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Survey Round-up

Survey Round-up

The War On Christmas

The folks at the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) decided to take a look at the so called War On Christmas. It’s a familiar meme of the past few years, promoted by FOX News pundits, YouTube hacks, the usual suspects among right-wing politicians and sometimes even the average conservative Christian. In different years it has been different things that has set off the Tempest in a Tea Pot. This year it can be traced back to a pseudo-evangelist on YouTube, screeching about the calm and toned down Starbucks hot cups. They are a lovely shade of Christmas red, but they didn’t have snowflakes or some other Christmasy decor. So the specialty coffee giant was obviously acting out of hate for Christians and their 2nd most favorite festival season and firing the first salvo of this year’s war across our collective bows.

Last year, if I recall correctly, someone(s) started a list of retailers to boycott because their employees and their in-store decor said things such as “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings,” rather than “Merry Christmas”. The stats folks at PRRI looked back to data they had already collected in 2013 regarding that very issue, “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas”. The US population was decidedly divided on the issue, but in 2013 they were still sliding toward the secular greeting, with over all 49% in favor. And those agreeing with folks using “Happy Holidays” had reversed the trend from the last time PRRI had queried the public on the issue in 2010 when it was 43% in favor. Take a look at the chart above to see how it breaks down into different religious demographics. Then go see the graph and stats in the article regarding which holiday, and to what degree of religiousness, folks would be celebrating in DEC.

Definitions of Marriage pie chart
Click to enlarge

How Do You Define Marriage

Meanwhile, the Barna Group, a theologically conservative research organization, has taken a look at how folks personally define marriage since the Supreme Court decision extending marriage equality to same gender couples back in JUN. Over all, folks in the US personally define marriage as “a covenant before God between a man and a woman” by 51%. However, when you break the results down by age group, the younger that folks are, the less they subscribe to that as their personal concept of marriage. There are differences about folk’s personal concept of what constitutes marriage when they are broken into religious preferences as well. You will find the original article on this research at the Barna Group website.


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JC Fisher

Ah for the halcyon days of my youth, when a hearty “Season’s Greetings!” or “Happy Holidays!” [see re Bing Crosby ] did NOT imply a War On Christmas…

John Rabb

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, one of the the finest commentators on religion and inter-faith work, notes that real diversity comes with clarity about identity and refers often to the Biblical “fascination” with diversity. He states that we can and must share a “political culture” even when we share different religious cultures. Far from erasing our identities we need to embrace the covenants we need for fighting violence, poverty and degradation.

Philip B. Spivey

It’s simple. Respect (and tolerance, if that’s all we can muster), for another’s year-end traditions, I believe, calls upon us to offer a generic salutation unless we have the information to be more precise.

Inclusion is about not excluding anybody. “Merry Christmas” excludes two-thirds of humanity. I’m gratified to see that most of our religious traditions get this.

Back in the old USSR, the “New Year” was the primary celebration in the last quarter of the year; it still is.

Jay Croft

Happy Hannukah to my Jewish friends.

Merry Christmas to my Christian friends.

Good luck to my atheist friends.

Prof Christopher Seitz

Exactly. The question is phrased so if you indicate ‘Merry Christmas’ if follows you don’t ‘respect other faiths’. That’s a false equivalence built right into the survey question.

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