion in Christmas carols.
Reading about a group of evil thugs trying to eliminate the Christmas holiday immediately brought out the skeptic inside me. Could this really be true that Christmas is coming to an end? Are liberals truly committed to banning the Christmas holiday? Will these people continue their fight all the way to an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that effectively banishes the Christmas season completely? Or, is this all a bunch of hype: An overblown expose intended to sell books and make people think a major problem exists when there is really no problem at all?
Some of the incidents I read about in this book seemed unusual, so I decided to consult a few sources to find out if the information presented was factual. The claim that seemed the most outrageous to me was the one from chapter four, stating that Plano, Texas did not allowing students to wear green and red. A little research proved that the "Red and Green Free Zone" is false, and there is even a disclaimer about it on the school's web page. Hmmm..I wondered..if this claim is false, then what about those in the remainder of the book? If one chapter is a fabrication, could the others also be a figment of Gibson's anti- liberal imagination?
Some further research shows that some of Gibson's claims do have a small degree of merit. It is true, for example, that religious symbols have been banned in some cities in the public schools and on government land. The feeling of those who want the ban is that anything related to government, whether it is a public school or the grounds surrounding the county courthouse, should be free from any religious displays. Some of what the book reports here is true about this type of banning. But what isn't true is the hysterical hype that Gibson creates as he writes the pages of each chapter. There is an occasional disagreement over the display of Christmas symbols during Christmas in many communities and I agree that the demands by the anti- Christmas groups have gone over the top on many occasions. But to refer to this as a "War" against Christmas is absurd and it is untrue that "liberals" are all to blame for this anti- Christmas and anti- Christian bias. I know many people of the liberal persuasion and, if anything, they would like to see the Christmas season expanded by several more days in order to get more time off of work. Banning Christmas would be the last thing on their minds. It is a time for celebration and good cheer- two things that liberals are generally known to embrace, not reject.
This book makes a few more mistakes that should not go unnoticed. First of all, the book doesn't have an index or a listing of notes of reference in the back. What Gibson does instead for his references is to name the people, places, and things immediately as he talks about them. But he doesn't delve as deeply as he should. A few quotes and a few names from people who claim to support the idea that there are people who want to ban Christmas is all Gibson needs. He accepts this as absolute proof that what he believes to be true really is true. He doesn't offer any official study or set of scientific data to back his extreme claims. The words of a disgruntled parent in one town and a former school board member in another are all he needs to confirm his belief that there is an actual "war" taking place across America to bring an end to the celebration of Christmas.
So why did Gibson write this book? It appears to have been thrown together quickly and without much thought or attention to detail. It seems to me that its intent is basically another potshot at the people considered by many conservatives to be public enemy number one: The "liberals" and all of their anti- religion, anti- family, and generally "immoral" positions on the social issues of the day. The book accomplishes this by seeking out a few people who will back up what the author feels is true and then proceeds to blow the entire situation out of proportion, making the reader think (like the book's subtitle suggests) that this "war" is taking place everywhere and that it is "much worse than you thought". The claim that there is a "liberal plot" taking place under our noses is political hysteria intended to make the reader think that a sinister movement is underway and that you must take action now to prevent this virus from spreading.
If there really is a "War on Christmas", then the pro- Christmas forces are obviously winning. There is little or no evidence to suggest that America is going to "ban" the Christmas holiday or any other holiday. John Gibson and his Fox News colleagues had been reporting on this "story" for a few months leading up to the 2005 Christmas season. They wanted to get the idea fresh into people's minds and fuel some outrage in preparation for the release of Gibson's book. Some of the so- called "war" incidents have already been proven untrue and in one instance (the Plano Texas ban on red and green) a lawyer for the school district asked that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly get his facts straight before he reports a rumor as absolute truth.
Christmas is and will always be a time for celebration and togetherness and it is highly unlikely that this holiday tradition will ever be tossed by the wayside in favor of secularist visions of a religion- free America. "The War on Christmas" brings up an accurate fact or two but buries them beneath some false claims and an obvious political agenda. Gibson is correct that there have been movements to ban certain religious symbols from public places. However, his claims that the ACLU and liberals all across this land are engaged in a secret, unholy plot to rid the USA of Christmas trees, Christmas carols, Santa Claus, and general holiday cheer is overblown and hysterical on its face.
So when it comes time to celebrate another Christmas season, don't worry that the liberal grinches are going to take away the most popular season from the Who's down in the Whoville known as the United States of America. There is no such plot underway. But don't be surprised if Gibson & Company at Fox News come up with another whopper of a story just before the Christmas 2006 holiday season. They need something to fuel up their followers and rack up the dollars in their own Christmas savings accounts by publishing silly, unfounded books. They hope that enough people will believe the hype and purchase the book, just to see if it is all really true. And they hope that you, Mr. or Mrs. average American consumer, will take the bait and fatten the wallets of Gibson and the others in charge on the Fox News network. After all, the Christmas holiday is inching closer and closer to extinction through a Supreme Court ruling. There is little time left for the Fox News leadership to enjoy the holiday season they love so much.
You wouldn't want to prevent people like John Gibson from making some extra money during the Christmas season, now would you??
But I digress... to the book review. It is interesting to read, makes some thought provoking points, but unfortunately doesn't well provide for verification. I hope Mr. Gibson will add verifiable sources when this book goes to the printer again (and I am sure that it will).
And by the way... a "Happy Holiday" from anyone is well received by me. Though most don't realize it, the word "holiday" comes from the Old English "halig" (Holy) "dæg" (day) or essentially "Holy Day". So you see you can attempt to relieve the religious basis for the season with a "Happy Holiday", but I'll just reply, "And a Happy HOLY DAY to you as well!!", though I do offer "Merry Christmas" to most.
To be specific, to my Christian friends I say, "Merry Christmas". To my Jewish friends I say, "Happy Hanukkah". I offer other appropriate "words of well-wishing" to my friends of other beliefs as well. I even have positive words for my atheist friends during the Holy Day Season... To my atheist friends I say, "Good luck with that."