Buchanan, Falwell joined in war-on-Christmas hype: “we are witnessing ... hate crimes against Christianity”

Pat Buchanan and Reverend Jerry Falwell both joined FOX News anchors in citing minor controversies involving holiday displays to sound the alarm that Christmas is under “attack” from “secular progressives.” Buchanan, an MSNBC analyst and former Republican presidential candidate, claimed in his December 13 nationally syndicated column: “What we are witnessing here are hate crimes against Christianity.” Falwell alleged in a December 11 column that “spiritual Grinches in our nation are accelerating their war against Christmas as never before.” As Media Matters for America has already noted, evidence of any concerted “attack on Christmas” disintegrates upon examination.

Following FOX News host Bill O'Reilly's lead, Buchanan presented examples of “Christianophobia,” claiming: “Macy's has stopped using the phrase 'Merry Christmas' in all store advertising,” and also citing the Denver Parade of Lights' rejection of the Faith Bible Church's religious float in its festival. But as Media Matters has noted, Federated Department Stores, Inc. -- the company that operates Macy's -- said in a statement that it allows its stores to make their own decisions regarding holiday advertising. And the Downtown Denver Partnership, the private group that organized the Denver Parade of Lights, explained that the small size of the parade forces the group to turn down many floats each year. Therefore, they said, including the Faith Bible Church's float would appear to be an act of religious favoritism.

Yet according to Buchanan:

What we are witnessing here [with the secularization of Christmas] are hate crimes against Christianity -- the manifestations, the symptoms of a sickness of the soul, a disease a Vatican diplomat correctly calls “Christianophobia,” the fear and loathing of all things Christian, coupled with a fanatic will to expunge from the public life of the West all reminders that ours was once a Christian civilization and America once a Christian country.

Falwell wrote a two-part series of nationally syndicated columns (published December 11 and December 13) on the secularization of Christmas, which were titled “The impending death of Christmas?” and attacked “leftists” and “liberals” for trying to create a “Godless version” of the United States. In the December 11 column, Falwell cited the Macy's and Parade of Lights controversies, but also noted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's reference to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree as a “holiday tree.” But Bloomberg's reference to the tree was not indicative of a trend, as Media Matters noted. Falwell also wrote: “leftist organizations [the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State] are aggressively attempting to redefine America in their own Godless image.”

And in his December 13 column, Falwell broadened the scope of his attacks to “liberals,” writing:

Many liberals purposely disregard and disrespect our nation's religious heritage so they can bring about their own Godless version of this nation. But their vision is deceitful and fraudulent.