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By David Waters
Just in time for Black Friday, the second holiest Friday on the Christian calendar, Liberty Counsel has updated its annual “Naughty and Nice list” of those retailers it considers either pro- or anti-Christmas.
The LC, a conservative Christian organization dedicated to religious liberty in the name of Christ, bases its ratings systems on a complicated formula that basically amounts to whether retailers are using the word Christmas in ads for its products this holiday, er, I mean, Christmas season.
Use the word Christmas and you make the Nice List. Ignore the word Christmas, or use secular words such as Holiday, Winter or Harry Potter and you make the Naughty List. OK, I’m kidding about Harry. But such non-Christian words as Magic, Muggle, Shop, Sale or Layaway are fine as long as they are modified by the word Christmas.
Wait a minute. Does this list reward retailers who acknowledge Christmas or those who commercialize Christmas?
Here are two examples from the LC’s Naughty list:
–American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. brand. Web site: Wish 4 Snow and Spread the holiday love themes on home page. Gift Guide populates to numerous click-throughs with “Christmas” not mentioned anywhere on site. “Christmas” search produced 0 items. American Eagle traditionally “Christmas” unfriendly.”
–Plow & Hearth – Web site: “Holiday Shop is Now Open,” “New Holiday Catalog”and “Shop Our Gift Center” links on home page. Profits from Christmas sights, colors and symbols but no mention of “Christmas.” Search yielded 196 manufacturers’ “Christmas” items but most of these items were listed as “Holiday” this or that. Printed Catalog: “Holiday 2010″ did not mention ” Christmas” until page 6. Consumers canceled $200 order and requested reason “Christmas” expunged from site but company did not respond
Here are two examples from the LC’s Nice list:
–Best Buy – another 2010 Nice success story … this company transferred from Naughty status! TV Commercial: Cute jingle about “Christmas magic” and “Christmas being here” with four “Christmas” mentions within a short 30 seconds time frame
–Target – YouTube Ad: Portrays bubbly, exuberant blonde who exclaims “I feel like I have ‘OCD’ Obsessive Christmas Disorder!” Web site: “Christmas” section link on home page that populates “Christmas Deal Feed,” “Check the Christmas Catalog ….,” “Dazzling Deals on tons of Christmas Décor,” “Shop Christmas Trees,” “Merry Christmas 2010,” and “¡Feliz Navidad!” gift cards and unlimited other “Christmas” items
“Consumers can have a big impact this year by choosing to shop at stores that acknowledge Christmas,” Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said in a statement.
“Retailers that profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist will find that consumers will shop elsewhere.”
In other words, it’s OK for a retailer to profit from Christmas as long as the retailer intentionally and overtly commercializes Christmas.
Does Jesus really need the name recognition? Does Christ require brand awareness?
The LC does some good and important work, especially when it challenges knee-jerk, overly PC objections to public and constitutionally-protected expressions of faith. More power to them.
Instead of rewarding retailers for using the word Christmas in their bidding for customers, wouldn’t it make more sense — from a Christian perspective — to reward retailers for NOT exploiting holy events and sacred images?
On the other hand, if you’d like to support the LC’s “Christmas Friend or Foe Campaign,” check out their website. For $15, you can order the LC’s Help Save Christmas Pack, which includes:
–“I Love CHRISTmas”® vinyl static cling window decal
–“I Love CHRISTmas”® button & bumper sticker
–Sample Christmas newspaper ad
–The Memo that Saved Christmas” – two legal memoranda about Christmas in public and in the workplace.
By the way, “I Love CHRISTmas” really is a registered trademark or the Liberty Counsel.
Happy HOLY days.