Following up on what I wrote last week about President Bush’s Christmas/Holiday cards, here is something I picked up on from the Daily Show a day or two ago. Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, of the O’Reilly Factor, had as a guest on his show a man named Philip Nulman, author of a book called “Just Say Yes! Extreme Customer Service – How to Give it! How to Get It!” They had the following exchange (I have taken bits out, but I have not affected the context at all — here is a link to where I got the complete transcript from):
- I don’t believe most people who aren’t Christian are offended by the words “Merry Christmas.” I think those people are nuts. I think you’re crazy if you’re offended by the words “Merry Christmas.”
- “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Holidays,” Bill, does not offend Christians.
- Yes it does! Absolutely does. … Let’s do a FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll question up there. Now, I’m givin’ the signal to my guys about if you’re – “Are you offended if they don’t use the words ‘Merry Christmas’ in a – in a store that you go to shop” and we will – and I guarantee you that I’m right. I’m guaranteeing that the Christian majority in this country is fed up, fed up to here with the ACLU and all of this business – this anti-Christian business.
Honestly, Bill, how can you sit there and say that anyone who is offended by “Merry Christmas” is crazy, but then say just seconds later that you and other Christians are offended by “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings”?
Things like this bother me a lot, because Bill O’Reilly theoretically speaks for me. I am a registered Republican, and I consider myself pretty darn conservative. But I don’t believe that “conservative Republican” and “intelligent and logical” have to be mutually exclusive. I can see the point of view that “Merry Christmas” is exclusionary to people who do not celebrate Chrismtas, although I don’t believe that it is exclusionary to the point of being offensive. I think it is probably a sound business decision for companies (and presidents of countries, as I discussed last week) to try their best to be respectful of their entire respective constituencies, and I can see how they would come to the decision that removing the name of a specific holiday that is only observed by 85% of them would do that.
What I can’t see is how “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” can be offensive. I don’t think that any statement with such obvious good will behind it can be offensive. The only way to believe that is offensive is to honestly believe that anyone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas is evil. So either Bill O’Reilly is making a big deal out of nothing for the purpose of ratings, or he is a bigot. Either way, he is a moron.