John Leo

A similar suit against the town of Palm Beach in Florida, also supported by the Thomas More Law Center, argues that the town cannot ban Nativity scenes on a prominent site where the menorah is displayed. Again, the menorah isn’t simply secular. More important, the Supreme Court allows Nativity scenes on public property if they do not dominate and are part of a broader cultural display.

At Central Michigan University, the affirmative action office warned Christians that Christmas “may be offensive to others within a place of employment.” No such warning was issued about the potential dangers of Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. The Catholic League ( made a fuss about it and alerted Fox News Channel, which has been aggressively covering this season’s anti-Christmas campaign. Central Michigan dropped the warning.

A new twist in the Christmas wars is the appearance of a Web site that chides well-known stores for abandoning the word Christmas in favor of holiday. The site,, is run by a Virginia couple, Kirk and Amy McElwain. Among the Christmas-averse stores they list are Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, the Discovery Store, KB Toys, and Home Depot. Companies commended for not censoring the word Christmas include, JC Penney, Rite Aid, Sears, Toys “R” Us, and Wal-Mart. The site says it’s odd that some big stores apparently think the word Christmas is divisive or toxic when a large majority of Americans celebrate it 96 percent, according to a recent Opinion Dynamics poll.

The McElwains wonder how Congress’s “Capitol Christmas Tree” morphed into a generic “Capitol Holiday Tree.” Good question. The language change appeared in the 1990s, but the far-flung investigative staff of this column has not been able to locate any announcement, news story, or authorization for the change. The architect of the Capitol’s office is responsible for the tree, but a spokeswoman there said she couldn’t find anything in writing about the change, who did it, or when it occurred. If anyone knows about this shifty shift, this column’s staff of telephone operators is standing by, eager to hear from you. In the meantime, Merry Holiday, everyone.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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