In the first big blowup of Christmas 2006, the city of Chicago nixed New Line Cinema's sponsorship of the decade-plus old Christkindlmarket Christmas festival at Daley Plaza there. There's a crescent at the festival and a menorah. And of course there is a nativity. But of New Line Cinema's sponsorship -- the company has a "Nativity Story" movie out -- a city official declared that showing scenes from the film would actually be "insensitive to the many people of different faiths" who attend the festival.
Insensitive to people of different faiths? It's called CHRISTkindlmarket. Odds are if the whole Christmas thing on public property was going to send anyone running to the American Civil Liberties Union, a few scenes from a movie weren't going to be what pushed him over. Later in the week, the incident had gotten enough attention that it had to be rung up the flagpole at city hall. A mayor's spokeswoman wound up changing the story to say that, "This particular incident is about a movie studio aggressively marketing a movie and trying to sell tickets to that movie."
My Advent dream has been for Sen. Barack Obama, who is a liberal Democrat from Illinois -- and increasingly talked about as a presidential prospect -- to condemn the stupidity once and for all. To go on John Gibson's Fox News show and say, "I know where you're coming from, this is ludicrous and anti-American." And "The War on Christmas" will no longer be the right-wing Concerned Women for America (or whoever) vs. the left-wing ACLU (or whoever).
Then we can get back to our carols -- even Al Roker tree lightings - and most importantly and universally get back home for Christmas where we ought to be.
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