On Friday's "Faith & Freedom" program, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, announced that his organization has launched its 10th annual 'Friend or Foe' Christmas campaign that is "designed to educate and if necessary, to litigate, to make sure that Christmas is not censored from either the public marketplace or the private retail."
Joining him was Matt Barber, Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action, who added, "Well, you know, it's a serious subject because the war on Christmas is, despite liberals protesting that there is no such thing, is alive and well […] it is a very serious matter when you consider that there are a number of private retailers around the country that are really in an offensive manner censoring the Christmas message and effectively blunting the Christmas spirit by going with this kind of bland, Happy Holidays mentality and ignoring the reason for the season."
Staver explained the origins of their program. "Well, in fact when we started this Naughty and Nice list a number of years ago, a lot of retailers — It goes all the way back to the time of, and most people may not remember it now, the so-called Boston Holiday Tree. It was a Christmas tree that was cut down in Nova Scotia, and it is cut down, put on a flat bed pickup truck every year, and it's trucked down to Boston because the people of Novia Scotia helped the Bostonians with regards to some fire many, many years ago. And when it left Novia Scotia, it said 'Merry Christmas Boston,' and it was a Christmas tree, and when it got to Boston, they were going to decorate it and celebrate it as a holiday tree. So all the sudden it magically changed, and that really started some of this Naughty and Nice list. We began to look at what was going on within the retail stores and found out you couldn't buy a Christmas tree. They were actually called 'Holiday Trees.'"
Liberty Counsel claims that "originally the naughty side was longer than the nice side and now the nice side is by far longer than the naughty side" because friends and supporters of Liberty Counsel complain to retailers about the lack of "Christmas" in their marketing. These consumer complaints have forced retailers to "get the message" and become "nice."
Staver complained that some retailers are "stubborn" about remaining on the "naughty" side, citing JC Crew, Old Navy, and Radio Shack because they do not use the word "Christmas."
Barber said that by being politically correct, retailers are being offensive. He said that retailers who are trying to be inclusive by using the phrase "Happy Holidays" are actually "exclusive" because they are "excluding the reason for the season" and "offending the large majority of people who want Christmas recognized."
Staver disagreed. "Most people who are not Christians, Jew or whatever, they're not offended at Christmas," he said. "But what ultimately what happens, these retailers — I don't think it's because they don't want to offend people, I think they have an anti-Christian, anti-Christmas problem with their — with the people that are running the companies."
Staver asked that Liberty Counsel's followers send in reports on whether retailers are playing Christmas music and calling trees Christmas trees. Staver and Barber also want their followers to tell retailers why or why not they will shop with them. The group is selling a "Christmas Action Pack" about a number of holiday issues, including conduct in schools during the Christmas season. Staver urged Christians to keep up with the fight against the "war on Christmas" so that "Christ and the Christmas season does not get censored out of the season."
Ironically, as reported by Right Wing Watch, one of the favorite businesses of the Christian right — Chick fil-A — released a statement celebrating the "holiday season" that did not include the word "Christmas."