An old saying tells us to avoid bringing up the subjects of politics or religion. So here's a novel idea -- let's bring up both topics at once!
The media this holiday season have published and broadcast many news stories and commentaries on the so-called "war on Christmas." The religious-centered holiday has become a social issue, and even a political one.
Allegations have surfaced that some national retail stores have banned their employees from saying "Merry Christmas" on the job.
That controversy has expanded to a broader front in stores, schools, businesses and many other places where people gather.
The governor's office in one state issued a statement that the governor was going to light the state's "Holiday Tree" that evening. A half-hour later, the press received a corrected release -- "make that the lighting of the Christmas Tree," it said. Oops.
Media have carefully documented every development and permutation of this drama. An afternoon pundit and commentator for FoxNews has written a book that mostly condemns the many attempts to take the "Christ" out of Christmas, so to speak.
So we'll call it a coincidence that FoxNews has been stirring up debate on the issue almost every day. Their approach is usually to lambaste those who would deny their community a "Merry Christmas," or their store patrons a "Christmas sale."
Other media took a different approach. CBS Radio News recently reported "objectively" on the skirmish, then pointedly ended the segment by wishing everyone "Happy Holidays."
Issues of American pop culture often become prominent and then anonymous again in what seem like successive breaths.
The assault on Christmas may meet a similar fate, thanks to an entity known as the American people. A new national poll released by Gallup reveals that 69 percent of respondents said their favorite greeting during this season is "Merry Christmas."
That's almost 10 percent more than said the same thing last year.
Maybe those who insist on making an issue about greetings of goodwill have had the reverse influence that they hoped. Perhaps they have created a new determination among many Americans to keep alive the "traditional traditions" of the Christmas season.
Growing up, I was fortunate to attend a secondary school with many Jewish students. They were a minority, but compared to most Deep South schools, they were in abundance.