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The Daily Show: War On Christmas -- Historical Fact Checking

Jon Stewart responds to his Politifact “Pants on Fire” rating for quoting the History Channel.

The Daily Show: Tree Fighting Ceremony -- War on Christmas

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dec. 6, 2011: Jon declares war on Christmas.

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The Daily Show: Tree Fighting Ceremony

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dec. 6, 2011

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An Open Letter to Christians: Merry Christmas from an Atheist


That’s right, I didn’t say “happy holidays” or “seasons greetings” — I said “merry Christmas.”  And yes, I’m an atheist, one who loves the Christmas season so much that I tend to get into the spirit of the holiday a little earlier than most.  I love the decorations, the music, the gift-giving, the mythology — all of it.  This often surprises people because I tend to have a dark sense of humor and an unsentimental, pragmatic worldview.  But every December, you’ll find me singing along with Nat King Cole and Dean Martin as I decorate the tree; you’ll find me getting misty-eyed and sniffly when George Bailey comes to understand how many lives his mundane existence has touched and influenced; you’ll hear me wishing “merry Christmas” — and yes, sometimes “happy holidays” — to total strangers.  And I’ll say it again — I’m an atheist.

Before I go any further, I want to make sure that word is clearly understood.  There seem to be a lot of people who think an atheist is an angry, immoral person who eats babies and sodomizes house pets, and that simply isn’t the case.  I just turned 48 years old and I’ve been with my wife for 22 wonderful monogamous years.  I am a passionate lover of animals, especially cats and dogs.  I give of my time and money to charitable causes.  I have never been arrested.  I vote, pay my taxes and try to stay as informed as possible.  I have a strong sense of justice, of right and wrong, and I adhere to it without compromise.  I am a fiercely loyal friend and a lover of life — my own and others.  My goal each day is to be a better person than I was yesterday and to live my life in a way that improves the lives of those around me.  I point this out not to be immodest or seek praise but to show you that I am, for the most part, not unlike most people living their lives and pursuing happiness on this earth.  Only one thing makes me an atheist:  I am not a person of faith.  I do not believe in gods or demons, heaven or hell, angels or ghosts, or anything else that requires a leap of faith in the absence of factual proof.  That’s all being an atheist means, nothing more.  It certainly doesn’t mean that I hate people of faith — I don’t hate anyone.  You will find no more passionate supporter of America’s freedom of religion than I.  While I might not share your faith, I would fight to the death for your right to practice and express it, because your freedom is also my freedom.  Here’s how I see the relationship between you and me:  We may differ on the matter of religion and we might disagree politically, but chances are we have more in common than in conflict and we’re all in this together, so there’s no reason in the world for us to oppose one another.

Having said that, I have a question:  What’s all this I keep hearing about a “war on Christmas?”  I keep reading stories in the news about Christians who are angry because the phrase “happy holidays” is often used during the Christmas season and they believe this phrase somehow diminishes the Christian celebration of Christmas.  With each passing year, these stories increase in number and this sentiment becomes more hostile.  TV and radio hosts keep saying that “secularists” are trying to abolish Jesus and that Christianity is under attack, that atheists are taking a bulldozer to America’s Christians.  It comes up every year at this time, which happens to be my favorite time of year, and frankly, I’m starting to get a little irritated by it.  During a season when the words “peace on earth, good will toward men” are so often spoken and sung, a lot of people are getting angry and talking about “war” — and they are the very people who are supposed to be singing about “peace on earth, good will toward men!”

Now, maybe you’re not one of them.  Maybe you don’t buy into this idea of a “war on Christmas.”  But if you are — if you honestly believe that the Christian celebration of Christmas is under attack by a secular conspiracy to remove Jesus Christ from the holiday and silence Christians — I hope you will indulge me and, for just a little while, try to look at this situation from a different perspective, one that perhaps you have not considered.  Please bear with me.

[Continued at the link]